24 Hours of LeMons LIVEBLOG: 'Where the Elite Meet to Cheat' (Saturday)

Good morning and happy Alaska Day, Hooniverse readers and crapcan enthusiasts. I am live today from the 24 Hours of LeMons Penalty Box at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan, which is hosting the “Where the Elite Meet to Cheat” race. I’ll be posting live updates throughout the weekend with photos and text coming over the following 14-1/2 hours of racing between today and tomorrow. I’ll be doing this all while meting out punishment for poor driving to teams that accrue black flags.
Today’s race begins officially at 9:30 a.m. local time (Eastern time) and ends at 6:30 p.m., making this a long nine-hour endurance test for the race’s first day. Want the low-down on who’s racing? Read my weekend preview that, while perhaps short on the details, should give a feeling for the teams and drivers involved. Or you can just see the entire unofficial entry list here. If you’re still interested, you can follow live timing over on Specialty Timing’s website. If you’re reading this, then I’m already trackside and getting ready for the green flag. Want to follow along or ask questions? Leave a comment down below and I’ll try to get back to you as much as I can. Follow the jump for updates and know that this post will be updated frequently throughout the day (race circuit Internet deities permitting) with the newest updates at the post’s bottom.

8:15 a.m.  – We’re up and running trackside and while this judge fulfills his judicial obligations with the 8:30 drivers’ meeting and lining up cars for the start, here’s enjoy a short recap from yesterday’s BS Inspection. There’s no better place to start than the Superfly-themed 1972 Pontiac Grand Prix with mixing-bowl headlamps and custom-fabbed grille. It’s pretty nicely set up, actually, with a 400 cubic-inch V8 and looked nicely set-up during the track-run test-and-tune.
In the preview, we mentioned the epic Mopar battle (christened the Michigan Mopar Malaise Misery Festival in the race preview and henceforth referred to as MMMMF) between the #81 1981 Dodge Mirada and the #75 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. It promises to be a race full of cushy suspensions, cubic inches (318 vs. 360; can you guess which is which?), and probably kludged repairs.
But only the Mirada has the full interior. PLUSH!
In the race preview, we mentioned that Bust-A-Nut Racing were the team to watch for and they delivered with their MX-5 turned into a bloodthirsty Asian Carp, a much-maligned invasive species in the Midwest. To drive the point home, the team lobbed plush Asian Carp around regularly and even offered a bribe of a live fish in a fish bowl, which was soon adopted as the unofficially official fish of Gingerman Raceway.
Regular MR2 builder Marc Labranche brought back the #97 Frankenstein Motorworks Toyota MR2 that once was powered by a five-cylinder, warbird-era radial engine. Instead of a radial, however, Labranche stuffed the 3.5-liter V6 from a Toyota Sienna minivan into the second-generation MR2. It makes 260 or more horsepower with engine management run by a prototype controller Labranche is testing. It got hammered for some penalty laps (as did Labranche’s old MR2 that he sold to another team, who put a smaller Toyota 1MZ V6 from a Camry in it), but it should be an absolute screamer on the straightaways.
The Dai Mondai squad brought back an old Celica that had been banged up several times in crashes. The team grafted a late-model Toyota Avalon grille onto the car that somehow only looks partially atrocious.
Anyway, I’ll add some more recapping of Friday throughout the day as I’m able.
9:25 a.m. The cars are circulating on track on a blustery, 50-degree day. Rain is going to fall in a little while, in all likelihood, which means this could really go to anyone. To start the day, the garage door in the Penalty Box broke and the Point-O-Eight Ford Escort team fixed it before the race went green. Early Heroic Fix contenders, right there.
9:30 a.m. The green flag flies and is shown on the three-car parade of the Cordoba, the Mirada, and the Grand Prix. What a glorious sight.
9:35 a.m. Not that it much matters, but the #111 Escort Service Ford Escort leads the first lap of the race with a pair of SHOs from Dum Inc. and SHOuth of the Border right behind.
9:37 a.m. Three Penalty Box visits in quick succession for spins from the #99 Nissan 240SX, #422 Honda Civic, and #31 while the #58 Chevy S10 is the honorary First Car Towed In.
9:53 a.m. The tow truck has already been deployed three times for busted cars, including the #10 Tempo, which may have been a Class C frontrunner.
