Showroom-Schlock Shootout


Andrea, Norbert, and myself headed out to race in the very amusing 24hr of lemons. We joined up with Team Resignation. The car to drive is their hand crafted Ford Escort, Who says you can't polish a turd?  Eric rood reported on the event.   


Guest Blog: words pictures and all other things by  Eric "the little viking" Rood 

 Original Article

Showroom Schlock Shootout: Schaturday

This is a recollection of Team Resignation's experiences at the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., from October 7-9. It will be published in three parts and probably be very boring. But pictures!


Saturday morning brought a wicked chill that persisted for a couple of hours but burned off shortly after sunrise. As the team warmed up, they held an informal meeting (where Eric basically said "Bring the car and yourself back in as few pieces as possible") and a quick track overview.

The obligatory LeMons driver's meeting followed, which was standard stuff: guys wearing underwear as shirts, Jay Lamm calling an obnoxious driver at the meeting an asswipe, and the track manager mentioning that they wanted to do more than one race at Autobahn in 2012. (Wait, what? Well, the schedule is not yet released for 2012, but it should be soon.)

Johnny suited up to take the green flag and got on track with only a few major hassles. The green flag was delayed by about 10 minutes when multiple cars died on the parade laps. But within about 40 minutes of the green flag, Johnny was black flagged for bumping the Latch Key Kids' Neon. The honorable judges did not hand out a penalty, but they did make us alter our should harness mounting to accommodate Johnny's HANS device before he could return to the track.

With the harness mount altered, Johnny returned to the track but came back after a handful of laps. The motor was misfiring at and above 4500 RPM and he thought it might have to with inadequate airflow through our exposed K&N air filter. Eric threw the air box on it to concentrate the air flow and Johnny headed out again. However, he only turned a few laps before coming back in. The problem remained and he felt it was electrical in nature. Out of ideas, they contacted their offsite technical advisor, who said it could be: spark plugs, spark plug wires, fuel filter, or fuel pump.

With that in mind, Eric headed out for new plugs, wires, and a fuel filter while Johnny headed back to the track to nurse it around a bit. While Eric was stuck at a railroad crossing and in the parts' stores glacially moving line, the rest of the team made a driver change and put Dave in the car. Halfway through the stint, Eric returned but Dave stayed out to keep turning laps while the rest of the team prepared to change parts.

As Dave pulled into the pit space, Kiko and Eric discussed that the problem could very well be the swapped-in OEM computer from a later-model year ZX2. In the end, the team opted to switch back to the ZX2's original computer and change the plugs and wires. They were done in short order and had Kiko in the car and on track in less than 30 minutes. Whatever they'd done had worked; the engine ran beautifully up and down the powerband and didn't misfire.

Naturally, it wouldn't last. While pushing the car hard, Kiko heard a thump followed by loud clicking noise. He brought the car in to investigate, and the team puzzled over it for a bit before eventually noticing that the driver's side halfshaft had broken. Luckily, they had brought a spare transmission and shafts, which they swapped in probably about 20 minutes (no one was looking at a watch). After adding fuel and strapping Norbert in the car, the total time lost was just short of an hour.

But with the car at its best for the weekend, Norbert took the wheel and set the team's fastest lap of the day with a 1:55.716 when no one else on the team had broken 2:00. Norbert continued his hot-shoeing, ticking off 5 sub-two minute laps. But in Turn 13 on the car's 72nd lap of the day, the exhaust mounting bracket snapped. The pipe dragged momentarily, then snagged on the right-rear tire, puncturing it. Norbert managed to get the car into the pits and about 100 feet from the TR paddock space. Eric grabbed a spare wheel and, after several minutes of finagling with the red-hot lugnuts and wheel (Thanks to the Dos Limons Fiesta guys for their help!), they swapped on a spare race tire just to push it back to their space.

