WDMS Chapter 152

THE THIRD LeMONS TEXAS RACE REPORT...

(it's like we actually LIKE this stuff....sheesh....)

October 2009

 

Like a bad case of athlete's foot, this cheap-car racing just won't die. We have a new (to us) car and another semi-almost-willing participant.  I've got a plethora of pictures to share, so please don't expect them to follow the story or even make sense. Like a car hitting black ice at 80mph, just sit back and enjoy the ride...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costas: "You came in THAT thing? You're braver than I thought....." (SW reference for mah fellow nerds)

Anna's Judging outfit

Costas fixing something. Anna and Chris supervising. 


(The little red car covering the rear wheels on the bus thing)

Above and below: Pit stop action. Chris did the cool helmet-matches-car-hood theme!

New pads vs Saturday pads...

Gameface

Say, I think there is a car out there that isn't quite taking the correct line...

All three first gen Rx-7s in this pic...and we are the one in front of the other two....passing a mustake II on the inside

Enough Pics, the story according to Anna:

YeeHaw – LeMons October 2009

FRIDAY 10/23

0621 – Leaving the house and heading to the track.  Early morning drive with a beautiful sunrise.  Our LeMons car should be loaded and leaving the shop at approximately 0700.

0839 – Arrival at MSR.  Long line starting to form at entry.  Pit space starting to fill up.  Dodge parked in corner spot close to track entrance (where we parked at the first LeMons event).  The only problem is, someone is taking up a ton of space by spreading out their tent, car, bus and tow dolly.  Should be enough room for Chris’ truck and trailer….so I thought.  Call into Chris.  The car hasn’t left yet, he’s about 3’ish hours away….and he’s towing a 53’ open trailer!  Errr, not enough space where parked….don’t want to be back in the sticks, must find space.

0900 – Track is hot for practice laps.….and the car has yet to leave for MSR.

1030 – Space found.  Thank to Team Miagra and ____.  They were kind enough to move some vehicles around and cleared a space that may fit the 53’ trailer.  There was also another team that knew Chris that were nice enough to park their truck in the space to save it until he arrived.  Still waiting on the car’s arrival.  Soon.

1100 – Checked in with Jay and crew.  I’d be working tech.  I had not made this public knowledge.  I got outfitted in my staff shirt and started to pre-tech the cars in line.  This was good because it took my mind off of the arrival of our car.  Working tech is pretty fun. I was only checking seats, seatbelts, fire extinguishers, rollbar padding, numbers and some other random things.  Time passed by quickly, I got to mingle and meet a ton of the drivers.  It’s amazing the number of people that will try to bribe their way through the safety checks.  That and the balls that some people have….yeah, you really don’t want to try to disagree with me if I tell you you NEED to bring something up to inspection or try to grope me if I grope your car.

1530 – car arrived.  Time to take off the staff T and slip into BS judging gear.  We kind of had a ‘driving while oriental’ theme going.  Chris would wear the crazy asian outfit,  I would be dressed up as a BS judge.  I was originally slotted to do that for the day but decided to do real tech instead.  So….we roll through safety tech with little issue.  Now BS judging is another story….so our theme…well, kind of had a ‘driving while oriental’ theme but the official team name was bikiniracer’s men of LeMons, lol.  Thank goodness we didn’t make DWO the official team  name because when the car rolled through judging, with Chris dressed in asian eyes, bad dress and purple hair…the judges were so ‘offended’ that we were making fun of bad asian drivers, that they didn’t even look at the car.  Instead, I had to go grab Nick, one of the LeMons crew guys (who is also asian) and bring him over to see if he thought this theme was ‘offensive’.  He chuckled, agreed and we passed. And I didn't even have to break out the outfit for judging, thank goodness, lol. Well, with 0 laps and tech out of the way time to go eat dinner....

See, Home Depot had a sale on switchboxes and, well....

They also had a sale on window AC units so we built this cold-air-intake...

