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

Welcome to Day Two of 24 Hours of LeMons’ “Where the Elite Meet to Cheat” at Gingerman Raceway in Southwest MIchigan. Today’s finale of the race begins as soon after the mandatory quiet time ends, which is noon. Engines should fire up then and, after a lap or two to check transponders, racing will begin as soon as possible and run until the 5:30 p.m. checkered flag. If you want to get caught up, read yesterday’s liveblog transcript and then read my weekend preview to see how far off-base I’ve been. You may also find the unofficial entry list and live timing from Specialty Timing handy if you’re following along today. I’m already set up in the Penalty Box’s heavenly confines and ready to bring you, dear Hooniverse reader, the rust-encrusted drama of the 24 Hours of LeMons as it unfolds today.
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.

11:00 a.m. All is quiet at Gingerman on Sunday morning with race motors condemned during church hours at the chapel just east of the racetrack, so a noon start it will be. Yesterday’s race had a bit of everything typical to Gingerman: overcast skies, blustery wind, crazy track conditions that included excessive rain and a track-long oil slick, and a good deal of metal-clanging action.
Sunday’s race session should be a touch under 5-1/2 hours, which means that a team should need about 2:45 stints to run the whole day on a single stop. Here’s how the cars will line up to start the day (with a little analysis from yours truly):
1. #45 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944) – 252 Laps
2. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30) – 250 Laps
3. #110 Swiss Racing (BMW E30 ) – 248 Laps
4. #86 Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (Volvo 245) – 248 Laps
5. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang) – 245 Laps
6. #13 Hell Kitty Racing (Honda Prelude) – 242 Laps
7. #36 Save the Ta-Tas Racing (Chevy Camaro) – 236 Laps
8. #53 Lemon Aid Racing (Geo Metro) – 235 Laps
9. #99 Strange Crew (Nissan 240SX) -233 Laps
10. #688 SHOuth of the Border Ford Taurus SHO – 233 Laps
Overall, this should really be a four-car race. The leading Porsche will be able to go all day on one stop, while the two E30s will be very close on fuel. The LemonAid E30 probably won’t make it on one stop, the Swiss Racing E30 might and their fastest driver has the pace to make a four-lap gap interesting. The Little Lebowski Volvo will run on one stop, but they lack the outright pace to win. If they win it (and they deserve to after a rotten season to-date), it will be because their fuel efficiency trumps LemonAid’s pace and the other two ahead make major mistakes. Give credit to the Strange Crew Nissan 240SX, which has run cleanly, quickly, and quietly into the Top 10.
1. #53 Lemon Aid Racing (Geo Metro) – 235 Laps
2. #117 Legitimate Racing (Honda Accord) – 232 Laps
3. #2 Avery Brothers Racing (Honda Civic – 229 Laps
4. #4 Loose Lugs Racing (Chevy S10) – 229 Laps
5. #89 Dai Mondai II (Toyota Celica) – 228 Laps
6. #12 That’ll Do Racing (Ford Mustang) – 226 Laps
7.  #18 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort) – 226 Laps
8.  #27 Grimm Racing (Pontiac Sunfire) – 224 Laps
9.  #101 Byte Marks Racing (Ford Escort) – 224 Laps
10. #33 We Are Not Really From Iran (Ford Festiva) – 220 Laps
