Monday, July 28, 2008

BeerTech Racing Presents: Team Mustache Ride at the 2008 24 Hours of LeMons at CMP.

I know what you’re thinking. This sounds stupid. And you would be correct. Here is some more information about the event that may reinforce what you already suspect. The rules? Find an automobile that can be raced for a 24 hour endurance race that can cost NO MORE than $500 total excluding safety gear. I.e. roll cage, seats, harnesses, tires and brakes. Okay, it’s not actually a 24 hour race but two days, 7 hours each day, with a break at night for beer and general debauchery. But c’mon, it’s a $500 car, you’re lucky if it completes the warm up laps without completely giving up and or trying to kill you.

If you want more info about the 24 hours of LeMons, see this short video;

THE 24 HOURS of Lemons

Let’s skip that crap and get right to our experience you say? Okay! Hopefully the other mustache wearing members of the team will give their perspectives as well.

THE TEAM:






Team Mustache Ride consists of 6 members, in no particular order, nicknames in parens; Brian Jones (Shady B), JP Coates (Lunch Box), Rob Maybach (Bobert), Ian Klass (Klauss), Steven Canterbury (Lurch) and our head mechanic and crew chief Big Tom Maybach. Special thanks go to Brook and her mother for excellent track support and money steaks on Saturday night.

JP, Steven and I are actual real live race car drivers. Rob and Ian are not but that’s the beauty of LeMons, you can buy a temporary race license for the event. This is pretty cool. Made me feel like I was really fast out there and knew what I was doing. Anyone who knows me will not be fooled by the videos but I don’t care. Screw you guys.

This was Robs first time on a race track and he did great. Ian has lots of track experience but has not been on track in about 5 years or so. Hopefully they can elaborate in their recaps.

THE CAR:


The weapon of choice, or circumstance, was a 1991 BMW 318is. This special ride was generously “prepared” for our use by a nice cell phone wielding driver who totaled the once daily driven race car. A $500 buy back from insurance and we have ourselves a candidate.

Yes. The car has a mustache as did all team members. We also had custom jean shorts, sweet T-shirts and cheap sun glasses to complete the ensemble. It was gross.

Since we are BeerTech and had months to prepare for the event we of course managed to throw this thing together in three days…the last possible three days mind you. Despite the efforts of some, we managed to get the car together and race ready. By race ready I mean the bare minimum safety gear that would pass the tech inspection at the track before the race began. Nothing like being prepared right?! Don’t forget to check out our sweet steering wheel in the pics and videos. Yeah, you like it.

A big thanks goes to JP for getting most of the car ready and many late nights to do so. Thanks also goes to MLT’s (Malt Liquor Tech) own Travis Wilson for some much needed assistance at the last minute.

Now that the car is complete we can race right? First you have to pass tech, no big deal but then you also have to endure the “judges” scrutinizing. There are two guys dressed as court room judges complete with gavels that pour over your car and insist that you are a liar and a cheater. They want to assess as many penalty laps as they can based on the Bull S**t Factor.

BSF points are based upon the judges decisions that you paid more than $500 for the car and or its performance enhancements or you are generally violating the spirit of the rules which is, s**t box cars for s**t box racing.

Luckily we got away with only one penalty lap. This means we start the race at negative one laps. They gave us one because they thought we were cheating but couldn’t prove it. Oh yeah and Rob called one of the judges a donkey, which probably didn’t help us but was funny. Penalties were normally between 5 and 30 laps. One team brought an all out race car and were assessed a 200 lap penalty from the start. More on them later.

The 24 hours of LeMons is technically a non contact race despite what you may find on YouTube etc. More on that later but the point is don’t bring a car you can’t afford to roll home in a little ball, if it’s not in one to begin with already. Oh, and to discourage cheating further, one car is voted on by its peers to be crushed by a 62 ton excavator. It truly is something to behold. More on that later as well as a link to the actual video. Aren’t you excited?

THE TRACK:

Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) in Kershaw SC. Here is a track map for the race. In this configuration the track is 9/10's of a mile give or take.

TRACK MAP FOR THE RACE!


Executive Summary of our Performance:

I know, I know, blah, blah, blah, I don’t care about this anyway just tell me what happened. Okay here it is. Team Mustache Ride finished 12th overall and 5th in class. There are four classes in the Lemons and the judges also decide where you fall into these categories. They are; PW-prayer of winning, NPW-no prayer of winning, PF- prayer of finishing and NPF. We were in the NPW class. We finished 474 of 512 laps. The winner of the race did 512 laps over the 14 hours of racing.

MY RACE RECAP:

The race is set up as follows. Saturday race begins at noon and runs until 7:30 PM. Sunday race starts at 8:30 AM, stops from 11-12 to observe the quiet hour and resumes from 12 to 3:30. Actually went to 3:45 so we could finish the race under green flag conditions.

Our driver line up in order was JP, Steven, Me, Rob and then Ian. We inverted the order on Sunday.