SATURDAY

0600 - wakey wakey eggs and bakey....well, not so much...more like defrosted waffle and orange juice...that is motel continental breakfast.  time to load up the truck, grab the fuel and get to the track. 

0730 - gates open. time to dress the car and get it ready.  0830 - gary is here, our smooth operator on the radios (thanks for coming out again gary!)

0945 - drivers meeting.

1030 - track goes hot - Paul is out first. Goes fine, stays on track, passes a lot. Later Chris goes out. Chris gets a black flag for passing under yellow....really?!...yes, so...into the penalty box we go......the Bart Simpson penalty.....find some sharpies and write 100 times "i will not pass under yellow".  that's usually the part that kills the most time....finding the markers.  luckily i remembered from working tech that we had a whole bunch of them in the tech sheet box.  so.....asking nicely to the guys if i could borrow them (but must return all of them), i had scored our markers.  props to the team for breaking it into numbered sections and only keeping us off the track for a short amount of time.  back on the track - 4th driver in car. 

A fine display of handwriting skills...

1300 - Chris gets another black flag for going 4 off....car was losing power and off he went.  so, the car comes back into the penalty box. Chris tells them that the reason he went off was because the car had issues....so our penalty....go fix it and come back and explain why it was losing power and why.  back to the pits, car fixed.  i run back to tech to explain and see if we could bypass having to bring the car back up there (hence, saving time and getting back on track).  mission accomplished....jay says 'ok, no need to bring it back up...get back out there'.  sweet!

1800 - day is done! the car is still alive!  time to wrench on the car or at least assess the damage of all day driving.  brake pads came off - and yeah - new ones were very much needed.  blown apart muffler - need to tie that back together.  so the car would backfire each time it came back to the trailer and was turned off....it was pretty humorous to watch the people pitted behind it jump because it was so loud!

SUNDAY

0600 - wakey wakey....heh...ok for me at least.  let the boys sleep for another 15.
0615 - alright....time to get up....Paul, NO, you can't have another 5 min....
0630 - loaded and time to refuel the jugs.

Anna taking the green

I'd be starting the race today. Hmm, me out in 'i can totally fix this heap of crap and have it running in the morning' traffic. Paul's idea. And away we go. We are currently in 34th place. Not too bad for having fueling issues and black flag penalties (Chris!) So, my goal was to drive decently fast and clean. Chris would come on during the parade laps to instruct me on course. Heh, that lasted about 5 minutes. Green flag! Go!! Trucking along and then I get hit on the back straight! Now most people would get nervous when this happens, I thought it was pretty neat. #9 car, hits my front drivers side wheel and quarter panel, bounces left and then speeds up and hits off the drivers side of the car in front of me. Heh, I think I did pass him on the straight before he pulled off track to assess damage. Doing good, almost done with my little stint, then Paul's the next driver. Last lap. And then it happens... Coming into an s turn over a bump, cutting it too narrow, or as Paul would say 'ran out of talent'. Yeah, so the car fishtails left, then right, then 360s. 2 off. Crap! Think fast, traffic coming. Start the car and get the heck outta there. All I remember is getting back into it, Gary on radio saying 'nice job' and the car going in and out of power as I pull into the pits and head towards the penalty box. 

Anna telling lies...

The guys tell me to claim my fault, ok. Up come the judges and jay. They want to think of a good penalty...I ask if they can just penalize me...they laugh and say 'no Anna, we can't show favoritism'. The penalty: write 2 haikus and paint them on the car. Crap, thank goodness Paul knew the counts for a haiku! So, haikus created and painted on, Paul in car and we are back on track in about 5 minutes. That dropped us about 7 places but we'll see how the boys do bringing it back up. The car is having power issues. After a bit, Chris is in the car. They swapped the distributor and it ran better for 5 laps. Lol. Last driver goes in. Just keep making laps...at the end of the race...the car was still alive...barely. It came off track, leaking water and boiling hot. We ended up 36 out of 131 on a car that was finished and tested two days before the big race! Not too shabby.