Lemon Aid’s Metro seems like it should be faster, but its fastest lap of 1:49 seems to indicate it’s not super fast but the team know how to run an endurance race. nevertheless, a three-lap gap remains less than six minutes, to a minor issue—the car had a throttle cable issues already this weekend—could make it interesting. Legitimate Racing is a new team who own Blue Shells’ old carbureted, A20-powered Accord and have inherited the slow-and-steady method to make it interesting. Avery Brothers’ Civic danced on the very edge of disaster all Saturday and avoided it while Loose Lugs quietly went about their business. Consider all of those and the Dai Mondai Celica in with a shot. I’ll suggest that only Legitimate Racing of those has any chance of running the day on one fuel stop, but I might be wrong. Regardless, a three-lap lead in Class B is not particularly large.
1. #311 SchnitzelWagen (Volkswagen Squareback) – 195 Laps
2. #919 Afunzalo Racing (Fiat X1/9) – 193 Laps
3. #822 Mity Metro (Geo Metro) – 178 Laps
4. #81 Team Sheen (Dodge Mirada) – 177 Laps
5. #73 Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing (Ford EXP) – 141 Laps
6. #75 Zero Budget Racing (Chrysler Cordoba) – 121 Laps
7. #10 Flux Decapacitators (Ford Tempo) – 110 laps
Speaking of insubstantial gaps, two laps in Class is virtually nothing and, heck, the 17 laps back to P3 class is not significant in a class where all the cars hover over the brink of cannonballing engine parts into low orbit. The SchnitzelWagen overcame a 13-lap handicap to lead the class, but the Afunzalo Fiat could make that difference up. Mity Metro led much of the day, but a late failure shelved them and cost them the lead. If they’re running this morning, they should be able to make the distance on a single stop, unlike either of the two cars ahead of them.
11:10 a.m. The weather should be nice today by Gingerman standards: 57 degrees and sunny skies, but the overnight low hit 32 degrees, leaving the paddock nicely coated with a layer of frost.
11:42 a.m. The corner workers are heading out to their stations and teams preparing to push their cars into line. I’d guess the race will not start much before the scheduled 12:15 start.
12:11 p.m. The Top 10 are gridded on pitlane with the rest of the field ready and they roll off for a formation lap or two. After a warm-up lap or two, the green flag will fly and it’s five-and-a-half hours of racing then.
12:18 p.m. The green flag flies on the race-leading United Ducktape Porsche.
12:42 p.m. Two leaders already have made mistakes. The SchnitzelWagen came in blowing smoke out the exhaust due to a poorly repaired leak. The team are currently repairing. Meanwhile, the P2 LemonAid E30 passed under yellow and then the driver compounded the mistake by entering the track incorrectly, which will prompt a second black flag. This will drop them a position or two. Additionally, the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers’ first driver didn’t have his gear teched and was turned away from the Top 10  grid. Their driver got his gear teched and barely managed to make the green flag.
1:06 p.m. There hasn’t really been a whole lot of carnage at this race, aside from a busted Neon transmission and a Sentra clutch and so forth.
1:15 p.m. After an hour, the Top 10 cars remain the same, albeit in a slightly different order. United Ducktape now leads Swiss Racing by three laps and the LemonAid E30 has dropped to fourth after its black flag misadventures. In Class C, Afunzalo Racing’s Fiat X1/9 now leads by two laps from the SchnitzelWagen. Currently, Team Sheen’s 1981 Dodge Mirada leads the team’s Acura Integra by three laps.
1:27 p.m. As I wrote that last post, the Class C-leading Afunzalo Fiat broke some sort of oil or coolant line and dumped it all over Turn 10, leaving their car smoking like a banshee and sending a couple of cars off at that corner, as well. The now-fixed SchnitzelWagen now leads Class C.
