Last Saturday and Sunday saw one of the busiest crapcan weekends in history with four separate events going on simultaneously. As if the number of races wasn’t exciting enough, the races themselves were packed to the gills (Do races have gills? They must if I’m using that expression.) with action, drama, heartbreak, and some redemption, even. Let’s see what was cooking at the three ChumpCar World Series races and 24 Hours of LeMons sole 24-hour race of the season.
ChumpCar Northern Region Chumpionship – Calabogie Motorsports Park
Because of time restrictions on racing at Calabogie, the Northern Region’s Chumpionship was decided in two separate seven-hour sessions with the aggregate lap count determining the winner. The race at the front was virtually over from the outset; Mopar 4 Life just wanted the win and led the weekend almost wire-to-wire. Their lead shrank to as little as one-and-a-half laps in the middle of the weekend, but the Neon team stretched that back out to the seven laps seen in the standings.
Behind them, a number of callers challenged for the podium, but it ultimately became the Bimmer show with four top-notch E36s filling up the rest of the front five. At the checkered flag, Big Deal Racing and Van Winden Racing occupied the two remaining podium spots. However, fourth-place TFE Racing protested Van Winden’s car at the post-race impound; ChumpCar stewards found a $50 part that had gone unclaimed since Friday’s technical inspections and docked Van Winden five laps, knocking them to P4 and giving TFE the final podium spot.
Final Top 10 (Full provisional results here)
1. #4 Mopar 4 Life (Dodge Neon) – 414 Laps
2. #157 Big Deal Racing (BMW E36) – 407 Laps
3. #114 TFE Racing (E36) – 404 Laps
4. #23 Van Winden Racing (E36) – 401 Laps
5. #31 Red Green Racing (E36) – 399 Laps
6. #30 Team Koko (BMW E30) – 397 Laps
7. #613 Bytown Brawlers (Honda CRX) – 393 Laps
8. #99 Me-at-a-Race (Mazda Miata) – 392 Laps
9. #101 Bogie-Men Ebony (Honda Civic) – 389 Laps
10. #8 Hammerhead Motorsports (BMW E30) – 385 Laps
ChumpCar Sebring – Sebring International Raceway
ChumpCar’s visit to the former runways of Sebring brought the usual trappings of a race in Florida. Rain and muggy weather added wrinkles to an already challenging 14-hour slog, but the racing it produced was nothing short of spectacular.
Lil Flatout Racing’s Nissan 240SX led the race at the beginning of the final stint, but they were unable to fend off the Jacky Ickx GT30 Mitsubishi 3000GT in the race’s final hour. The 3000GT blew by Lil Flatout en route to their first win and their first podium in a year that had heretofore been very challenging. Team Infiniti’s final driver also took huge chunks out of Lil Flatout’s lead for second place until just eeking past the 240SX in the race’s final corner to finish P2 by a mere 0.288 seconds. The Infiniti driver later commented that, in the deep dark of Sebring’s night, he had no idea the pass was for position until he returned to the pits.
The race was red-flagged late in the afternoon (above) when the JB Bugs Volkswagen Beetle took a major driver’s side hit from a Miata after tangling with the One Piece at a Time Chevy Malibu. The impact knocked the Beetle driver unconscious and Sebring’s safety crew moved the driver to the hospital via helicopter. The driver, who’d given the field the thumb’s up as he was loaded in the helicopter, was discharged later in the evening and is alright, albeit sore and bruised.