 

 

Um...just.....whoah

Look closely in the doghouse...

Hardware. This was the first race we didn't get any....

My Audi buddies from Austin had a cool theme

Now THIS is a pic. Dead longblock? Genset? Engine hoist? Welder? Big hammer? Lights? Propane heater? Oh yes...

Hmmm...wonder what these guys did...

SHOs are always fast. Till they break. They all break.

See the one on the far left? It broke.

Chris' part of the story:

We'll do better next time!!

(well said Chris......Costas)

 

Sponsored by a nudist colony. I kid you not.

Chris putting in the laps...

SOMEone is doing it very wrong...

Nappy time!

Chris and Katie just got back in the Ferrari and Porsche and are headed back to our paddock spot...

************************************

Costas:

OMG, you're still here? You sure you don't have ANYthing better to do? Well I guess I'll close out the story here but it will be tough to top Chris' sentiments. It was a fun event and even with the car cutting lap times some 20 seconds off our original pace for the whole back half of the first day and the whole second day, we still managed to stay inside the top 40 of 131 entries. Amazing. Had the car run anywhere close to normal we would have likely had a top 15 finish easily. Our black flags (not that I got any, but hey...heh) were nicely short and our pit stops were quick. The car was stable and handled well (even after we burned out that one front bushing...) and had brakes galore. I'll keep this a bit short (since you've got to be tired of reading by now) and hit the highlights.

Here we go again...

I remember talking to Gary on the radio at the start of Day 1 and asking about tires and tire pressure. The car felt really squirrely and was on Azenis and so I was a bit shocked. I said 'I'd understand this if they were brand new and I was scrubbing off the mold release, but this feels really bad....". Later that night Anna and I are swapping pictures and there is a pic of me going out and there is still stickers on the tires. Good or lucky? You decide. :-)

I remember near the end of my stint on day 2 and I'm nursing the little car to go as fast as possible and thinking that the crowd had thinned and I asked Gary for a car count. He comes back shortly and tells me that there are a total of 60 cars on the track at that point and I saw a few in the hot pits. So, by day two over half the field was in the paddock and/or penalty box. Whoah.

Huge thanks to Chris for slapping the car together and it did well. I know he's already fixed the running issue and I hope I get more seat time in the little red car next event!!

I remember our pit stops were fast. The car took fuel quickly and we got strapped in and going quick also.

Running the full track was smart and spread out the 131 entries and the fast sections, in crappy cars, aren't so fast. It is a fun event to just drive and have a front row seat for tons of folks with little/no track time and even less skill as they take themselves out and/or others. It is all about sizing up the folks as you come up to them and knowing if it is safe to stick a nose in, or if it would be better to wait a corner or two for a safer opportunity. Low percentage moves sometimes work but I saw dozens and dozens of times where they didn't. Contact = black flag = penalty = losing track time = bad, m'kay?

I drove to the track late Friday after a full day of work. I got there late, slept some and then we were up and to the track. I helped give the car a once-over, put on the transponder and such, then drove the first stint. Helped write 'I will not pass under yellow' a few dozen times and then left for a wedding near Hempstead (the track is way WAY south of Houston, Hempstead is north and west). After the awesome wedding (Congrats Kathy!!), I dropped by a buddies house in Katy and helped him do some odds and ends and then drove back to the track hotel, slept a bit and got up and raced the next day and then drove back to Arlington. Lotsa seat time for me this weekend!!

The lame tech guys didn't drop anything in our fuel tank. Nice.

All our drivers did well. No huge issues, only small transgressions and we all drove smart races and kept the nose pretty much clean. Wahoo!!

Gary is THE man on the radio. Watches your back, keeps an eye on yellows, and has a good eye for closuring rates and such. Uberthanks!

It was a fun event and we'll see if we can pull it off again in February of 2010 when LeMons is back at the same track.