10:00 a.m. At the half-hour mark, the #81 Mirada and the #75 Cordoba are 1-2 in Class C and running nose-to-tail with the Ford EXP just 30 seconds behind. This is the kind of thing that makes Class C so worthwhile.
10:10 a.m. Placing your transponder inside the car and on the firewall makes it difficult for it register as it crosses the timing line. Or impossible, actually. With a series that offers complete novices the chance to race come these kinds of the mistakes, but teams that do things like this their first time around have often become very good teams after a half dozen or so races.
10:30 a.m. The track is starting to dry out from overnight rain and laptop are starting to drop and the usual teams are at the front. United Ducktape’s Porsche 944 leads from the LemonAid E30 and the the Landshark Integra. Wonderment Consortium’s Volkswagen Quantum sits fourth overall and LemonAid’s M50-swapped Geo Metro is fifth overall and leads Class B.
11:05 a.m. Just as the track was starting to dry, it’s started to rain a bit and things are getting chaotic with spins galore as drivers fail to adapt to conditions.
11:15 a.m. Boy, the Mirada is a fine-looking coupe, isn’t it?
12:10 p.m. After more than 2-1/2 hours, the top three remains the same with LemonAid’s Metro leading Class B by five laps. The Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing Ford EXP leads C by four laps. The rain continues to fall. Pictures of broken cars coming soon.
12:18 p.m. The first casualty of the race was the Flying Purple People Eater S10, whose distributor busted the second the driver floored the car for the green flag.
12:45 p.m. Just about everyone has made their first driver changes and the leaders remaind the same: United Ducktape Porsche, LemonAid E30, Landshark Integra. LemonAid’s I6 Metro leads Legitimate Racing’s A20-powered Accord in Class B by four laps. 
1:05 p.m. The #6 HardDriveRacing Neon no longer has functioning spider gears in its transmission.
1:08 p.m. Weather radar seems to indicate another band of showers and then it should clear up within a couple hours with the track drying in the hour thereafter. At this point, 79 cars have turned laps, making this the largest LeMons race ever at Gingerman.
1:15 p.m. The Flux Decapacitators simultaneously experienced a broken A-arm and a failed alternator in the race’s opening 10 minutes. After finding another Ford Tempo alternator, they should be back on the track.
1:40 p.m. The Flying Pigs Ford Mustang pits from P2 overall. United Ducktape’s Porsche now leads LemonAid and Landshark again. Little Lebowski Urban Achievers’ Volvo 245 should inherit P4 with the Dai Mondai Toyota Corolla FX16 moving up to P5.
1:43 p.m. A long black flag stop for the LemonAid Racing BMW-powered Geo Metro dropped them from the Class B lead with the Grimm Racing Pontiac Sunfire adopting the lead with about a lap advantage over LemonAid.
1:52 p.m. The rain has stopped for a bit, but laptimes remain high with the track still absolutely soaked. Meanwhile, Byte Marks Racing’s Ford Escort was carrying the Official LeMons GoPro and ended its stint by smashing into a poor Nissan Sentra SE-R.
2:20 p.m. Several drivers have reported a course-long oil slick making a sheen on top of the wet pavement. This in and of itself is not unusual for LeMons but it’s caught a lot of drivers out with an abundance of spins.
2:52 p.m. This is what a Class B Acura Integra looks like: Poorly running automatic transmission and four doors.
3:15 p.m. LeMons ringer Anton Lovett has only earned a handful of black flags in 50-something races, so Judge Phil takes enjoyment in the rare visits to the Penalty Box. In this case, he spun the 70-horsepower Ford EXP.
3:40 p.m. Six hours in, here are the standings:
1. #45 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)
2. #110 Swiss Racing (BMW E30)
3. #86 Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (Volvo 240)
4. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30)
5.  #87 Dai Mondai I (Toyota Corolla FX16)
6. #47 Bad Lucky Touch (Mazda RX-7)
7. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang)
8. #99 Strange Crew (Mazda RX-7)
9. #13 Hell Kitty Racing (Honda Prelude)
10. #27 Grimm Racing (Pontiac Sunfire), Class B
1. #27 Grimm Racing (Pontiac Sunfire)
2. #117 Legitimate Racing (Acura Integra)
3. #53 LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro)
4. #63 One Lap for Dogs (Volkswagen Golf)
5. #314 Nothing’s Hotter Than Cougar (Mercury Cougar)
1. #822 Mity Metro (Geo Metro)
2. #919 Afunzalo Racing (FIat X1/9)
3. #311 Schnitzelwagen (Volkswagen Squareback)
4. #73 Sir Jackie Steweart’s Coin Purse Racing (Ford EXP)
