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Author Topic: 24 Hours of LeMons - Detroit: Rubber Biscuit Racing race recap +PICS  (Read 24659 times)
LeadSSled
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« on: October 05, 2007, 12:50:52 PM »

Kevin O. invited me to start a new thread about our race entry here. So here goes nuthin... Enjoy!

Terry Kehne
Knoxville, TN
Rubber Biscuit Racing Team Captain


Here is the story: Over a year ago, I learned of an endurance race held in California named "The 24 Hours of LeMons". The name is obviously a parody of the historic "24 Hours of LeMans" race. The rules dictate that your car have a NET total investment of no more than $500, excluding tires, brakes, and safety equipment - hence the "LeMons" race. I tried to put a team of "Impala Guys" together to participate, but could not find anyone on the west coast that could take the lead. I couldn't do it from TN due to the distance, so I gave up.

Back in March of this year, I learned that the race organizers added a second race in Detroit. Well hell, that's only a day's drive from Knoxville, TN! So I again attempted to put together a team of Impala enthusiasts. I was succesful in recruiting 5 other "Impala guys" from TN, GA, NJ, and IL that would commit with both their finances and time. The race organizer told me that there are always more entries than available starting spots, so the more we could do to make our team concept interesting, the better chance that we had of being accepted in the race. So I planned to purchase an old black & white cop car and our team collectively devised "Rubber Biscuit Racing" . I submitted our entry in late April.

Here is the event website: http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/events/detroit/

Although we knew that we would not learn if we were accepted or not until after the July 15th entry deadline, I purchased a car for our entry back in late April. We waited to start the work on it until we knew of our acceptance. In mid-July I recieved notice that our team entry had been accepted and the race was on for Rubber Biscuit Racing.

We decided early on to do this for charity and solicited both donations and sponsorships (both individual and corporate). Our goal was to raise at least $5000 for a charity - "Cure Autism Now". I have an 18-year old daughter with autism, so this charity hits very close to home.

The race is now hostory and now that I have caught my breath a little, I'd like to share my experience with the Rubber Biscuit Racing Team's participation in the "24 Hours of Lemons" race in Detroit last weekend. This will take several posts, so please bear with me.

First and foremost, we will EXCEED the $5000 goal that we set for the donation to the Cure Autism Now Foundation. We don't have a final accounting yet, but we are over definitely over $5K, and maybe $5.5K. To our donors and sponsors - thank you so VERY much for your generosity.

Now to the car and the race. This is what the car looked like when I bought it in April for $400. It did not run (oil looked like chocolate milk) and had over 2 years of crud on the roof.







And after many hours of work, here is what the Biscuitmobile looked like prepped for the race. Normally we wouldn't have spent that much effort to clean it - a lot of work and it makes the car look more expensive than it really is. A dirty car would have been lower on the radar screen, but we had to get it clean enough for the decals of our sponsors to stick, so Chris attacked it with dishwashing liquid and a Scotchbrite pad.

And yes, Elwood Blue hat and sunglasses stayed on the roof of the car the full 24 hours (with the help of some sheet metal screws and wire ties).



« Last Edit: October 05, 2007, 01:16:11 PM by LeadSSled » Logged

1996 Impala SS - not even close to stock
LeadSSled
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2007, 12:52:18 PM »



Here is the "DNA Chamber". It was nasty back there, even under the carpet.







The car first went to White Pine, TN where we stripped it of exterior lighting and the interior. Then 4.5 GALLONS of water and oil were drained from the crankcase. That explains the dry radiator - big time blown head gaskets. The motor was removed for a budget refresh using an $80 "claimer motor" ring, bearing, gasket kit from Competition Products.

After the drivetrain was done, it was hauled to B-Body Performance in Columbus, OH where Mike Harris donated the time and material for the madatory 4-point roll cage with driver's door bar. From there it went to Pleasant Plains, IL to Rustic Racing. Chris Nickell (owner of Rustic Racing and one of the team drivers) took care of the brake and suspension work, installed the racing seat, gutted the door frames, and removed window glass (except for windshield).

