24 Hours of LeMons: 'B.F.E. GP' preview at High Plains Raceway

Lede_Photo When the 24 Hours of LeMons’ 2014 schedule was released last autumn, many were excited to see Miller Motorsports Park and Sebring International added. However, the glaring omission of High Plains Raceway in Colorado seemed inconceivable. While the track tends not to draw the greatest quantity of races, the quality is almost unparalleled. Luckily, those kooks at LeMons HQ came to their senses and tacked on a date for the fifth annual “B.F.E. GP,” so named because the track is in Deer Trail, a solid hour from anything resembling civilization. Nevertheless, the circuit includes that thing that makes road racing most fun: elevation changes and a lot of them. The crapcan field is particular diverse for this race: Of the 40 entries, there are 28 different models of car. To go a bit farther with this field: The only Ford Mustang is a Mustang II, the only Hondas are Preludes, and the only car carrying a GM nameplate is an Opel Manta. Colorado, you’re doing it right. Get the full (unofficial) entry list here and follow the jump to dive deeper down the rabbit hole.


Class C

Class C is, of course, the provenance of those cars with no business even driving on roads adjacent to racetracks under normal circumstances, let alone racing around a circuit. This is the lifeblood of LeMons and the B.F.E. GP features a particular effluent group. The most normal Class C is likely to be Down and Out Race Team’s 1978 AMC Pacer (above), which won Index of Effluency two years ago at High Plains. Yes, I said “normal” because it only gets weird from there. Rocket Surgery Racing’s Checker Marathon has thawed itself from the godforsaken trip through -20 degree temperatures last winter in the worst caravan ever (featuring That K-Car) and will appear at High Plains. The Checker won Class C and Index of Effluency last year in Colorado, but I have a hard time imagining that lurching bruiser being bumped up a class after winning. The third former IOE winner in the field is the most recent, the 1950 Dodge Truck from Grumpy Cat Racing. It is painfully slow and would literally need the entire Class C field to all break catastrophically around Hour Six to win the class, but stranger things have happened. To date, it is the oldest LeMons entry in the series if you exclude the Model T GT, which features modern running gear. Speedholes_Marlin One of the most insane, berzerker-style LeMons creations has been Speed Holes Racing’s AMC Marlin (above), a mishmash of bad ideas that has been powered by a 454-cubic-inch V8 plucked from a GM pickup with some notion at one time of twin-supercharging (though I believe some fires during testing might have curbed that. Or maybe I’m imagining that very possible outcome). Regardless, the Marlin has managed to successfully avoid winning Class C or IOE and the team seldom seem concerned about that. So who else should crop up besides the old Colorado standbys? For one, new team Batmite will bring the race’s only Mustang, naturally a 1978 Mustang II. As it turns out, 1978 must be a fine year for vintage LeMons; the Pacer, Mustang II, and Checker are all of that year. The aforementioned Opel Manta from Zitronen Racing will be the series’ first Manta. The obvious theme there is a Manta, Manta paint scheme, but any Manta is a welcome one. Finally, Sordik Racing (tee hee) bring on the homebrewed Group B madness with a mid-engined Renault Le Car. No, it doesn’t have a stock Le Car engine with a massive turbo grafted on it (lag, lag, lag, lag, lag, lag, oh lord!), but it will have an engine dropping considerably more horsepower than the stock configuration. On paper, it should be incredible, but frankenstein’d cars seldom make impressive on-track debuts in the standings.  

Class B

Car_Wars_Prelude As always, predicting Class B can be a tall order. These cars are generally somewhat capable of being competitive, although they lack some fundamental attribute that would almost certainly keep them from winning overall. This could, interestingly, be a race that sees more Class B entries than Class A cars, which happens seldom if ever. We’ll get to the real competitors for Class B in a moment, but let’s look at all the cars of the same make (and even same year in several instances) that will face off head-to-head in a battle of racecar tepidness. At the top of the list to watch is a trio of Honda Preludes, all 1987 or 1988 models and all of them experienced LeMons teams. The ’87 of Car Wars (above) has finished best of the three (though still outside the Top 10), but Planeteer Racing’s ’87 and IGOTTAP’s 88 are both equally capable of mediocrity. Further, this will be the first race I can find with two Hyundais and wouldn’t you know it? They’re both 2002 Accents. Pit Road Pro are former Class C winners who usually do pretty well with their Korean penalty box. The Farmers are registered with their own ’02 and could be the new challenger with a Colorado Accent. Wine_O_Solara Are two Accents not enough appliance for you? How does the idea of two Toyota Camrys strike out? Wine O Racing (above) from Texas have traversed the country since their debut at Eagles Canyon Raceway in March. They ran Sebring and they’ll now trek to Colorado with their pitiful 2000 Camry Solara, where they’ll face off with KamiKamry’s ’91 Camry. If you like “actual sporty Toyotas,” then Gasshole Skidmarks and Dead Pigeon Racing are worth your time with both squaring off in 1981 Toyota Celicas. If you for some reason care about who might actually win Class B, then I suppose Geezer Escort Service (Ford Escort), the MRolla (All of the Toyotas), Team Copyright Laws (Audi 90), and Dirt Poor-sche (Porsche 928 in the lead photo). Elephorce’s turbocharged Geo Metro would probably be a great Class B car if it didn’t blow up some vital component an hour or two into every race. Reliability, though, is overrated when you have turbo noises. There’s also rumor of a twin-Hayabusa setup in one LeMons entry, though I’m not sure which. That sentence is there to see if anybody reads these previews enough to see a buried lede, as they call them in the journalism business.  