Johnny quickly set to work welding [with a welder borrowed from Team Flaming Fiero. Thanks again you guys are awesome pit neighbors] the exhaust back in place. In about 30 minutes, the exhaust was good as...well...not new, but it was OK. Kiko tied it up with braided steel wire so that if it broke again, it wouldn't snap back and puncture another tire. Eric and Norbert threw the spare tires on the rear. Unfortunately, they were a slightly different compound from the fronts, meaning the car became more tail-happy.

With about an hour left of race time, Eric hopped in the car for his first stint, which started under caution from the Alfa that found the tire barrier on the outside of turn 1. After a couple of green laps, he started to push and find his limits, knocking a few seconds off his green-flag laps. But then something went terribly wrong, and he overcooked it into Turn 1, spinning out. Luckily, the car was alone and no contact came of it.

Photo by Barb Trzop Novereini

He headed to the Penalty Box for his inevitable black flag discussion:

Judge Phil: "What happened out there?"

Eric: "Well, I went into Turn 1, then I went out of Turn 1. Somewhere in between, I ran out of talent."

Phil: "Wait, what? Isn't the Nixon team supposed to deny, deny, deny?!"

Jay Lamm: "Hold on, hold on. They're admitting to being terrible; we don't want to send the wrong message here."

Phil: "OK."

Jay: "Why don't you turn your driving down from about 3/10 to 2/10?"

Eric: "Well, I would, but I think I've only got 1.5/10 in me."

Jay: "That'll do."

The judges let Eric off without a penalty, provided he could make it the remaining 40 minutes without returning on another black flag. Meanwhile, the car had developed an extremely rough idle, which was quickly attributed to a vacuum leak. Eric returned the car to the pit, where the PCV valve was identified as the culprit and quickly fixed. The remainder of the day went without incident, as Eric regained the masterful point-by that had served him so well in the 2010 race.

The checkered flag at 5:30 on Saturday marked Team Resignation's 93rd lap of the weekend, leaving them far from the leader in 72nd place.

Sometime during the day, the LeMons judges had begun applying the Nixon stencil to cars passing through the penalty box that "looked like they needed Nixon on the car."

The team put the car up for the night and focused on food, which included steaks and hot dogs. A few dozen people from different teams streamed in and out of the pits, retelling their day's experiences, discussing previous failures at LeMons, and talking of all things racing and otherwise. The company was fantastic1, and the team went to bed tired but looking forward to Sunday.

See all of Team Resignation's photos here (Eric's photos) and here (Dave's photos).

1 A million thanks to Team Flaming Fiero, Smokey Saturn and the Bandits, the #22 Saab guys, Greg from Skid Steer Racing and, of course, Racing 4 Nickels for the homebrew and cookies. There were probably a dozen or so other people who came and went, but we didn't catch which car you were driving.


Showroom-Schlock Shootout: Schunday

 original article here

This is a recollection of Team Resignation's experiences at the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., from October 7-9. It will be published in three parts and probably be very boring. But pictures!


As with last year's race, Sunday was probably the least-exciting day, which was actually a good thing. There were no major issues that kept the car off the track, driver changes came quicker (thanks to not also having to fix things), and the car pretty much ran like clockwork for the majority of the day.

The team started the day off correctly with a LeMons racer breakfast and a very brief drivers meeting at the tech shed. Kiko took the first stint in the car because his only stint Saturday had been cut short by a broken half-shaft and he'd spent only about 20 minutes in the car. He racked up a solid 30 laps in 75 minutes, though he brought the car back in missing a headlight and with a large dent in the driver's side front fender.
While he couldn't recall who'd tagged him, Kiko said he'd been broadsided entering Turn 11 by an aggressive driver who apparently thought his (or her) car was about four feet shorter than it actually was. The damage was insignificant (and mostly limited to the driver's door being slightly more difficult to open), though Kiko told anyone remotely affiliated with the track or the race that there was a headlight on track. Judge Phil shrugged it off with something to the effect of "I'm sure your car is hardly the only one that's left pieces out on the track."
Dave hopped in the car for the day's second stint and gradually worked his lap times down until he became the second TR driver to break the 2:00 barrier. Dave's pushing came at a cost, as he got the car's back end loose exiting turn 10. This would normally be correctable, but he found himself on the curbing and unable to correct it. He spun out and the car stalled and wouldn't start again.