Saturday started off great, we made up our negative one laps and then some. With three Spec E30 veterans leading the charge on our team we were gaining ground fast and completely embarrassing MLT as was expected. I was nearing the end of my stint, about an hour and a half in when it all went wrong. We were the overall race leader and had a 6 lap advantage over the second place car, see here:

BEER TECH LEADS LEMONS!!!

There were several lengthy cautions during both days as cars would inevitably give up and refuse to cooperate. The track would go full course caution as the wreckers came out to scrape up the remains and drag the steaming piles back into the pits.

When the track is FCY there is no passing. Once the green flag comes back out its easy to be caught asleep at the wheel and have many cars pass you. On the last restart of my stint I did like a always do and pass a ton of cars going into the chicane. This restart was no different except the #8 Miata (the car who was 200 laps down to start the race) tried to follow me, misjudged the braking zone and absolutely crushed me in the right rear. I’ve never been hit that hard in a car before. See the video here:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> BRIAN'S RACE FOOTAGE<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

He knocked me through the tire barrier and through another car. He also managed to cave our right rear fender in against the tire. I had to limp around the track a full lap and into the pits where we went to work on the car.

We managed to get it banged out and stop the rubbing and get the car going again but we lost 30 minutes doing so. At about 1 minute 10 seconds per lap, this hurt our lead a little. We also got a 30 minute penalty for metal to metal contact! For getting rear ended. How do you like that? Then we were black flagged as soon as we got the car on track because we didn’t report to timing and scoring right after the incident to serve our penalty. Lame.


After that Rob and Ian kept it pretty clean and brought the car home for the night. All we did Saturday night was adjust our rear end a little more, rotate tires, flip brake pads and bleed the brakes. We were good to go for Sunday.

SUNDAY:

With an 8:30 AM race start and this truly being a full team effort, we took it easy on the partying Saturday night. We watched MLT battle several problems from afar. Man, I sure do love work. I could watch it all day.

We got Ian on track early and were the second car out. We started clean and he had a good run save one spin due to oil in turn one. Rob was up next and did well keeping the shiny side up.

The race was stopped at 11:00 for the quite hour and was a good time to crown the Peoples Curse. This was the car I mentioned earlier that would be crushed. It was decided by all the teams in the race and voted on. Looks like our pals at Salazar Racing or SaladBar as we refer to them, made lots of friends with their driving “style” on Saturday. See the video here:

SALAD BAR GETS CRUSHED!

Their T-shirts were pretty good though, I have to admit. “F**k BeerTech’s Mom” More like…F’ yo car homies! Man that made me feel good inside to see that happen. Does that make me a bad person? I did truly feel bad to see the poor E30 get crushed but it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys!

The race resumes at noon with me behind the wheel. I’m feeling good out there and car is still in decent shape, well, for what it was. It was still going and kind of stopping and turning also which is nice. Sunday was hot and dry. My stint Saturday was mostly wet and more than half of it was in pretty heavy rain. I like driving in the rain so I loved it. Sunday was a good change and was fun to get some dry laps in. I kept it clean tried to take care of the car but I was racing hard when I needed to. Camera was full so unfortunately no video from Sunday of me.

The car was doing great as long as you kept the heat turned on so it didn’t overheat. The little 318 was a champ but you can only beat on it so much. Steven was after me and as he went on track it was double yellow. He passed some cars under yellow and got black flagged. This gave us a 5 minute penalty and he came right back in to serve it. After he went back out the temp gage began to rise after about 30 – 40 mins or so. It quickly pegged in the red and he brought the car in.

We topped off the coolant after finding no obvious signs of a problem and then JP went out to finish the race. He was quickly back in and straight into the pits. Overheating again. Looking over the car we again saw no obvious issue. We bled the cooling system and this seemed to help. JP went back out after several lost minutes in the pits and was able to finish the race and bring us home in 12th place. Nice work Team Mustache Ride. Looking forward to next year’s LeMons!

Some things I learned:

SC’s highways are amazingly road kill free I found out. Steven and I went out with Malt Liquor Tech Friday night looking for road kill. What else are you going to do with purpose built trap door in your trunk rigged up with a latch for the driver to pull? Put some road kill back there of course.

Ian got new nickname. He kind of grew a Wolverine style mustache/beard thing and he is a ginger kid so of course he was called the Gingerine for the weekend. Has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

Never let a Miata get in your trunk, the next day, your car will really hurt. That context may only be good to Chapelle show fans but I like it.

Bring documentation to the judges at LeMons for your car to avoid penalties.

Overall the LeMons was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again. Another great weekend at the track with BeerTech, MLT and Salazar. Good to see you guys as always, hopefully you got all the good bits off of that car before it was “disqualified.”

---Brian Jones BeerTech Racing #380, Team Mustache Ride #88

2 comments:

BeerTech 467 said...

Awesome write up, B.

I hate that I missed all the fun. I'll try to capture all the details of Road Atlanta for you guys.

Victor Hall said...

Man. F*ck your moms.