Class A

Back_To_The_Past This field should actually be the best chance for a number of winless teams to nab a victory in the small field. There’s only one former winner in the field, but they’ll be hard to beat. That one winner, Back to the Past, has won as recently as July at Autobahn Country Club. The Houston-based team has now won twice this year and once more in 2012; their 300ZX is almost always in the Top 10 and they run smooth, clean races with nary a mistakes. They won’t have the fastest car, but they’ll run long stints with consistent lap times, which is the real recipe for success in any endurance racing. The Acura Integras from Racing for Cancer Awareness and Team Sheen could both make runs at the win. Team Sheen are a Midwest team that actually are based about 10 minutes from LeMons regular stop Gingerman Raceway in Michigan. They usually lead any given race for a few laps before the typical Honda pitfalls catch up with them. Racing for Cancer Awareness have run all four previous B.F.E. GPs and come away with two fourth-place and two fifth-place finishes. That’s consistency. Lebowski Team Sheen aren’t the only ones towing out from the Midwest; they’ll be joined by Chicago’s Little Lebowski Urban Achievers. The Achievers came just a couple minutes short of winning two races in 2013 and looked to be certain to win in 2014. To date, their races this year have been unmitigated disasters, turning zero laps at Gingerman and popping their Volvo 245’s Redblock engine at Autobahn in July (shown above mid-swap about five minutes before the race’s checkered flag). If the car is fixed and sorted again, it will give the field a tough time. If not, they’ll have a long tow back to suburban Chicago. The fanfare for LeMons E30s is unlikely to be found at at High Plains this weekend. Of the three entered, Team Petty Cash’s could turn into something. It likely can’t do worse than last year’s Heroic Fix effort, which found the car on jack stands most of the weekend. The GTI E30 and Braking Badly have been around the Colorado races for a couple years but haven’t amounted to much. Interceptor_Tbird As always, we have a longshot and it’s the Inglorious Bastards Ford Thunderbird, which is the only Class A car with a V8. Ford’s MN-12 platform is one of the worst in LeMons, but every once in a while, one of them pulls it all together and keeps from breaking long enough to be marginally impressive. I’m not suggesting the Bastards will win, but they just might finish in the Top 10 this time around.  

Some not-very-important information
Event page The B.F.E. GP
About the track High Plains Raceway on Trackpedia
Saturday Session (MT) 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Session (MT) 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
LeMons Lap Record 2:15.4 (Casino Racing – Honda Civic)
Overall Winners 2010  – Ghetto Motorsports (Mazda RX-7)
2011 – Ghetto Motorsports (Mazda RX-7)
2012 – Ghetto Motorsports (Mazda RX-7)
2013 – Raized Crazy (BMW E30)
Class B Winners 2010 – Owdee (Audi 90)
2011 – Plan B Racing (Mazda 626)
2012 – Colorado Cone Killers (BMW E28)
2013 – Volatile RAM 2 (Toyota FX16/MR2)
Class C Winners 2010 – Little Buckaroo (Volkswagen Baja Bug)
2011 – Time Travelers of Doom (Pontiac Fiero)
2012 – Pit Road Pro (Hyundai Accent)
2013 – Rocketsurgery Racing (Checker Marathon)
Index of Effluency Winners 2010 – Rocket Surgery Racing (Renault 4CV)
2011 – NASA (Ford LTD Country Squire)
2012 – Speedycop & The Gang of Outlaws (AMC Pacer)
2013 – Rocketsurgery Racing (Checker Marathon)

  [Photos: Murilee Martin except Little Lebowski photo, which is copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood]

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