Last Friday Chris hauled it to Flat Rock, MI where we all met to finish prepping the car that night in the hotel parking lot. Julie brought along her laptop and printer with sticker paper so we could make stickers for those donors that didn't provide them.



Large CAN sticker for the hood... it looked great!! Thanks to Kelly Munsey who donated this decal!



Bob Fandetti (Bobo) applying stickers in memory of family members.



Bobo dancing in delight of the new stickers!!!



Car number 18 and it's drivers:

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LeadSSled
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2007, 12:55:36 PM »

Doc Daugherty of Cincinatti shows up with extra fuel jugs. Nice Jugs Doc!



We let Allen Mirse of Nashville play with some tools: Dig those gloves.



What is behind us does not matter!!!! But we like the racing mirror Bobo brought for us anyway.



Test drive in front of hotel... we all took a turn to get a feel for it: (brakes still a little squishy)



Brakes bled again and all stickers applied. Chris had to replace 2 hard lines the night before when he found them rusted through. They were the lines from the prop-valve block to the ABS system... so pulling these lines and replacing them with "home bent" lines put a lot of air in the system.



This is Jay Lamm... the founding father and Chief Perpetrator of the LeMons races. He said it looked like a $5000 car... we all laughed and showed him our reciepts. His response? "You guys have done your homework!" He still looked skeptical. Can't guess I blame him though, the car looked WAY better than we ever expected it could given it's appearance at time of purchase.



Nothing better than a cold beer in a brake fluid soaked towel to end the evening.

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1996 Impala SS - not even close to stock
LeadSSled
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2007, 12:59:27 PM »

First driver change... Chris is out and Mark Sulimirski of Buford, GA goes in. Chris had us up to 6th vefore pitting after starting around 18th.





Mark was driving when we lost the pressure side PS line. We also had bent tie rods on that side of the car... so it looked like the bent tie rods pushed the steering linkage aginst the line and eventually rubbed through it. On this stop we put in a new PS line and 2 new tie rods on the right side. But it took more than an hour and a half to make the repair (that factory PS line is a biotch!) and we lost a couple hundred laps to the leaders.







Chris Mallory of  Ringoes, NJ gives the thumbs up that the new PS line is good to go... Chris N. takes his place under the car to attache the new tie rods and set the toe so we don't ruin tires to quickly.



Early in the race it sometimes looked like a parking lot out there with 39 cars on such a short 1/3-mile track.



2nd Driver change... Allen in for Mark:



3rd Driver change... Terry in for Allen:

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1996 Impala SS - not even close to stock
LeadSSled
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2007, 01:02:34 PM »

Bad news... the temp gage pegs while Terry is in the car!!! Allen wants to make coffee.



Turns out both our cooling fans have crapped out.... so we steal the set from Bob's car:





Mark tried to cool the radiator:



Some 40 minutes later, Chris M. takes the wheel and puts us back on the track in 34th position.



The clamp on the right side muffler let go.... It later let go again, jetisonning the muffler onto the track and taking out 2 cars behind us.. woops!



Car starting to get beat up....



Driver change... Bobo takes the wheel:



Running in the dark now...

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1996 Impala SS - not even close to stock


LeadSSled
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2007, 01:05:29 PM »

Here are shots from Sunday....

The car ran great all night and we made up a bunch of spots lapping the field multiple times. Until trouble started, we were running as high as 6th. After the PS line failure and the cooling fan change we were pretty close to last place (34th). By Sunday moring we were in the top 15.



The car took a beating on the track... some self imposed and some from others. We found the car had a large section of body filler.



Then we got the bad news... we were voted by the other team for the "Peoples Curse". Athough Jay said "This probably doesn't surprise you..." we were truly shocked. In fact several teams approached us post-announcement to say they didn't think that our team deserved the curse. But the people had spoken and we took our punishment good-naturedly At any rate, while driving  his last session of the event, Chris was black-flagged at 10:00am and brought in for our punishment. Here, Jay lays the law for the Curse.



The first "curse" was the "chicks with sledge hammers" treatment.



But... the girls couldn't do much damage since the director said they couldn't go after the motor/radiator or the windshield. They couldn't even knock the mirrors off. Cheesy So they brought out a Toy-Auto rock-crawler to try to crush the car. Note Bobo behind the wheel. The tranny wouldn't go into "park" and the emergency brake didn't work. So Bob is praying that the cage will hold while he holds his foot on the brake.









