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Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Editorial Assistant
2/8/16 2:40 p.m.
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They say if you race a car, you have to be willing to walk away from it when it winds up in a wrinkled heap. We didn't expect to exemplify this philosophy so soon.

A week ago our project Miata received a new livery and was set to go racing at Barber Motorsports Park with the 24 Hours of LeMons. After a long trip from Florida to Alabama, we just barely made it to tech inspection on time. We would be racing in "A class"—the fastest of the three classes at LeMons races—with zero penalty laps. We were confident that with efficient pit stops we would have a top-5 car this year.

Sure enough, as our first driver finished his 2-hour stint we were pleased to be perched in fourth place. After a quick stop for fuel and a fresh body behind the wheel, we jumped to second place. Another fuel stop and driver change pushed us back down to fourth, but we were still in the thick of it. We were trying new consumables at this event, running Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R tires and Winmax W4 brake pads. We were especially impressed by the new tires—in fact, we don't think there's a better track tire over the 200 treadwear-rating line. And the Winmax pads were performing exceptionally as well. We really had a great setup.

Unfortunately, that's when it all went wrong. In the thick of a three-car battle with a Porsche 944 and another car, our third driver crested the hill just after turn 12, only to be met by a terrifying sight: Team NSF's Corvette-powered Nash was sitting dead in the middle of the track. We plowed about 4 feet into the trunk of the Nash—we actually speared far enough in to break their differential and bend their rear suspension—while simultaneously being rear-ended by the 944. The combined impact of the two sports cars managed to flip the Nash onto its roof. Think for a minute about the force required to do that.

The carnage suffered by our car was some of the worst we've seen at any event, but thankfully we hadn't skimped on safety equipment. The whole drivetrain may have been moved 4 inches backward, and the car may have been significantly shortened, but our driver escaped with only some residual soreness. Let's all stop here and appreciate the effectiveness of head-and-neck restraint systems. Praise be to safety equipment.

After a flatbed trip back to the paddock, we jokingly asked the crowd of shocked competitors surrounding the car if anyone needed some Miata parts. To our surprise, three of our paddock neighbors sheepishly raised their hands. Their Miata had also been knocked out of the race, but all they needed to mend was a bent control arm. We told them that if they could pull one out of ours, they could have it—after all, we weren't going to be using it anytime soon. After some sawing and hammering, they managed to remove a straight control arm from our car and graft it into their own Miata. So our car did not die in vain!

So what to do now? Well, there's no way we can use this particular roadster again for racing, but we'll salvage what we can. As for our next LeMons car, we have something more interesting planned—but we'll keep you in suspense until we begin the project.

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Read the rest of the story

NickD
NickD HalfDork
2/8/16 2:48 p.m.

No photos of the Nash on it's roof? Pity.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Editorial Assistant
2/8/16 3:17 p.m.

We couldn't see the wreck from our vantage point, but apparently someone else could. Behold the inverted Nash.

Source.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce PowerDork
2/8/16 3:43 p.m.

The Nash looks repairable in pictures I've seen. The driver gets a one year ban for getting punted on her roof. Such is racing.
Very glad all the safety equipment was present and functional.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
2/8/16 9:15 p.m.

That Nash finally fits the bathtub moniker.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
2/9/16 7:36 a.m.

I have read the LeMon's rules regarding the inverted car suspension. I think it is a good rule for what it is intended.

And while I could wonder about the Nash being in the middle of the track and stopped scenario, I have to ask if the roll-over rule should it really apply in this case? Technically the driver had no input into the roll-over since the car was stationary.

This was more of a flagging glitch.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
2/9/16 7:57 a.m.

This is a testament to the safety inspections and prep work for these races. Folks mock Lemons, but really, it's real racing and real incidents can and do happen. I am super glad, but not amazed, that everyone walked away from what could be a fatal accident if cars had PVC cages and cruddy belts.

Neat that the Miata got to live on! Good work, guys. It sucks, but it makes for a good article featuring the safety features and the aftermath of the three cars. Don't skimp on safety!