Final Top 10 (Full results here)
1. #66 Jacky Ickx GT30 (Mitsubishi 3000GT) – 250 Laps
2. #19 Team Infiniti (Infiniti J30) – 250 Laps
3. #224 Lil Flatout Racing (Nissan 240SX) – 250 Laps
4. #314 Book Smart Motorsports (Acura Integra) – 247 Laps
5. #12 Kids Racing for life () – 246 Laps
6. #241 4 Paws Racing (Nissan 240SX) – 244 Laps
7. #16 Far East Side () – 240 Laps
8. #109 Red Rat Racing () – 240 Laps
9. #74 Lil Chump Change (Mazda Miata) 238 Laps
10. #186 Mad Motorsports (BMW E30) – 234 Laps
LeMons Gator-O-Rama (24 Hours) – MSR Houston
LeMons’ only all-nighter brought on plenty of drama and some excellent and prolonged battles near the sharp end of the field. Rain, darkness, and attrition separated many teams from the front of the field and, by Sunday sunrise, two local teams ran 1-2. Z-Wrecks (above) had established substantial lead over Mostly Harmless Racing, who themselves appeared firmly entrenched in second position. Behind them, five teams (Pulp Friction, Comickazies, Team Blue Goose, Team Shocker, and Team Miagra) jumped up and down from P3 to P7 as they cycled through pit stops and driver changes over the long haul.
In the race’s last hour, Mostly Harmless suffered a woeful setback that dropped them off the podium and set them back to a P5 finish. Team Blue Goose’s Audi pounced and eventually held off Pulp Friction’s BMW E30 and Comickazies’ Mazda Miata with all three teams finishing on the same lap, separated by just 90 seconds after 24 hours of racing.
Frankenstein Motorworks ran the proven Class B strategy of running a slow, bone-stock Honda Accord on long stints at a reasonable pace, giving them P6 overall and a 22-lap class victory over The Oktoberfesters’ BMW E12. In Class C, Piston Broke Racing’s truly terrible Mitsubishi Eclipse somehow held together and its front-wheel drive setup gave an advantage in the rain over a mostly rear-drive Class C field.
The United Auto Wrenchers Houston Local 1275 set out Friday morning in the MSR paddock to prepare one rickety Austin America from three janky ones. After 48 hours or so of frantic wailing on the British Leyland heap(s), the team passed tech and turned 33 laps before the America’s hydroelastic suspension stopped elastic-ing.
Hoonatic Racing (running as Lost in the Dark C) ran as flawlessly as a battery-powered Datsun Fairlady (above) can, turning four laps and then charging for three hours before they could run four more laps. Say what you want about efficiency, the proto-Leaf did not finish in last place. That honor, of course, belongs to the K-It-Forward Plymouth Reliant, which is coming to be called “The Worst LeMons Car in History.” It turned all of two laps for temporary caretakers Escape Velocity Racing before it came in on the sad end of the tow rope.
Escape Velocity would find redemption, however, when their Slant-Six Dodge Dart took home the top Index of Effluency prize for a 42nd place finish, 30 laps and three positions ahead of the Crool Runnings Dodge Coronet.
It’s also worth noting that five teams trekked to MSR from the Midwest with all five squads finishing in the top third of the field and with the P6, P7, and P8 finishers all migrating from Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois (respectively) for the race.
Overall (Full Results Here)
1. #58 Z-Wrecks (Datsun 280ZX) – 607 Laps
2. #23 Team Blue Goose A (Audi 4000) – 589 Laps
3. #333 Pulp Friction (BMW E30) – 589 Laps
4. #80 Comickazies (Mazda Miata) – 589 Laps
5. #142 Mostly Harmless Racing (Mercury Capri) – 577 Laps
6. #79 Frankenstein Motorsworks (Honda Accord) – 567 Laps, Class B
7. #181 Team Sheen (Acura Integra) – 566 Laps
8. #49 Landshark (Acura Integra) – 562 Laps
9. #99 The Oktoberfesters (BMW E12) – 545 Laps, Class B
