Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Editorial Assistant
12/22/15 1:44 p.m.
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We just signed up for our next low-buck endurance race endeavor in our project Miata race car. We'll be headed to Barber Motorsports Park for the 'Shine Country Classic, brought to you by the 24 Hours of LeMons on February 6-7.

With our next event just over two months away, we realized that we needed to get the car on track for a shakedown. After all, the little lemon hadn't seen a track since this past February. So we packed up the Miata and a few other project cars and headed off to the Florida International Rally and Motorsports Park in Starke, Florida, to make sure everything was in acceptable shape for the Barber race.

Except for one off-road excursion, the car was trouble-free and actually performed quite well. As a bonus, all four of our registered drivers for the Barber event were present, so everyone enjoyed some seat time to get reacquainted with the car.

We're looking forward to our next event, but before that, we'll need to come up with a good theme to dress up the car.

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Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
12/23/15 12:02 p.m.

How about doing something really different and just racing the car?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/15 12:23 p.m.

I'm with you on that. The themes make it difficult to take this sort of racing seriously. Concentrate on making it crushingly fast and reliable!

NickD
NickD Reader
12/23/15 1:08 p.m.

Agreeing with Keith and Jerry. A silly theme doesn't make a car any more likely to win a race.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
12/23/15 1:49 p.m.

The way I see it, that's kind of the point of LeMons racing----- you don't have to take it all that seriously. This is why Chumpcar, and the World Racing League exist---- for those a little more serious than LeMons. This is also why SCCA and NASA racing exist---- a little more serious than Chumpcar / WRL.

Sometimes winning isn't all that important..... sometimes it's better to enjoy tons of track time, the camaraderie of building / prepping a car and keeping it alive and having........gasp....fun! IMHO, if you are entering a LeMons race and will be pissed if you don't finish up front.......you are doing it wrong. Of course you want to win.....but in LeMons, it really isn't the point---- having fun is.

If you can't have fun without winning---- there's plenty of other places to race.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
12/23/15 2:14 p.m.

What is the point of mounting an over-scale papier mache model of Tim's head on the hood if you end up losing ten mph on the straights? It is still racing. They even call it racing. Otherwise, it's a parade.

The lack of seriousness comes in when your non-safety budget is $500, you race a car that's never had the head off, half your team has very little experience, you invite people to drive or wrench because they're your friends, you rely on cars in the parking lot as a spare parts source, and you're just out there to try your best.

If you're not trying your best, why did you guys spend time perfecting refueling stops or driver changes last time? Why will you bring more brake parts to this race this time?

A wild paint scheme and some funny pit uniforms are one thing. Riveting large appendages on the car creating needless drag (and possibly a hazard should they come off at speed) doesn't make the event any more "festive" to my mind.

I would spend my time creating and perfecting the car so it finishes and is easy to drive for the largest number of drivers. What happens after that is fine as long as it's fun. I'm just not in favor of doing things or spending time slowing down the car more than the limitations of my driving or wrenching.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/23/15 2:15 p.m.

You know what happens when you assume something....

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
12/23/15 4:03 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: You know what happens when you assume something....

So whose papier-mache head will be mounted on the hood, then?

NickD
NickD Reader
12/23/15 4:31 p.m.

In reply to Jerry From LA:

This man speaks da troof.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
12/23/15 10:24 p.m.

Uh, we never said we were gluing anything on the car. We just said we were theming it.

As far as winning, what's better than beating everybody else? Beating everybody else with E36 M3 glued all over your car. That's the definition of overwhelming victory.

codrus
codrus Dork
12/24/15 2:37 a.m.

At least around here, the Lemons events are sufficiently oversubscribed that if you're a new team without a theme then you're unlikely to get a spot at the race.

