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June 03, 2012

LeMons Colorado Day 1: RX-7 Leads, Hyundai Accent Tops In Class C

Even with a long delay for an apocalyptic afternoon hail-and-lightning storm, the racing went on and on and on at High Plains Raceway today. The Ghetto Motorsports Mazda RX-7, winner of the 2010 and 2011 Colorado 24 Hours of LeMons races, took a two-lap lead early in the session and held onto it for the entire day. This team is quick (though by no means the quickest car at this race) and they just don’t seem to make mistakes. While most of the other teams screwed up at least a couple of times and had to visit the Penalty Box, Ghetto Motorsports just kept going around the track. While other teams took 20 minutes to refuel and change drivers, Ghetto Motorsports did the job in several minutes. And so on.

Normally, a performance like that would open up an impossible-to-close gap between the leader and the P2 car, but such has not been the case this time; the Jetti Knights Volkswagen Jetta just won’t disappear from the RX-7′s rear-view mirror. This car is actually a second or two per lap quicker than the Mazda, but a few minutes must have been squandered by the Jetti Knights at some point during the day. If a Ghetto Motorsports driver loses focus just for a moment, this team is poised to grab the lead and never let go. Of course, both the Jetta and the RX-7 are quite fragile as LeMons cars go, so either or both could blow up and hand the lead to any one of the BMW E28s and Ford Escorts baying at their heels.

That’s enough talk of the fast cars; true LeMons insiders know that the Class C race is the one to follow, because Class C cars tend to get the important trophies. Leading Class C at the end of Saturday’s session is this refrigerator-white Hyundai Accent with a tricycle bolted to the roof. You’re looking at a dead-stock, worn-out Korean commuter car with a roll cage, and it’s just as slow as you’d think it would be. In fact, it’s one of the slowest cars on the track… but staying on the track counts for a lot more than going around the track quickly when you’re in an endurance race, and this Accent has built up a pretty solid 8-lap lead in its class.

The thing about Class C, however, is that no lead is safe; these cars tend to break down early and often, and the Hyundai is due. If that happens, the —ing With Bad Ideas “Scrubbing Bubble” Beetle, which took a decisive Class C victory at last week’s North Dallas Hooptie race, will move right into the top spot in the most important LeMons class. In fact, the Beetle is so much faster than the Accent that it might take the lead in any case.

Don’t rule out the Speed Holes AMC Marlin, because holding on to a Class C lead is like trying to bail out a leaky canoe in sewage-treatment plant’s holding pond: dirty, exhausting, and difficult. This car, with its big Chevy truck engine, shows occasional flashes of serious passing ability and might just eat up all the laps between it and the Hyundai before the checkered flag waves Sunday evening.A single lap behind the Marlin sits another AMC machine: the Blue Flag Special Pacer. This car manages to be even slower than the Accent (which is quite an accomplishment) but it just doesn’t break. Perhaps this race will go to the tortoise instead of… the slightly speedier tortoise?Meanwhile, rods are being thrown, brakes are being cooked, head gaskets are popping, and drivers are crashing into each other. Some teams will be pulling all-night repair marathons, while others eat good barbecue dinners and catch a full night’s sleep. Check in Sunday night to see who wins what!

Source : Car and Driver


Author & Editor

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