10. #11 Escort Service (Ford Escort) – 540 Laps, Class B
1. #79 Frankenstein Motorsworks (Honda Accord) – 567 Laps
2. #99 The Oktoberfesters (BMW E12) – 545 Laps
3. #11 Escort Service (Ford Escort) – 540 Laps
4. #101 Straight 6 Pack (Toyota Supra) – 516 Laps
5. #70 Tetanus Racing A (Dodge Neon) – 504 Laps
6. #116 HoodFellas (Nissan 240SX) – 492 Laps
7. #33 We Are Not Really From Iran (Ford Festiva) – 451 Laps
8. #15 LimonCello Racing (BMW E30) – 438 Laps
9. #911 Scubaru (Subaru Impreza) – 433 Laps
10. #43 Dirty Dick’s Racing (Mazda Miata) – 403 Laps
1. #109 Piston Broke Racing (Mitsubishi Eclipse) – 495 Laps
2. #26 Teamgravy (Porsche 914) – 437 Laps
3. #13 Escape Velocity Racing (Dodge Dart) – 360 Laps
4. #36 Crool Runnings (Dodge Coronet) – 330 Laps
5. #123 Speedy Monzales (Chevy Monza) – 250 Laps
6. #220 Pocket Deuces (Ford Fiesta) – 225 Laps
7. #52 Braking Wind Racing B (Porsche 914) – 159 Laps
8. #22 TGTW Offroad Racing B (Jeep Comanche) – 50 Laps
9. #24 United American Wrenchers Houston Local 1275 (Austin America) – 33 Laps
10. #96 Lost in the Dark C (Datsun Fairlady Electric ) – 26 Laps
ChumpCar Texas – Texas Motor Speedway
A plain old Double 7 race would have to go pretty far to compete with what the weekend’s other races delivered, but ChumpCar at TMS brought some serious drama and a couple of firsts. On Saturday, Bahnstormer Motorsports became the first stock-engined Volvo to capture a crapcan race win. The 760 did so despite encountering rain and some slick track conditions, but they held off PJS’ Ford Taurus SHO to win by a single lap.
Sunday brought one of the closest finishes in crapcan history. Bahnstormer, having received a three-lap handicap for winning the previous day, blew through the field to get back on the lead lap, where the Dodge This Mazda Miata had resided in P1 for most of the day. As the clock ticked down the last few minutes of the race, the Bahnstormer Volvo chewed up the distance to Dodge This. When the white flag flew at start/finish to mark the final lap, the gap had shrunk to less than a second. Bahnstormer swapped places with Dodge This three times on the final circuit before Bahnstormer pulled ahead on the banking and left the lower-horsepower roadster behind to finish P2. Bahnstormer becomes the first team to sweep a two-race weekend since April 2012.
Just behind the battle for the lead, Looney Tunes’ Ford Mustang duked it out with the Pimpra Toyota Supra, both cars being on the lead lap, as well. Looney Tunes also overtook on the final lap, knocking Pimpra off the podium and finishing just 0.941 seconds ahead at the stripe. Overall, just 20 seconds separated the top four cars at the end of Sunday’s race!
Saturday (Full Results Here)
1. #147 Bahnstormer Motorsports (Volvo 760) – 202 Laps
2. #29 PJS (Ford Taurus SHO) – 201 Laps
3. #767 Wingnuts (BMW E30) – 195 Laps
4. #187 Split Five Ways (Nissan 240SX) – 192 Laps
5. #44 City Garage (BMW E36) – 190 Laps
6. #101 Looney Tunes (Ford Mustang) – 190 Laps
7. #70 Pimpra (Toyota Supra) – 188 Laps
8. #19 Zombie Response Team (Ford Escort ZX2) – 187 Laps
9. #37 Barely Wreckless (Mazda Miata) – 184 Laps
10. #888 Rookie Racing () – 183 Laps
Sunday (Full Results Here)
1. #147 Bahnstormer Motorsports (Volvo 760) – 208 Laps
2. #23 Dodge This (Mazda Miata) – 208 Laps
3. #101 Looney Tunes (Ford Mustang) – 208 Laps
4. #70 Pimpra (Toyota Supra) – 208 Laps
5. #92 Nismorons (Nissan 240SX) – 206 Laps
6. #44 City Garage (BMW E36) – 204 Laps
7. #99 Basil Weenie Racing (BMW E30) – 203 Laps
8. #31 Team Operation (E30) – 200 Laps
9. #19 Zombie Response Team (Ford Escort ZX2) – 198 Laps
10. #53 Inappropriate Tools Motorsports (E36) – 195 Laps
[Photos: Murilee Martin except Sebring photo by Alan Cesar | Video source: YouTube via ChumpCar forum]