alex
alex Dork
2/22/10 11:38 a.m.

There's talk among myself, my father and a cousin of fielding a LeMons team, to debut at the TX race and possibly others in the season. I are a LeMons noob. Where to start (aside from the LeMons home page and the rule book, that is)?

aircooled
aircooled SuperDork
2/22/10 11:42 a.m.

Well, if you are running in Texas, I would recommend a pickup truck, with a nice big gun rack in the rear window (that is, a pair of boobs with a gun mounted on it).

You are going to need a theme.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku HalfDork
2/22/10 11:43 a.m.

Start with a car that runs good, or at least a good driveline and body you can put together. Learn to weld if you can't already.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks SuperDork
2/22/10 11:56 a.m.

Alex,

Talk to me about my pair of civics...

'88 DX Hatch with a good engine (And I think a clutch/input shaft problem now). '89 4 door with custom ventilated block to use for spares spares (front clip, cv axles, brakes, suspension parts, engine accessories, etc.). We've even got the beginnings of a cage (a bolt in rollbar for the next generation civic that we were going to use as the basis for a full cage...). Heck, the hatch even has an aluminum dirttrack seat bolted to the sliders.

The hatch ran fine in the field until the clutch just quit working one day. Both cars have straight bodies (like "It's a shame to tear these cars up" kinda straight).

I started amassing this pile for Lemons before the realities of divorce, parenthood, and races that were too far away took hold (yes, I had to race reality and get these things before I thought better). Now that there are close-by races, reality has a hold on me and I'm ready to move them along.

And why Tejas...MAM is on the schedule right up near Omaha...or the chicagoland one is even closer for you...right?

Clem

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
2/22/10 12:02 p.m.

Jalopnik would probably be one of your best sources of info... one of their editors is a judge at the least and may have been one of the original instigators.

Jalopnik - lemons-tagged articles

Somewhere in the depths of that is a "how to avoid penalty laps" article. The only thing I really remember from it was a domestic small-block will get you a LOT of laps, as they'll assume it's bored/stroked out as much as it can be.

alex
alex Dork
2/22/10 12:09 p.m.
ClemSparks wrote: And why Tejas...MAM is on the schedule right up near Omaha...or the chicagoland one is even closer for you...right?

Texas only because my cousin and two of the drivers are down there. Majority rules. And, you know, Dallas in June is really lovely. If all goes well, I'd hope to at least hit Omaha and Chicago, in addition to Houston in Sept. Grand plans, I know.

And we will likely talk soon about your Civics.

poopshovel
poopshovel SuperDork
2/22/10 12:15 p.m.

+1 on Jalopnik. You'll find LOTS of useful 'insider' info there (i.e., tips from the judges/organizers.) And hey, how bout that big GRM article!!!???

"What car" really depends on your goals.

IMO: If you just want to go out and have fun, pick whatever car is FREE or damned near.

If you want to win the "race" portion, it's got to be dead nuts reliable; and I'd suggest having something somewhat comfortable that you've got good general knowledge of/a basement full of parts for. The goal isn't to get fastest lap every lap. The goal is to avoid penalties, pit stops, and mechanical failure. You've got to be able to sit out there and crack off lap after lap after lap after lap to have any shot at winning.

If you're going for the "Index of Effluency" (the REAL winners) go with something off the friggin wall that's got absolutely no chance of winning. Think "A big freakin' rusty boat that's going to be in everyone's way, but maintains the race line and doesn't cause problems." I'm looking forward to going this route at some point.

Our CRX was fast as berkeley, but not at all reliable. Sadly, rough times forced the sale of the Obamination. $400. Including cage, brakes, 6 decent azenis, etc. Ugh.

JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
2/22/10 12:49 p.m.

As the event grows the real competition is starting before the race. The competition to even be accepted to an event.

The wierder the car you bring the better you chance of acceptace. Being the only Peugot in a stack of E30 and Miata applications will stand out and get you in :)

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition New Reader
2/22/10 1:52 p.m.

I just finished a drive here at the Houston LeMons.

The first thing to get right is attitude. Go to have fun. Take it as a challenge to get a crappy car to last the whole race, regardless of finishing. Take it all with a big helping of humor. If you go to try to win a "fair" race and to keep your dignity, you are going to be disappointed and bitter. There is absolutely nothing fair about LeMons, and I think the organizers will admit that.

Penalty laps are arbitrary (bribes happily taken), punishments for infractions are humiliating, completely arbitrary in their application, and are doled out to the innocent and guilty alike. The field includes more cheats than a country western song. That includes the team that comes in first (let's not call them "winners" for argument's sake).

I've known a couple of guys that have quit during the race. One because he had to blow up a blow-up doll with a hole in it for an infraction he didn't think he committed. The second left the track for a similar reason. Both of these guys missed the point.

Also, realize that your pocket is going to get picked. The organizers get at least $1000 per entry, and that's before they gig you $50 each for a worthless LeMons license (they no longer accept licenses from other racing organizations, and the only requirement to get theirs is that you fog a mirror and hand over 50 bucks). Well, it isn't quite worthless. If you happen to enter another LeMons race within 12 months they don't gig you on it again.

If I were you I'd try to find a LeMons car that has already been prepared. While the initial car is cheap it is a lot of work to prep the car and a major expense to put in all of the safety equipment, upgrade the brakes, etc., etc. There were a couple of LeMons cars available in the Texas area recently for less than $1500, which is pretty good for a car you know has already survived and has all the right stuff on it.