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
2/9/16 8:01 a.m.
NOHOME wrote: I have read the LeMon's rules regarding the inverted car suspension. I think it is a good rule for what it is intended. And while I could wonder about the Nash being in the middle of the track and stopped scenario, I have to ask if the roll-over rule should it really apply in this case? Technically the driver had no input into the roll-over since the car was stationary. This was more of a flagging glitch.

I don't believe that rule has ever been overturned (ha!) for any reason. I think it is trying to speak to the seriousness of the accident, giving such a severe punishment makes people think about what to do to avoid it.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
2/9/16 2:42 p.m.

So, uh, this showed up in our parking lot this morning.

NSF racing–you're awesome. You really didn't have to give us a Miata. We tried to pay for it, but the team wouldn't take any money. Heck, it was all we could do to get him to take a T-Shirt.

Let the build commence!

RedGT
RedGT Reader
2/9/16 3:03 p.m.
tuna55 wrote: I don't believe that rule has ever been overturned (ha!) for any reason. I think it is trying to speak to the seriousness of the accident, giving such a severe punishment makes people think about what to do to avoid it.

I have always thought that was a very good rule. No ifs, ands or buts. If you are upside down, you're done for a year. Not forever, just for a year. So don't end up upside down. And in this case, ya know what, choosing the runoff area to the left or right rather than letting the car die on the track surface would have resulted in not-being-upside-down.

dyintorace
dyintorace UberDork
2/9/16 3:10 p.m.
RedGT wrote:
tuna55 wrote: I don't believe that rule has ever been overturned (ha!) for any reason. I think it is trying to speak to the seriousness of the accident, giving such a severe punishment makes people think about what to do to avoid it.

I have always thought that was a very good rule. No ifs, ands or buts. If you are upside down, you're done for a year. Not forever, just for a year. So don't end up upside down. And in this case, ya know what, choosing the runoff area to the left or right rather than letting the car die on the track surface would have resulted in not-being-upside-down.

I've never raced Lemons, so this isn't a sarcastic or rhetorical question. Does the upside down rule apply if a car is taken out by a competitor? For instance, I'm racing and take the proper line into a corner. Another competitor dive bombs me on the inside, hits my rear passenger side wheel, spins me off track where my wheels, now sideways, dig into the dirt and my car flips. I'm the one who gets banned for a year?

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
2/9/16 3:29 p.m.

In reply to dyintorace:

Yes.

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
2/9/16 4:12 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: NSF racing–you're awesome. You really didn't have to give us a Miata. We tried to pay for it, but the team wouldn't take any money. Heck, it was all we could do to get him to take a T-Shirt. Let the build commence!

They're great people. I've raced with them before. The 1959 (?) Ford Victoria. 272 Y-head V8 with 3-on-the-tree. 4 wheel drum brakes. The car did not so much "race" as "amble," but I still had fun and enjoyed the company and the weekend.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
2/9/16 4:21 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: In reply to dyintorace: Yes.

I interpret it the same way.

And with a bit of time to ponder it, it kinda makes sense in that it also plants the seed to maybe leave a little margin so you do not become the dickhead that got someone else banned.

I think the LeMons organizers are trying to say you can have a lot of fun with your crappy cars at 8/10ths rather than trying for 10/10; nobody here is moving to F1.

hobiercr
hobiercr Dork
2/9/16 4:22 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: NSF racing–you're awesome. You really didn't have to give us a Miata. We tried to pay for it, but the team wouldn't take any money. Heck, it was all we could do to get him to take a T-Shirt.

I concur. The NSF crew are really awesome people and LOVE to have a good time. I had the opportunity to drive their Sebring at Sebring and they were a cool bunch to meet and race with.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
2/9/16 4:27 p.m.
NOHOME wrote:
Toyman01 wrote: In reply to dyintorace: Yes.

I interpret it the same way.

And with a bit of time to ponder it, it kinda makes sense in that it also plants the seed to maybe leave a little margin so you do not become the dickhead that got someone else banned.

I think the LeMons organizers are trying to say you can have a lot of fun with your crappy cars at 8/10ths rather than trying for 10/10; nobody here is moving to F1.

Per Judge Phil in a relevant thread on the Lemons forum, "There are no gray areas here, so you trackside lawyers can cease and desist. If a car rolls over (i.e., past 90 degrees), whoever was driving is done for the season, regardless of "fault.""

russian
russian New Reader
2/9/16 5:56 p.m.

