Lemons race diary

This post will be updated daily from pre-race preparation through post-race analysis.

Thursday

It’s the day before tech inspection. I’m looking at the weather forecast and it says that it will be 101° Saturday and 107° Sunday. It will be even hotter than that on track. It’s not safe to drive for more than 15′ in conditions like this, so coolshirts are a safety item for this race. I have two cold boxes, one large one that I made using a marine pump and ice chest, and the other is a small cold therapy unit I got on eBay. The small one will be used to keep the driver-on-deck cool while he’s all suited up.

Friday

Mission accomplished. We got into C class. Lots of people remarked on how much they liked our theme. I have to admit, it turned out just as I imagined. If you look closely, the syringe has a little Easter egg.

Here’s the photo that was featured on the Lemons FB page, which shows us at tech inspection in full personal protective gear.

Saturday

We got a few black flags today. It’s hard to recover from that, but somehow we find ourselves in 2nd place in C class, just 2 laps behind the leader. I think we have a good chance of winning tomorrow for the following reasons.

  • We no longer have a giant syringe sticking out of the car. That means we’ll go faster and we won’t be flagged when it flies off.
  • I think the drivers have had their fill of black flags, earned or not.
  • The A/C will not be on. Wait what? Yes, we drove the entire day with the A/C on. This was not on purpose! The race day ended on a red flag, and as I sat there in the car, I thought, “hey, I’ll turn the A/C on to stay cool… WTF, it’s already on!” We were wondering why our fuel burn rate was high and our lap times were a little off. Mystery solved!

We ended up running 225/45R15 RS-4s up front and 215/40R17 Federal RS-Pros in the rear. The combination works so well I want to drive it like that always.

Sunday

It was a pretty exciting day for the most part. We had a back-and-forth battle with a Saab for first position. We started to see some strange behaviors coming from the engine lights. We had intermittent temperature warnings. Then a maintenance required light popped on and finally a check engine. No codes stored though. We were coming in to the pits constantly, so even though our lap times were a little better than the Saab, we were losing time. With about 2 hours left in the race, I got in for the final stint. We were 1 lap down, and I was going to drive the shit out of it and try for the win. As I went down the hill from T5 on my 2nd lap, a plume of steam erupted in front of me. I shut it down and waited for the tow truck.

Back in the pits, we found that the overflow filler tube had come off. So that was the source of the steam. But there was clearly more to the problem than that as the car would no longer start. The car had a lot of miles on it before it was ever a racecar, and has had a lot of race miles since. This was going to happen eventually. Still hurts.

Here’s some video from my stint.

8 thoughts on “Lemons race diary

  1. bummer. winning these things are tough. looks like a pretty open track for most of your stint. was that a chevy monza in front of you for a while? pretty fast. was looking for Eyesore to pass you but i guess they weren’t there.

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  2. Bummer. It’s hard to win in Lemons… looked like a pretty open track when you were out. Was that a Chevy Monday that you were dicing with? That thing looked surprisingly fast…

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      1. World press is in yesterday? I hunted around a while and checked the Lemons forum. There’s a Buick Skyhawk (Chevy Monza). Which came w/ a 3.8V6 w/ stock 115hp. Live axle. The monza used in racing a bit back in the 80’s so it might not be so bad. Just like the Ford GT was based on a pinto… live axle, 302. I think the monza did come w/ a v8 as well, so there’s that…

        For you, head gasket?? Got data suggesting over rev or over temp or something like that???

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    1. Generally that can be solved w/ cardboard and metal tape ducting to reallly direct all incoming air into radiator, and some properly placed holes in the hood to suck it out… worst case that and a bigger radiator. Yours has to be the size of a postage stamp.

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  3. Hey, how did the tires turn out? Did they wear ok?

    Also, typically there’s a AC clutch that disengages the compressor at WOT so that shouldn’t really have had an effect on accel or really fuel either. (Fuel usage is dominated by WOT not part throttle AC use) None of our cars had AC but i always thought it’d be interesting to see if it could make a difference.

    My guess is if your lap times are down and you’ve got the data the accel portion of your plot will show a flatter slope and lower top end prior to Turn1 which translates into ‘engine started to go earlier than you thought’

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    1. I’ve heard that about the AC clutch, but I’m not sure if that’s true on this car. It’s hard to say if acceleration was down due to engine or to ridiculous theme. But I’m guessing the engine had been giving up for a while.

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