Klayfish
Klayfish UltraDork
12/24/15 8:43 a.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: The way I see it, that's kind of the point of LeMons racing----- you don't have to take it all that seriously. This is why Chumpcar, and the World Racing League exist---- for those a little more serious than LeMons. This is also why SCCA and NASA racing exist---- a little more serious than Chumpcar / WRL. Sometimes winning isn't all that important..... sometimes it's better to enjoy tons of track time, the camaraderie of building / prepping a car and keeping it alive and having........gasp....fun! IMHO, if you are entering a LeMons race and will be pissed if you don't finish up front.......you are doing it wrong. Of course you want to win.....but in LeMons, it really isn't the point---- having fun is. If you can't have fun without winning---- there's plenty of other places to race.

Amen!!! I just never understand people who trash LeMons because we do theming. I wonder how many of them have ever been on the track in a LeMons race. We race hard, but none of us have illusions that we're the next F1 superstar. Those who do quickly find that LeMons isn't the right place for them to be. We have fun with it. The theming is part of the experience. You make so many friends and have such a good time. But in no way does it take away from racing on the track. Besides, it's an endurance race, not a sprint. Driving fast but smooth and consistent laps is the key to winning.

I mean, E36 M3, we literally race a 17' Seasprite boat mounted onto the chassis of a 20 year old pick up truck. We've had more fun with that thing than you can even imagine. Does the boat body slow it down and is it an aerodynamic nightmare for racing purposes? Hell yes. But if you don't think we've worked our tails off to make it competitive, you're nuts. We race it hard on the track, and were just as happy as any other racing team when it finally won in class.

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
12/24/15 9:42 a.m.

Anybody who badmouths Lemons for themes doesn't get it, plain and simple. It's amazing how much fun you can have when you loosen up! And there's not much more fun in life than a Lemons weekend. Well, they were even more fun prior to the "no stunting no 'sploding" rule but oh well.

novaderrik
novaderrik UltimaDork
12/25/15 7:15 a.m.

how about this for a theme: a professional team that is well organized and doesn't put a bunch of superfluous stuff on the car to make it look silly?

would everyone else "get" that theme, or would everyone else think you were actually a professional and serious team? think about it: it would be performance art of the highest caliber possible within the LeMons framework...

jmh40356
jmh40356 New Reader
12/30/15 4:41 p.m.
Klayfish wrote:
Joe Gearin wrote: The way I see it, that's kind of the point of LeMons racing----- you don't have to take it all that seriously. This is why Chumpcar, and the World Racing League exist---- for those a little more serious than LeMons. This is also why SCCA and NASA racing exist---- a little more serious than Chumpcar / WRL. Sometimes winning isn't all that important..... sometimes it's better to enjoy tons of track time, the camaraderie of building / prepping a car and keeping it alive and having........gasp....fun! IMHO, if you are entering a LeMons race and will be pissed if you don't finish up front.......you are doing it wrong. Of course you want to win.....but in LeMons, it really isn't the point---- having fun is. If you can't have fun without winning---- there's plenty of other places to race.

Amen!!! I just never understand people who trash LeMons because we do theming. I wonder how many of them have ever been on the track in a LeMons race. We race hard, but none of us have illusions that we're the next F1 superstar. Those who do quickly find that LeMons isn't the right place for them to be. We have fun with it. The theming is part of the experience. You make so many friends and have such a good time. But in no way does it take away from racing on the track. Besides, it's an endurance race, not a sprint. Driving fast but smooth and consistent laps is the key to winning.

I mean, E36 M3, we literally race a 17' Seasprite boat mounted onto the chassis of a 20 year old pick up truck. We've had more fun with that thing than you can even imagine. Does the boat body slow it down and is it an aerodynamic nightmare for racing purposes? Hell yes. But if you don't think we've worked our tails off to make it competitive, you're nuts. We race it hard on the track, and were just as happy as any other racing team when it finally won in class.

jmh40356
jmh40356 New Reader
12/30/15 4:43 p.m.

Theres more pro racer running lemons,chump & wrl because just layed back fun

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
12/30/15 7:13 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: how about this for a theme: a professional team that is well organized and doesn't put a bunch of superfluous stuff on the car to make it look silly? would everyone else "get" that theme, or would everyone else think you were actually a professional and serious team? think about it: it would be performance art of the highest caliber possible within the LeMons framework...

