24 Hours of LeMons: Catching up on numbers from 'Cure for Gingervitis'

This post is about two weeks too late to be relevant, but I’m going to write it anyway because ones of people probably want to read it. On Easter weekend, I worked as part of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court and liveblogged the goings-on at the same race for this very site. I wrote a bit of a recap, but I didn’t dive into the numbers the way I normally do. So consider this a brief look at the winners from the overall, Class B, and Class C competitors at the race. This will be one of three recaps I’ll be catching up on in the next few days, so look for the “Southern Discomfort”  and the “Real Hoopties of New Jersey” recaps early next week.

Ever wonder what a race looks like if you graph positions hourly over the course of 13-1/2 hours? Well, it looks like this (You can find a bigger version here). Keep in mind that the top positions are at the bottom of the graph, so the bottom line at the very right is the overall winner, Speedycop & the Gang of Outlaws (Honda Civic).
It’s still hard to make out exactly what happens, but more than anything this shows that attrition knocks a team down the rankings quickly, as shown by steeply rising lines, and that it’s really hard to make up spots quickly. It also shows how chaotic the opening two or three hours can be, which is where it’s easiest to gain or lose position because lap counts are still relatively low.
That’s a neat visual, I think, but it doesn’t tell that much about how the race really unfolded, so we’ll take a look at stints, stops, and speed for the top of the field. In this case, stint means time between visits to the paddock, pit, or Penalty Box. Since it’s hard to distinguish between though reasons for coming off the track (even though I was at the race), consider this a demonstration of how much more important it is to run cleanly without breaking than it is to run quickly. It’s also worth noting that Gingerman’s paddock setup puts all teams on even footing since every car must make a circuit of the paddock every time they exit the track.

Team # Stints Avg Stint (In Laps) Avg Stop time Avg Race lap Laps
Speedycop 6 75.33 7:21 01:49.9 451
Vermont Bert-One 6 73.83 9:25 01:50.9 443
United Ducktape Racing 11 40.91 7:18 01:49.3 440
CMR 7 48.33 7:43 01:52.0 435
Team Sheen 5 62.14 9:55 01:51.3 435
Flying Pigs 8 43.10 9:18 01:49.8 431
Hell Kitty 9 38.82 8:40 01:49.9 427
Wisconsin Crap Racing 8 51.88 10:39 01:55.2 415

So here are the numbers on all of the Class A cars in the Top 10 (We’ll look at the other classes momentarily). Note how minor differences between the P1 and P2 cars of Speedycop and Bert-One, respectively), add up. With the same number of stints, Speedycop ran 1.5 laps longer between stops with about two minutes shorter per stop and one second faster on average for the whole race. That added up to eight laps over the course of the weekend.
I should note that one of the Speedycop drivers got a black flag that probably lowered the average because it was a quick stop, which means that the race-winning Civic only made three in-race fuel stops to Bert-One’s four. United Ducktape Racing had enough race to run down Bert-One late Sunday, but they were set back by black flags and a complete exhaust failure, which the team claims made the engine just thirsty enough to come up 10 minutes short on fuel to make one additional stop. Team Sheen’s average stop time was bloated by multiple black flags Saturday and Flying Pigs’ late-Saturday brake failure similarly inflated their stop times while they replaced the busted rotor and pads.

Class B Team # Stints Avg Stint (In Laps) Avg Stop time Avg Race lap Laps
Charnal House 8 38.91 7:50 01:52.6 418
Wonderment Consortium B 12 32.09 10:06 01:54.6 402
Point-O-Eight 10 39.10 14:23 01:54.3 393
Product Design 9 42.89 14:53 01:58.0 386
Arrested Adolescent Racing Program 13 28.54 15:17 01:53.4 371
Water Closet Racing 10 36.90 15:17 02:05.2 369
Apocalyptic Racing 10 36.80 8:04 01:55.5 368
Canadian Border Patrol 10 36.00 10:03 01:54.0 360

Class B turned was really anybody’s race for most of Saturday. The top three cars in the class for most of Saturday–Charnal House, Apocalyptic Racing, and Canadian Border Patrol–all ended the day early with broken parts. Because none of them returned to the track after tripping the timing loop on pit in, those long times in the pits fixing a wheel bearing, a suspension failure, and a power-steering pump, respectively, don’t show up in their average stop times.
The Wonderment Consortium Ford Escort made a high number of stops because a myriad of small issues set them back. They briefly led Class B on Sunday before the car’s engine oiled down the windshield. The transmission then stuck in fourth gear, so they slipped back.
Mechanical issues set back the Point-O-Eight, Product Design, and Arrested Adolescent Racing Program, which account for their high stop times. So what you see is a case of the fastest car in the class winning, but a significant portion of that victory stems from the good fortune of their rear wheel bearing/hub failure coming very Saturday, costing them only about 10 minutes of green flag time.
The Water Closet Racing Audi were a team of complete road racing rookies (if you don’t count their run at Gingerman last year, which ended mid-day Saturday). Their lap times were astronomical compared with the rest of the class and their stop times were all very long, but as far as I could tell, that was due more to a new team figuring out driver changes than any mechanical issues. So while they were extremely slow, they kept from breaking and finished with a decent outcome in the middle of the pack.

Class C Team # Stints Avg Stint Avg Stop time Avg Race lap Laps
Loose Lugs 7 57.86 16:09 01:55.4 405
Flux Decapacitators 9 44.89 10:51 01:57.2 404

As it turned out, the race for Class C was the closest of them all, which is terribly ironic because only three cars ended up in the class. Afunzalo Racing’s Fiat X1/9 broke early and often, so it turned into a brawl between the Loose Lugs Chevy S-10 and the Flux Decapacitator Ford Tempo. On paper, the S-10 should have run away with it, since its V6 made 30 or so more horsepower and it was indeed faster on the track. It also ran longer on a tank of fuel, somewhere around 2.5 hours if it didn’t break.
And that was indeed the problem: The S-10 lost probably 45 minutes of green flag racing fixing wheel bearings and a couple of other small issues. The Tempo had a small fix or two to make during the race, as well, and at the end of Saturday’s session, the Tempo led by five laps.
However, Sunday brought a resurgent Loose Lugs team, who ran the day’s five-hour session with only one fuel stop to Flux Decapacitator’s two. Even so, the Tempo (above) pitted with a little more than an hour remaining for their final stop with about 2-1/2 laps in hand. They returned to the track about one minute behind the S-10, but he truck’s pace was just a tick faster in that last hour, adding a second or two on enough laps to put the Tempo a lap down by the checkered flag.
In the end, both performed admirably. Loose Lugs finished 10th place overall with the Tempo just behind in 11th; both finished higher than the second-place car in Class B. Flux Decapacitators were rewarded for their effort in an automatic, four-cylinder Tempo with the vaunted Index of Effluency trophy.
That’s this race by the numbers in brief. Check back next week for more 24 Hours of LeMons race recaps. You can find the entirety of timing and scoring from “The Cure for Gingervitis” on MyLaps here.
[Photos copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood]

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