The team met him and the non-running car at the pit entrance, and the team was baffled by the car not starting again. The tow truck was just about to hook up to take the car to Team Resignation Track Headquarters when Eric noticed that the inertial fuel pump shutoff switch (the thing that cuts your fuel supply in an accident) had been tripped. He reset the switch and the car started right up. Luckily, the judges were lenient for the team's first flag of the day, and Dave, a little nervous perhaps, returned to the track to put in another 30 minutes or so of careful driving and fuel conservation.

Johnny hopped in the car for the middle stint and racked up several sub-2:00 laps while knocking a half second off the weekend's fastest lap (set by Norbert on Saturday). The rest of the stint was largely uneventful, and Johnny brought it in with Team Resignation having worked up seven places in the standings to 65th place. Eric took the next stint and grannied the car around the track for an hour (through a lot of yellow flags, including one that involved a Ford Fiesta with three wheels) while the rest of the team ran to the gas station to pick up enough fuel to finish the race. Eric returned to the pit at literally the same moment as Johnny and Andrea, who had gone out for the fuel. His very-sl0w-and-kind-of-steady driving had picked up another spot in the standings as other teams desperately thrashed on their broken rides.

Norbert then took the wheel with 150 minutes of race time remaining. He proceeded to clock dozens of extremely fast laps, knocking almost 6 (!) seconds off Johnny's fastest lap. His lap times were consistent as long as the flag stayed green, and he had worked up another few spots in the standings.

Eric selected Johnny to take the next short (about 45 minutes) so that Kiko could take the checkered flag. But Johnny only completed three laps before getting black flagged and having to undergo the "embarrass yourself" penalty of "Mime Your Crime." Frustrated, he reported that the car was hard to get going and that it seemed like a clutch issue. With about 50 minutes of race time left, Kiko hopped in the car to take it home to the checkered flag.

Over the radio, Eric warned him about the clutch issue and to put it in 4th gear and leave it there to limp to the finish. But Kiko quickly found out that the clutch wasn't the problem, but there was an odd throttle issue that did indeed make it hard to get going from a stop. On track, this wasn't much of an issue, as whatever the issue was basically rendered the gas pedal an On/Off switch (Full throttle or no throttle, no real in-between). So Kiko took advantage of the still-good clutch and flogged the car, becoming the fourth TR driver to break 2:00.

He brought the car around at 4:00 p.m. to the checkered flag with his fist pumping all the way down the main straight, and Team Resignation's race was over with 246 laps completed, good for 57th place and less than a lap behind the 56th place #9 Geo Metro. On pit road, Kiko got a much-deserved high-five from the LeMons judges and parked the car.

The team cracked open some much-deserved Cold Ones and headed to the awards ceremony. The total awards results can be found here and here with the full stories, but it's worth mentioning that Team Resignation's good friends Racing 4 Nickels (see photo below of the R4N guys in their monkey suits) took home the Index of Effluency trophy (LeMons' highest honor) for their 48th place finish in a truly terrible Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, which had also finished mid-pack in the 2010 Rod Blagojevich Never-Say-Die 500.

After the awards ceremony, Team Resignation captain designee Eric handed out the honorary case of Schlitz (the trophy wasn't done due to unforeseen engine swappage) to Byte Marks Racing, the winner of the inaugural Little MoFo FoMoCup (more on this in a later post).

Team Resignation then packed it in for a team photo and a handshake with Nixon before throwing everything in the rented trailer. And as the sun set and the trailer returned to Team Resignation World Headquarters in [LOCATION REDACTED], the co-conspirators noticed that the volume appeared turned down on life. At least until next spring...

See all of Team Resignation's photos here (Eric's photos) and here (Dave's photos). 

 original article here 

 Andrea got a chance to take my camera around the track a few times. the plethora of so called race cars was astounding. 

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