Lemons is a "both parties at fault" racing series: if you are involved in a collision, you are at fault. Regardless of your role in said collision.

codrus
codrus Dork
2/9/16 6:11 p.m.
russian wrote: Lemons is a "both parties at fault" racing series: if you are involved in a collision, you are at fault. Regardless of your role in said collision.

Yeah, but if you punt someone off-track, making them roll while you stay upright, you can get away with a 5 minute delay in the pits (if you haven't been black flagged too many times already) while the other car is done for the race and the other driver gets a 1 year suspension.

grafmiata
grafmiata SuperDork
2/9/16 6:25 p.m.
codrus wrote:
russian wrote: Lemons is a "both parties at fault" racing series: if you are involved in a collision, you are at fault. Regardless of your role in said collision.

Yeah, but if you punt someone off-track, making them roll while you stay upright, you can get away with a 5 minute delay in the pits (if you haven't been black flagged too many times already) while the other car is done for the race and the other driver gets a 1 year suspension.

While I've never raced LeMons, I understand the intent behind this rule. Yes, it is crap-can racing, but it is still racing. However, most of the people involved have a job that they need to show up for on Monday.

Sometimes people may forget this, and try too hard. Sometimes, everyone involved in an incident may do all they can to avoid said incident, but E36 M3 still happens.

It sucks that the driver of the Nash is facing a 1-year ban, but if you sign up, you accept that risk. Just like the GRM team would rather not have ended up with a 3-foot long Miata. But they knew, and accepted, that this was a potential outcome.

jimbbski
jimbbski Dork
2/9/16 6:35 p.m.

I agree with you on this. It's the one thing that I don't like about Lemons. Punish the guy/gal that's at fault. Although in this case the car (Which was sloooow) should not even have been allowed to race. Things I like to see in Lemons is a 120% rule. That is if your lap time is over 120% of the top 10% of the cars running then you have to drop out as you're a hazard/rolling chacane!

The problem is Lemons glories in having these "oddball" cars in their races. The class race winners are hardly ever mentioned in the video wrap ups posted on YouTube. The "losers" are, who are winners of their various judges choice awards . Winning an enduro, any enduro race is hard and should be acknowledged but not in Lemons.

codrus
codrus Dork
2/9/16 6:38 p.m.
grafmiata wrote: Sometimes people may forget this, and try too hard. Sometimes, everyone involved in an incident may do all they can to avoid said incident, but E36 M3 still happens. It sucks that the driver of the Nash is facing a 1-year ban, but if you sign up, you accept that risk. Just like the GRM team would rather not have ended up with a 3-foot long Miata. But they knew, and accepted, that this was a potential outcome.

I don't think anyone's alleging a contractual obligation, clearly Lemons has the right to do this. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's right or that the rules are immune to criticism.

Generally speaking I believe that applying rules with "zero tolerance", mandating punishments with no allowance for human judgement about justice, fairness, or balance is a bad idea.

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
2/9/16 7:22 p.m.
jimbbski wrote: I agree with you on this. It's the one thing that I don't like about Lemons. Punish the guy/gal that's at fault. Although in this case the car (Which was sloooow) should not even have been allowed to race. Things I like to see in Lemons is a 120% rule. That is if your lap time is over 120% of the top 10% of the cars running then you have to drop out as you're a hazard/rolling chacane! The problem is Lemons glories in having these "oddball" cars in their races. The class race winners are hardly ever mentioned in the video wrap ups posted on YouTube. The "losers" are, who are winners of their various judges choice awards . Winning an enduro, any enduro race is hard and should be acknowledged but not in Lemons.

Huh? No offense, but do you run LeMons? Accidents more than just "rubbin' is racing" are fairly rare. When they do happen, the overwhelming majority of the time it has nothing to do with the difference in speed of class C vs class A. It has everything to do with red mist, bigger balls than brains, not looking ahead or some combination thereof. Putting in a rule like a 120% rule would pretty much ruin LeMons. The top 10% of cars speed wise are pretty darn fast. Not everyone could build a car capable of keeping up with those cars, and even if the car is capable very often the driver is not.

