BRINGING HOME THE LOOT • ORIGINALITY VS IMITATION

The winner of The 24 Hours of LeMons Arse Freeze-A-Palooza Race at Thunderhill Raceway Park will carry home (with help) $1500 in nickels. The Index of Effluence winner gets $1000 in nickels, for having the crappiest car which does well. The Organizer’s Choice Award winner gets $500, in nickels. Chief Perpetrator JAY LAMM has a banker friend who obliges by packing the nickels in neat cardboard box containers.

I would think that making subjective choices in this large field of 155 cars would be more than difficult.

This year’s LeMons season was comprised of ten races and the inaugural Concours d’Lemons in Toro Park near Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the weekend of the Monterey Historics. That event will repeat next year, along with 21 races, and another Concours and Track Tour at Infineon Raceway. That is double the 2009 events. Lamm said it meant a lot of frequent flier miles checking out race tracks all around the country.

LeMons has grown. It all started with one man’s conception in 2006. “It seemed like a fun idea, entertaining and cheap. Nothing too serious,” said Lamm. Now in addition to Lamm, who eased out of his day job of editorial publishing to handle LeMons full-time, there are two other full-time managers – Event Manager JEFF GLENN, and Race Manager DAN RADOWICZ. Lamm has an Assistant Perp, NICK PON. There are also six or seven part time contractors.

The Judges this weekend were PHIL GRAYTON and JOHNNY LIEBERMAN, who were “inhabiting their persona” said Lamm. They were aided and abetted by Auditors and Punishers working in the Penalty Box.

The race officials are often found in each track area. At Thunderhill, most of them are SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) workers from San Francisco Region, along with a couple of Cal Club workers and one flagger who came all the way from Amsterdam just for the race.

It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Somehow I doubt that Lamm sees it that way about the new Chump Car Series, which is for $500 cars without the wackiness. Co-promotor of Chump Car, JOHN CONDREN, said his series is “North America’s home for $500 crap-can endurance road racing, for more serious endurance racers on bigger, more well-known race tracks.” Chump Car – whose logo is a direct knock-off of the late Champ Car World Series – had its inaugural race over Halloween with 20 teams which had irreverent names. Chump Car will have 22 races next season, ten of which conflict with LeMons. Some have been saying that Chump Car had the blessing of LeMons. Not so, said Lamm. There is no relationship between the two series, no history, no cooperation and no approval.

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