That was fun for them I'm sure... but it still didn't hurt the car!!! In fact, all it did was flatten the hood enough that it was easier to open. Cheesy So they called in the Safety Crew with the Jaws-O-Life...







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1996 Impala SS - not even close to stock
Kevin O
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2007, 01:06:36 PM »

This is unreal!   It must have been a great time!   Thanks for posting!   Waiting to see the outcome!

- KO
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LeadSSled
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2007, 01:08:57 PM »

Once the Curse was over... we all rode in the new convertable back to the pits:



During the Curse... #7 took a hit to the radiator and was knocked out... since this was one of the cars we thought should have been the curse... we all cheered as he rolled in, knowing he was done.



We did make an extra $200 for CAN... that's a bag of nickels on the hood that was thrown there during the curse by the team that won the Peoples Choice (prize was $1000 in nickels)... that bag dented the hood more that the chicks with slegde hammers.



A reporter came over and was hitting on Terry...



The rough racing and the Toyota truck had rubbed off a lot of our sticker work:



We checked the car over quickly and put Mark in and headed back out. But the whole time the "Curse" was being adminstered (40 minutes), the race was running and we lost another 80 laps - back to 15th.



We had one strange issue.... Mark came in with the temp gague pegged again.... we couldn't find a leak... but it was very low on water... we topped it off and it continued to run fine.



Car was still runnin good... Here's Mark chasing the imposters - The "Car and Driver Online" entry.






Chris M. then took over for Mark and took the checker for the team at 2:00pm - a full 24 hours since the race started. Here is a post race team photo:



Final Standings:



The winners - in an MK2 Sooprah.



The Hat and Glasses lasted the whole 24 hours...

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1996 Impala SS - not even close to stock
LeadSSled
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2007, 01:11:42 PM »

So we had a very good showing under the circumstances. Even with the adversity, we almost scored a top-10. We met our goal for the charity. As the recipient of the People's Curse, we can honestly say that people took note of us and are virtually assured of magazine coverage. We know for sure that Car and Driver, Road and Track, and Hot rod magazines were all there. Jay told us that this was the first time since he began running these 24 Hours races that he did not agree that the People's Curse recipient deserved destruction, and he thankfully was lenient on us compared to past Curse "winners". He thought that the car was aggressively driven, but that we did not play dirty. The other competitors just didnít like the big, fast, loud car that they couldnít pass. Go figure.

We completed 1965 laps (655 miles), used up 9 tires, burned 83 gallons of 93-octane gas, and dented every piece of sheet-metal on the car. It was awesome! We'll be back.

As a comparison, here are "before" and "after" photos of the car.



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Kevin O
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2007, 01:27:44 PM »

That's fantastic.   With all the coverage, I wonder how the event will evolve!     

Those LT1 cars are nearly impossible to kill - great choice of cars.   Just look at all the cabs and cop cars and what they go through.   Looks like a great time, thanks for taking the time to post the story and pics... I took the liberty of sharing it around the web with those who'll appreciate it.     Very cool stuff!    I'm jealous!    Maybe next year...

- KO
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Bill Howell
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2007, 06:14:49 PM »

We were very proud to be part of this event, in the form of helping out with Terry's sponsorship. This is a great event, for a great cause and Terry is just a terrific guy, how could we say no. We plan to be involved even more next year. Maybe this could be a cool event for you to cover Kevin. It has been a while since I have been to a 24 hour race, you up for it? I call shotgun if you are. Let's race...hehe
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LeadSSled
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2007, 03:57:06 AM »

That's fantastic.   With all the coverage, I wonder how the event will evolve! 

This is a relatively new event - the first one ever was in 2006. All of the previous races have been held in california and this one in Detroit was the first one not on the west coast. But it is taking off like wildfire and Jay announced that he is planning to run as many as 8 events in 2008 and is lining up more venues east of the Mississippi.
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rcktpwrd
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2007, 01:53:40 PM »

looks like it was a great time!  Cool
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