1:53 p.m. Schnitzelwagen and Afunzalo are now both in the pits fixing oiling issues while Team Sheen’s Mirada just spent a good chunk of time in the pits bleeding their cooked brakes. As those are the three class leaders, it seems that nobody wants to win the class. Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing needs to make up 60 laps or so if all three class leaders are toast, although the Mirada is now back on the track.
2:05 p.m. Bust-A-Nut’s Asian Carp-themed Mazda MX-6 is done for the weekend, its Mazda V6 having destroyed a valve.
2:25 p.m. Two hours in and United Ducktape still leads by just under two laps from Swiss Racing. Both should be able to go the distance on one fuel stop, should the P3 and P4 cars. Those cars should also be able to run on one stop. LemonAid’s class-leading Geo Metro just made its first of two driver changes, but it blew through the pits on its way out and will be headed back for a chat about not speeding in the pits. Their two-lap lead over the Dai Mondai Toyota Celica will likely evaporate as a result, although Dai Mondai is making their first driver change currently, as well. The Schnitzelwagen has been repaired again and now leads Class C by 12 laps from the MIrada.
2:45 p.m. The United Ducktape Porsche, Swiss Racing, and the P5 LemonAid Racing have all made fuel stops. The LemonAid Metro’s travails have dropped them a half-lap behind the Avery Brothers’ chopped-up Honda Civic in Class B while Dai Mondai’s Celica is a lap-and-a-half behind.
3:00 p.m. Flying Pigs Racing pits for their driver/fuel change while Swiss Racing earned a black flag for contact that has knocked them back to P3. Little Lebowski Urban Achievers’ Volvo now runs P2 but hasn’t made their driver change.
3:25 p.m. With a little over two hours remaining, LemonAid’s Metro reclaims P1 in Class B. Little Lebowski Urban Achievers also make their driver change.
3:30 p.m. With two hours to go, here are the standings:
1. #45 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)
2. #110 Swiss Racing (BMW E30) – +5 laps
3. #86 Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (Volvo 245) – +6 laps
4. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang) – +7 laps
5. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30) – +12 laps
6. #36 Save the Ta-Tas Racing (Chevy Camaro) – +12 laps
7. #13 Hell Kitty Racing (Honda Prelud) – +18 laps
8. #688 SHOuth of the Border (Ford Taurus SHO) – +19 laps
9. #99 Strange Crew (Nissan 240SX) – +24 laps
10. #797 White Trash Racing (Dodge Neon) – +24 laps
1. #53 LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro)
2. #2 Avery Brothers Racing (Honda Civic) – +2 laps
3. #89 Dai Mondai II (Toyota Celica – +4 laps
4. #4 Loose Lugs Racing (Chevy S10) – +5 laps
5. #27 Grimm Racing (Pontiac Sunfire) – +10 laps
1. #311 SchnitzelWagen (VW Squareback)
2. #81 Team Sheen (Dodge Mirada) – +5 Laps
3. #73 Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing (Ford EXP) + 33 laps
4. #919 Afunzalo Racing (Fiat X1/9) +42 laps
5. #822 Mity Metro (Geo Metro) + A lot
3:38 p.m. The Avery Brothers Civic pits for their first driver change. Of the Top 10 cars, only the race leader has yet to get a black flag. Everybody else has had at least one; making unforced mistakes in any racing is costly and while the stakes at LeMons aren’t high (and theoretically not that costly in monetary terms), they are to teams who like to win.
3:45 p.m. The three-car Wonderment Consortium team is basically retired for the weekend. The team’s Audi S4-engined Volkswagen Quantum has undiagnosable electrical gremlins and the Ford Escort has at least three serious issues that can’t be resolved in time for the checkered flag. Their Honda Civic is still theoretically running, even though it only has third and fourth gears functioning.