Plenty of teams don't theme and try to be as organized and run as hard as possible, and amazingly enough the people that you seem to think less of beat them nine times out of ten. "Slow down to go fast" apparently applies to attitude, too.

Just because there's a pair of googly eyes on the car doesn't mean it's not prepped and driven by a bunch of very capable people. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
12/30/15 7:21 p.m.

LeMons = A party where a race breaks out.

Chump/WRL = A race where a party breaks out.

At the end of the day, these are about getting on the track and getting track time at speed racing wheel to wheel with other amateurs. Much like going to the local karting track and running rental karts. Sure there will be some that take it seriously with their own Karting gear and physical training, etc. the rest will show up in whatever they're wearing and pound a beer or two and go have some fun.

Its just trophies, dash plaques (and occasionally $1500 in change). Don't take it so seriously, go out on track and have fun.

Tyler H
Tyler H SuperDork
12/31/15 8:17 a.m.
novaderrik wrote: how about this for a theme: a professional team that is well organized and doesn't put a bunch of superfluous stuff on the car to make it look silly? would everyone else "get" that theme, or would everyone else think you were actually a professional and serious team? think about it: it would be performance art of the highest caliber possible within the LeMons framework...

The theme is how you get leniency to bring a better car.

You have to bring the right attitude that it's about fun. Otherwise, there's nothing more entertaining that MAKING someone who is too serious have a good time.

And Chumpcar -- peruse their forums and you'll see that Chump is where everyone that was too whiny for SCCA decided to go play.

Both series offer a great value and there's plenty of fun and real racing to be had.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
12/31/15 1:07 p.m.

Very interesting takes on the whole theme thing. Didn't realize having a theme may be the difference between gaining entry and sitting in the stands.

However, the time-challenged potential crapcan runner may just have enough time to fix that rear main seal leak or replace some bushings or any other mechanical malady that might prevent them from finishing.

Also, my point is not to bash people for themes. Someone made that leap in their head a few posts back. I thought , given the way LeMons is going, having a theme-less car would be more unique.

I just don't think a theme-less car is indicative of the "wrong' attitude. If you have six drivers for a car with varying styles and experience levels, it's going to take some work to find a balance everyone can live with. After all, I would think the idea is to drive something fun for 24 hours. If doing that means there's no time for theme-ing, so be it. Doesn't mean they believe for one minute someone will spot their obvious talent and offer them a ride in a paying series. They just don't want to spend time doing that. Maybe they'd rather spend time sorting the car at a track day or autocross so nothing falls off or breaks and becomes hazardous for another driver.

Having the right attitude comes from having the right attitude. It doesn't come from wearing a day-glo tee-shirt with "I HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE" silkscreened on it.

Besides, you can stick a set of googly eyes on your car by reproducing part of an old "Moon Equipped" decal. They don't have to stick out of the car and become a hazard in a shunt.

Klayfish
Klayfish UltraDork
12/31/15 1:40 p.m.
Jerry From LA wrote: Very interesting takes on the whole theme thing. Didn't realize having a theme may be the difference between gaining entry and sitting in the stands. Having the right attitude comes from having the right attitude. It doesn't come from wearing a day-glo tee-shirt with "I HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE" silkscreened on it. Besides, you can stick a set of googly eyes on your car by reproducing part of an old "Moon Equipped" decal. They don't have to stick out of the car and become a hazard in a shunt.

No, from my experience theming isn't likely to be the difference between entry and refusal. You may get less penalty laps at the start if your theme is really fun, or something like that, but there are plenty of cars that show up with minimal or no theme.

I completely agree with you that having the right attitude isn't about the t-shirt you're wearing. There are cars that come with no theme, or an uncreative theme that they never change, but as you state they have the right mental attitude. They're just as much fun to race with and hang with as anyone else. My point is that there are plenty of people who sarcastically dismiss LeMons as a circus simply because we do themes and have a ton of fun with it. No reason we can't theme, have fun, AND race. And besides, you haven't lived until you've driven a car with a dildo for a shifter...

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
12/31/15 2:17 p.m.

As long as the shift boot is shaped like a vagina and the dildo is pointing in the right direction, yah maybe.

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