LeMons is as much about having fun as it is about racing. That's why the wrap up videos talk about some non-class winning cars. Trust me, teams take a ton of pride in winning their class and go to great lengths to try. Hell, we took 11 or 12 tries with "the boat" to win class C and we were thrilled as E36 M3 to do it. But it's also fun to hear about the "heroic fix" or "I got screwed" stories. Doesn't diminish the racing, just keeps it light hearted. I've gotten to drive fast class A cars all the way down to those "slow" IOE cars. They're all fun. Besides, how many people can say they've driven a boat, a Rolls Royce and a Citroen SM on a race track?

dyintorace
dyintorace UberDork
2/9/16 7:30 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote:
NOHOME wrote:
Toyman01 wrote: In reply to dyintorace: Yes.

I interpret it the same way.

And with a bit of time to ponder it, it kinda makes sense in that it also plants the seed to maybe leave a little margin so you do not become the dickhead that got someone else banned.

I think the LeMons organizers are trying to say you can have a lot of fun with your crappy cars at 8/10ths rather than trying for 10/10; nobody here is moving to F1.

Per Judge Phil in a relevant thread on the Lemons forum, "There are no gray areas here, so you trackside lawyers can cease and desist. If a car rolls over (i.e., past 90 degrees), whoever was driving is done for the season, regardless of "fault.""

Very interesting. Thanks for the insight.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
2/9/16 7:48 p.m.
Klayfish wrote:
jimbbski wrote: I agree with you on this. It's the one thing that I don't like about Lemons. Punish the guy/gal that's at fault. Although in this case the car (Which was sloooow) should not even have been allowed to race. Things I like to see in Lemons is a 120% rule. That is if your lap time is over 120% of the top 10% of the cars running then you have to drop out as you're a hazard/rolling chacane! The problem is Lemons glories in having these "oddball" cars in their races. The class race winners are hardly ever mentioned in the video wrap ups posted on YouTube. The "losers" are, who are winners of their various judges choice awards . Winning an enduro, any enduro race is hard and should be acknowledged but not in Lemons.

Huh? No offense, but do you run LeMons? Accidents more than just "rubbin' is racing" are fairly rare. When they do happen, the overwhelming majority of the time it has nothing to do with the difference in speed of class C vs class A. It has everything to do with red mist, bigger balls than brains, not looking ahead or some combination thereof. Putting in a rule like a 120% rule would pretty much ruin LeMons. The top 10% of cars speed wise are pretty darn fast. Not everyone could build a car capable of keeping up with those cars, and even if the car is capable very often the driver is not.

LeMons is as much about having fun as it is about racing. That's why the wrap up videos talk about some non-class winning cars. Trust me, teams take a ton of pride in winning their class and go to great lengths to try. Hell, we took 11 or 12 tries with "the boat" to win class C and we were thrilled as E36 M3 to do it. But it's also fun to hear about the "heroic fix" or "I got screwed" stories. Doesn't diminish the racing, just keeps it light hearted. I've gotten to drive fast class A cars all the way down to those "slow" IOE cars. They're all fun. Besides, how many people can say they've driven a boat, a Rolls Royce and a Citroen SM on a race track?

Preach it brother

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
2/9/16 8:26 p.m.

I think people should realize that if they don't like the rules that the hosts of the lemons party impose then they don't have to be part of it.

Same goes for this forum. Don't abide by our hosts rules you will be asked to leave.

No different than NASCAR, SCCA, Indy car or any other sanctioning body. Play by there rules or go play some where else.

I have been partaking in motorsports for 30+ years and it is my opinion that it is the only way that any kind of control can be maintained.

As a crew chief I was subject to all kinds of "punishments" for things you could argue I had no control over but in the end it was the rule that I was the one to be penalized.

The way I got over it was to look at it as a team penalty that the sanctioning body just needed to put a name to. Kind of the same for the Nash driver. Although the driver gets the year vacation the team also looses a driver (and team participant) for a year. I am sure that the team is re thinking things as well. I know that if I was the crew chief of the Nash team I would be very upset with my self for putting a team member in that situation. A really tough pill to swallow as a crew chief but it goes with the title.

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