4:00 p.m. Team Sheen’s two cars are locked in a heated battle to see if the Integra or the Mirada can finish ahead. The Integra currently leads by a single lap, but the Integra is currently in the pits and actually headed to the Penalty Box.
4:12 p.m. Several drivers have reported a turtle crossing the track at Turn 10, apparently a big-enough turtle to cause a bit of damage. That might be a first.
4:24 p.m. Note from Race Control is that the snapping turtle, indicated by a driver as about a foot long, is now deceased. I expect a driver may have some Mario Kart-esque damage, a good story, and a mess.
4:30 p.m. An hour remains and the United Ducktape Porsche leads by three laps over Swiss Racing, who are about seven seconds a lap faster at this point in the race, which is not nearly fast enough to make up the deficit. So long as the Porsche stays on the track, it will likely finish P1. Attrition has improved the LemonAid Metro to P6, just one position behind the E30. The Metro now leads Class B by four laps over the Avery Brothers Civic. In Class C, SchnitzelWagen’s Volkswagen leads by just three laps now over the Mirada.
5:00 p.m. The cars left running are mostly just trying to get to the finish and the end is nearly in sight for the race leaders, still United Ducktape, LemonAid, and SchnitzelWagen, respectively. Flying Pigs Racing continue to run strong races, now P3 overall.
5:15 p.m. In the final 15 minutes, Team Sheen’s Integra has now passed the Mirada in the standings by a lap. Swiss Racing has trimmed the lead to a two laps behind United Duck Tape Racing, but there’s little chance for an overtake. LemonAid’s Metro has 2-1/2 laps on the Avery Brothers Civic in Class B and the SchnitzelWagen’s eight-lap lead is basically safe for their second consecutive Class C win after starting the race with 13 handicap laps.
5:22 p.m. Swiss Racing’s E30 just comes up short in fuel and has to stop with eight minutes left to add fuel. The now-four-lap lead for United Duck Tape can’t be overcome and theirs will be the third different Porsche 944 to win a LeMons race this year.
5:25 p.m. With now five minutes left, LemonAid’s Metro should be able to hang onto its three-lap lead to win Class B, as well. That makes them the first team to win Overall, Class B, and Class C, although the Overall win was in the team’s BMW E30, which is going to finish fifth overall.
5:30 p.m. The checkered flag flies high over the United Ducktape Racing Porsche and the race is over. The 50 or so survivers finish in varying states of disrepair. I’ll be back with one more post after the Awards Ceremony.
6:50 p.m. Here are your award winners:
CLASS A/OVERALL: United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)
CLASS B: LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro, BMW M52 swap)
CLASS C: SchnitzelWagen (Volkswagen Squareback Wagon)
HEROIC FIX: Rod Tossin’ Fools (Toyota MR2; fixed head gasket by adding supplementary water tank and circulating more water)
I Got Screwed: HardDrive Racing (Dodge Neon. Blew up transmission and wheel bearings, which they were took forever to find because Chrysler has a million Neon parts)
Only Understood in the Midwest Award: Bust-A-Nut Racing (Mazda MX-6, Asian Carp theme, which is an invasive local species)
Judges’ Choice Award: Team NonSequitur (Acura Integra)
Michigan Mopar Malaise Misery Festival presented Leaking Automotive Fluids Award: Zero Budget Racing (Chrysler Cordoba)
Organizers’ Choice: Can You Dig It? (Pontiac Grand Prix Superfly)
Index of Effluency: Team Sheen (Dodge Mirada)
That’s all for this weekend. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.
[All photos copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood]

