Racing Our Yellow LeMon at Barber

Update by Alan Cesar to the Mazda Miata - Sunburst Yellow project car
Feb 4, 2014

Barber is a beautiful facility and an incredibly fun track.
When we spotted a Chrysler Cordoba—sans Corinthian leather—at tech, we knew we were in the right place.
An inside source told us it was Judge Phil's birthday, so we bribed him with a birthday cake. We also sang the Happy Birthday song, but were so off-key that we couldn't possibly be asked to pay royalties.
The OK Speed team is run by one of our message board regulars: Mental. We traded paint with one of his drivers, prompting a campaign to stop Miata-on-Miata violence.
By the end of the weekend, we were very familiar with this scene.
No paint trading with the Gambling Rehab CRX, but we did spend probably a dozen laps—maybe more—racing bumper to bumper and side by side until we both had to pit for fuel. They finished 27th.
John Hammer, one of the drivers of the One Lap Jeep Grand Cherokee featured in our magazine, was also there. He drove the Boondoggle Racing Civic. Their team ended the race in 14th.
Barber Motorsports Park has great places to watch the racing action from.
Saturday's racing ended dry and warm.
One of the midwest teams we've seen before: Flying Pigs Racing's Mustang is fast and beautiful—in a LeMonsy way, of course.
We tried EFS Combust in our engine. One driver said it made a difference, but one thing we know for sure: It didn't blow up.
After some wheel-to-wheel contact, Johnny brought the wheels and tires from his V8 Miata. They're a bit wider than ours, so we had to roll the fenders a bit.
The racing is as good as the themes people bring.
Contact with other cars wiped out our side mirrors. We mounted these Longacre cage-mount mirrors to the fender, JDM style. We highly recommend this setup.
We parked our cars side by side for a little photo op to show off the damage from our little crash after the OK Speed car spun.
The Class C and Index of Effluency trophies went to the Knoxvegas Lowballers. Their SVT Contour-powered, mid-engined Geo Metro wore a beautiful Smokey and the Bandit truck theme.

Our excursion to Barber Motorsports Park this weekend was both fun and exhausting. We arrived to a chilly but warming Birmingham, Alabama not long after the area had seen low temperatures in the teens and large (for the south) amounts of snow. There was still some snow on roadsides and ice on the road entering the facility.

The mood in the paddock, though, was the usual revelry and good spirits (of both kinds) that you’d expect in the 24 Hours of LeMons. This was the series’ first event at Barber Motorsports Park, and everyone marveled at the manicured and well appointed facility as much as they did the detailed theme work on their competitors’ cars—in particular that of the fabulous Knoxvegas Lowballers. They brought their SVT Contour-powered, mid-engined Geo Metro with an impeccable Smokey and the Bandit theme. They added smokestacks, a huge grille and a trailer-like box to it, making the car an homage to the movie. Their teammates even donned costumes, one wearing a wedding dress, another sporting a mustache worthy of Burt Reynolds.

Once the race began, we were out to impressive results: 8th place! Tragedy struck early in a poorly executed pit stop, dropping us into the 20s, and it was downhill from there. Stepping on our own hootuses earned us more slow pit stops and several black flags throughout the weekend. One of these was with the OK Speed team, run by TTAC’s Christian “Mental” Ward—with whom we had an imaginary auto journalist mini-competition. One of OK Speed’s drivers spun, and Johnny, our driver from OG Racing, ended up scraping doors with their Miata. We finished the race in 38th overall, a mere four spots from the top half of the standings. OK Speed ended up with cooling system problems that nuked the cylinder head, and their sufficiently shadetree repair earned them a Heroic Fix trophy.

We have a list of tweaks, upgrades and repairs to conduct on the Miata—but the main fault, dear Brutus, is not in our car, but in ourselves. We’re hoping for cleaner driving next race.

For a full race recap, check in with The Rusty Hub or Murilee Martin.

Hearty thanks go to our car’s sponsors: BFGoodrich, Flyin’ Miata, Treasure Coast Miata, Sbox Engineering, The FIRM, AutoSport Labs.

Big thanks also to The 24 Hours of LeMons, OG Racing and EFS Combust.

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