Good luck! Have fun. I did.

poopshovel
poopshovel SuperDork
2/22/10 1:55 p.m.
Both of these guys missed the point.

Indeed.

turboswede
turboswede SuperDork
2/22/10 2:35 p.m.

Don't forget about ChumpCar as an alternative.

http://www.chumpcar.com

Texas Motor Speedway, June 19-20, 2010

Harris Hill Road (San Marcos, TX), November 13-14, 2010

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition New Reader
2/22/10 2:39 p.m.

Oh, and another thing.

DO NOT SKIMP ON SAFETY EQUIPMENT! Sorry to shout, but it is important. There were a least four cars that tested the strength of their roll cages by going upside down this past weekend. There were untold numbers that hit each other or tire walls.

There was at least one that burned up. The judges said they had three or four cars burn up at the prior race.

Prepare your car like you expect it to get hit, roll and burn. The chances are that it just might. Have a professional build your cage out of the right materials. The rules only require a handheld fire extinguisher in the car, but consider adding a full system with nozzles.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
2/22/10 2:44 p.m.

Ever heard 'I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out?', Well, LeMons is 'I went to a party and an endurance race broke out'.

Anyway, I recommend looking for something that runs good but has been hit. Gut it, stick a cage and seat in it and off you go. Try to avoid automatics, they do not last well. If you can't find something with a manual, then use the biggest frickin' trans cooler you can find, like an old A/C condenser.

Big V8 cars make good power which is fun to use but they slurp fuel and eat up brakes, meaning more pit time.

poopshovel
poopshovel SuperDork
2/23/10 8:44 a.m.

Oh yeah. Speaking of, run really really good pads....and ducting. Seriously.

Oh. And bring a hoist. This is not a hoist.

Oh, and when your buddy's like "Hey, I'll bring my psycho maniac drunk kid with me. He'll 'help.'" Say "no."

kreb
kreb Dork
2/23/10 8:52 a.m.

So given that many entries are not accepted, what are the odds that you'll spend a bunch of time and a bit of $$$$ on a machine that's all dressed up and no place to go?

tuna55
tuna55 HalfDork
2/23/10 9:47 a.m.

As others said:

Get something running

Get something that you're comfortable with and familiar with

Get something entertaining from some aspect. If you want to be interesting, get something that nobody knows about.

There is no magic bullet - the car really doesn't matter much to finish reasonably well.

JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
2/23/10 9:51 a.m.
kreb wrote: So given that many entries are not accepted, what are the odds that you'll spend a bunch of time and a bit of $$$$ on a machine that's all dressed up and no place to go?

If that machine is an e30 a miata or something else boring or you have no sense of humor or a good theme then the chances are pretty good you could be sitting it out.

Bring something french, an AMC product, a studebaker, or anything along those lines and just sit back and wait for your accpetance letter.

Many teams actually wait until they get accpetance to finish the expensive stuff (cage) but with 20 races a year and copycat events popping up all around the country you can most likely use the car somewhere if you dont get accepted into the Lemons race of your choice.

kreb
kreb Dork
2/23/10 10:30 a.m.
JThw8 wrote: with 20 races a year and copycat events popping up all around the country you can most likely use the car somewhere if you dont get accepted into the Lemons race of your choice.

A couple of ideas:

-If one could get it past the environmentalists to gain the use of a dry lakebed, one could theoretically have a huge gathering with nobody turned away. You could also throw in some more cool-yet-dubious events like top speed and circle track events.

-Although I've been slow to embrace the "ghetto" aspect of Lemons, I have to say that it'd be fun to have a bunch of roached-out Lemons cars invade a local autocross or three.

Martyr_of_Mayhem
Martyr_of_Mayhem
2/23/10 11:59 a.m.
kreb wrote: So given that many entries are not accepted, what are the odds that you'll spend a bunch of time and a bit of $$$$ on a machine that's all dressed up and no place to go?

It is true that many teams aren't accepted. If you want into and event you don't need to 70s Citroen, you just need to be out of your mind ridiculous with the theme and have the right attitude. Remember the Lemon is not about winning the race, so don't go with the attitude that you must win the race, just go to have fun racing.

I'm doing the Lemon to have a reason to build something that falls under the "Why not" argument. Check it out at http://metroneige.blogspot.com

alex
alex Dork
2/23/10 12:09 p.m.
Martyr_of_Mayhem wrote: I'm doing the Lemon to have a reason to build something that falls under the "Why not" argument. Check it out at http://metroneige.blogspot.com

A two stroke Metro swap. That's my kinda crazy.

Martyr_of_Mayhem
Martyr_of_Mayhem New Reader
2/23/10 3:18 p.m.
alex wrote:
Martyr_of_Mayhem wrote: I'm doing the Lemon to have a reason to build something that falls under the "Why not" argument. Check it out at http://metroneige.blogspot.com

A two stroke Metro swap. That's my kinda crazy.

Yes, but I'm a little crazy to start with.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition New Reader
2/24/10 9:28 a.m.
It is true that many teams aren't accepted.

Where? The Texas event had room for 140 and 125 showed up. I don't think that anyone was turned away.

I expect that some of the smaller venues might have more limited entries, but that might be at specific tracks.

JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
2/24/10 9:43 a.m.
Basil Exposition wrote:
It is true that many teams aren't accepted.

Where? The Texas event had room for 140 and 125 showed up. I don't think that anyone was turned away.

I expect that some of the smaller venues might have more limited entries, but that might be at specific tracks.

True, it varies from venue to venue, the cali events especially usually see quite a few teams getting waitlisted. CMP may be getting to that point too.

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