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

  1. nanoop Avatar

    Great coverage, it's prime time here in Europe!
    Is the United Ducktape 944 running stock engine/drivetrain configuration, or do we have some mid-engine front drive Diesel here?

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      Yeah, it's a stock 2.5-liter engine.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        That's brave, in that um, price bracket. Thanks for following up.

        1. Eric Rood Avatar
          Eric Rood

          Long overdue follow-up. Most 924 and 944 cars blow the hell up after a few hours of flogging. But if you can keep one alive (shifting 500-1000 rpm below factory redline is a good rule of thumb in LeMons), they actually are for some reason pretty fuel-efficient at race pace.

          1. nanoop Avatar

            Now I'm impressed! I don't want to rush the conversation, but a question on this:
            How is fixing the engine meshed into the 500USD "principle" (it's not a rigid rule per se, as I understand)? As an example, just fixing the rod bearings is like 250USD in parts alone – and replacing them is a very sane precaution if one intends to use a beaten 944 with unknown history on a track for a sustained time…
            Is there a 944 running team member among us? I have some questions about how to get an engine to run that long under that load: did you do the rod bearings, did you clip the balance shaft belt, did you replace the oil pickup tube?

          2. Eric Rood Avatar
            Eric Rood

            I can't speak to the technical parts of it, but Stef Schrader from Jalopnik (aka "ninjacoco" in the Comments section) races a crapcan 944. She might have better information.
            I do know that general LeMons tech knowledge is don't rev your engine anywhere near the factory redline. There are a lot of debates about what oil to use, even, but quite a few teams use a very heavy oil (like 20W) so that it sloshes around less during G loading and you don't get oil starvation anywhere. Because while the engines were designed to run to whatever the redline is, they aren't necessarily designed to run there under load while experiencing lateral Gs.
            As for the budgeting, all of LeMons operatues under the pretense that everyone is cheating all of the time. If the BS Inspectors felt so inclined, they could probabyl make a team tear down their engine, but I don't think that's ever happened, save once. So there's generally an understood notion that you "can" rebuild a crappy old engine or put new bearings in or whatever.
            That said, if the car is a hot rod that you'e slipped past BS Inspection, there are ways of penalizing cheaters during the race (i.e.You get a black flag and the judges then take a crapload of time talking to you about all manner of inane things, thereby costing you some of the time that your wicked-fast cheatermobile netted you).
            After the race, you email Judge Phil (aka Murilee Martin) and tell him what you need to replace or fix. He assigns your car a dollar value and you then have whatever the difference is to repair things. If you nuke a 944 engine, for example, he'll generally say, "The car is worth $200. Go find a $300 engine to put in. Bring receipts."
            There's really nothing preventing you from rebuilding things like a transmission or an engine or whatever between races and some teams do that. There's generally not a lot of attention drawn to it for a couple reasons:
            (1) LeMons is about removing barriers to racing and getting a whole bunch of seat time. If you as a car builder want your car to run for 14-1/2 hours so everyone on the team can play racecar driver, they're not going to give too much grief for that. Part of the series' draw has always been that it's a tremendous value in a sport where value simply did not exist before.
            (2) If you really want to win that badly to take home $400 in nickels and a couple of trophies, then that's your own prerogative. The series really doesn't make a big deal out of winning. Cheating happens in every form of racing and the biggest way to combat it is simply to not make a fuss over who wins the race. Crazy, I know.
            The ironic part, though, is that a good number of team who win LeMons races have never opened up their engines beyond maybe taking the valve cover off to see what kind of shape things generally are in. I'm working on a piece about how to win a LeMons race (for all that's worth) and general human preparation goes way farther than just about all mechanical preparations.

          3. mdharrell Avatar

            Two things:
            (1) SAE 20 is now considered a "very heavy" oil? Man, I feel old.
            (2) Valve cover? Should our LeMons engine have a valve cover? Maybe that's what we're doing wrong.

          4. Eric Rood Avatar
            Eric Rood

            Should I be worried that you responded to my post on a three-week-old post within 10 minutes?

          5. mdharrell Avatar

            No, I'm sure everything is just fine. Just fine.
            More to the point, had I not caught your response in the "last comments" side column in the minutes before it was displaced, my response wouldn't have occurred at all.

  2. Mike Zaite Avatar
    Mike Zaite

    As usual Eric thanks for the fantastic race coverage!

  3. Manic_King Avatar

    Freezing morning and turtle (R.I.P) on the race track? Turtle story needs also explanation…..

    1. SpiroAgnew76 Avatar

      It looks like PETA will not be endorsing LeMons any time soon…

    2. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      It was apparently a snapping turtle plodding across the track and at some point it froze and, well, retreated into its shell. It didn't get clobbered, but it apparently got nicked just enough to cause a terminal failure, to borrow LeMons lingo. I think a safety truck may have retrieved it, but I never got a full explanation of it.

      1. Racin_G73 Avatar

        There was no safety truck retrieval. I came around turn 10 and saw what looked vaguely like a rag, shop towel or some other piece of decoration laying to the outside of turn 10.
        After a couple passes I recognized that it was in fact roadkill.
        The roadkill slowly was 'moved' and 'dissipated' over the course of the final hour of racing.

  4. LemonAid Racing Avatar
    LemonAid Racing

    Turtle was referred to affectionately as "Turn Ten Turtle" and a moment of silence was observed by the crowd. Quite stirring and most likely something I will not forget in some time. At least until a ground hog is flattened

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      There was also a mouse burial and funeral. Should be in the wrap-up video.

      1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

        There is a picture of it, courtesy of Judge Phil:
        <img src="http://www.murileemartin.com/UG/LMIF14/782-IMG_0329.jpg&quot; width="600">