5. #81 Team Sheen (Dodge Mirada)
3:54 p.m. Since that last post, United Ducktape has made its last pit stop for the day and dropped to P3 overall. Little Lebowski’s Volvo also left the gas cap off from their prior pit stop and the driver, when he realized that, got distracted and went four wheels off. They now run P5 and the Dai Mondai Toyota required a Penalty Box visit after speeding in the pits. Mistakes like that are costly at the front of the field.
4:15 p.m. The track is dry and times have dropped dramatically with most teams having made their last fuel stop of the day or being close to it with a little luck from full-course cautions. So several top contenders have all made mistakes as the track gets faster and they’ve started pushing. LemonAid’s E30 currently leads by about 30 seconds from the Ducktape Porsche with Flying Pigs now P3, two laps behind. LemonAid’s Metro leads Class B now, as well, which could make them the first team to win two classes at the same race. In Class C, the Mity Metro now leads Der Schnitzelwagen, which started with a 10-lap handicap, by four laps.
4:25 p.m. The Bust-A-Nut oversized Asian Carp/Mazda MX-6 chased United Ducktape Racing’s Porsche for a few laps while the Porsche was leading.
4:45 p.m.  The lead battle has gotten interesting. LemonAid’s E30 had stretched the lead to about a minute, but that has now shrunk to just 20 seconds over the Ducktape Porsche. Swiss Racing had been black flagged for a fuel leak, but the driver is spanking that E30 around the track to make up the difference with a fast lap just set at 1:40.887, the fastest of the race so far.
5:26 p.m. Team Sheen’s Acura Integra just spun in front of the Mirada, which is also Team Sheen’s car. Meanwhile, United Ducktape Racing just passed for the overall lead with about an hour left in today’s racing.
5:50 p.m. The racing has quieted down measurably as everyone is just driving to have a car left for tomorrow.
5:55 p.m. LemonAid’s BMW-swapped Geo Metro leads Class B by three laps over the Avery Brothers Honda Civic by three laps with about 35 minutes left in today’s race session, although the Avery Brothers Civic is self-reporting for a penalty.
6:10 p.m. The Schnitzelwagen has overcome its 10-lap handicap to start the race to now lead Class C by two laps, which is impressive. Afunzalo Racing’s Fiat X1/9 is P2 in class and the three-cylinder Mity Metro is P3 in class.
6:20 p.m. With 10 minutes remaining, the sun is about to shine for the first time since yesterday. Teams that are broken have resigned themselves to overnight fixes while most of the runners are trying to limp home on fumes.
6:30 p.m. The day wraps up with Der SchnitzelWagen leading Class C, having overcome a 13-lap handicap (not the 10 I mentioned previously) to lead by two laps. Air-cooled engines are the bee’s knees in LeMons. Here are the standings to end Day 1.
1. #45 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)
2. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30)
3. #110 Swiss Racing (BMW E30)
4. #86 Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (Volvo 240)
5. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang)
6. #13 Hell Kitty Racing (Honda Prelude)
7. #36 Save the Ta-Tas Racing (Chevy Camaro)
8. #53 LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro), Class B
9. #99 Strange Crew (Nissan 240SX)
10. #688 SHOuth of the Border (Ford Taurus SHO
1. #53 LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro)
2. #117 Legitimate Racing (Acura Integra)
3. #2 Avery Brothers Racing (Honda Civic)
4. #4 Loose Lugs Racing (Chevy S10)
5. #89 D
1. #311 Schnitzelwagen (Volkswagen Squareback)
2. #919 Afunzalo Racing (FIat X1/9)
3. #822 Mity Metro (Geo Metro)
4. #81 Team Sheen (Dodge Mirada)
5. #73 Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing (Ford EXP)
The race start tomorrow at noon, when we’ll have more updates and photos from Gingerman Raceway. Check back!
[All photos copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood]

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4 responses to “24 Hours of LeMons LIVEBLOG: 'Where the Elite Meet to Cheat' (Saturday)”

  1. chevette Avatar

    Sweet, let's go

  2. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    This is my weekend entertainment Right Here.

  3. Zaxbys Avatar

    You should grab some pics of the Lemon aid metro. Especially since it looks like it broke or was black flagged.

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      They seem to be running now. They got a black flag and then made their driver change right afterward, so it ate up about 20 minutes of time.