Podium for Sale – Ethical Lapses at 24 Hours of LeMons

By Martin Swig

Acura Lemons Race Car - David SwigJay Lamm is a long-time friend. Back in 2006, when he first thought of “LeMons,” I encouraged him. I told him he should simply go ahead and do it; the sooner he started, the quicker he’d discover exactly how it should be done. “Just make your mistakes and move on.”

The first 24 Hours of LeMons at Altamont Speedway, near Livermore, California, was a huge success. I had never seen so many people having such a good time at any motorsports event. The wacky car decorations, off-the-wall penalties for driving infractions, and total improbability of anyone even enduring to the finish, all made it work.

There were some improvements needed, including the need to eliminate rough driving, and to find better tracks to run on. Jay made the necessary changes. Now, it’s five years later. The entries have gotten better and better. The best tracks compete to host a 24 Hours of LeMons event.

But there’s a nasty little secret that threatens the whole enterprise. At the outset, in a tongue-in-cheek way, Lamm encouraged entrants to bribe the B.S. inspectors – the guys who eyeballed each entry to see if it really was a $500 car, with just those modifications required to ensure safety. Cars suspected of being cheaters were assigned penalty laps. Twenty-dollar bills were taped to air cleaners. Bottles of wine were presented. All in good fun. The judges got to keep those bribes.

Now the B.S. inspectors are out of control. Here’s what happened to my son, David Swig, at the recent Infineon Raceway Sears Point 24 Hours of LeMons. He entered his Acura ex SCCA-ITx that had already run at LeMons and was disliked by the judges because it’s really quick. How David acquired it is important. For the second LeMons in 2007 he bought, for $450, a Toyota MR-2 off the street in Berkeley. He traded that car even-up for this Acura. So clearly the Acura is within the spirit of LeMons: $500 or cheaper, plus safety stuff.

At this LeMons’ tech inspection, motoring journalist Jonny Leiberman was serving as a judge. He proposed to David a 41-lap penalty, clearly stating that he “hated” the car. David countered with “would $100 for charity help?” Leiberman demanded $1,000 “on-the-hood.” David countered with “$200 for charity.” Leiberman refused and reiterated “$1,000 on-the-hood” (no mention of charity).

Krider Racing Acura IntegraIncidentally, the third-place finisher at this event, a previous winner, was an equally-prepared, almost identical Acura, also an ex-race car, that arrived in a three car trailer with a crew of at least a dozen. That car was assessed no penalty laps.

There’s also the matter of buying one’s way out of black-flag infractions. Jay Lamm claims to me that’s not possible, but many people came away from the drivers’ meeting thinking it was. Clear communication needed.

In this rant, I’m not pleading my son’s case. He can take care of himself. This is a plea for Lamm to take management control, to insist on ethical behavior and consistency from top to bottom. Without these elements, any organization will fail. I think 24 Hours of LeMons is a fabulous addition to the motoring hobby, so I want to see it thrive.

[Source: Martin Swig]

Show Comments (103)

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  1. Ok. I’ve been with lemons since the second AMP. I love the series even got a tattoo of the logo.
    Your sons car was a 25 hour of Thunderhill racecar owned by Fantasy Junction. I do the people’s curse and that car has been almost crushed a couple times. It is a cheater car in past and was I think a top ten finisher. Cars in Lemons get bad raps doesn’t matter who owns them, so That is What happened to your son.
    The 96 maxima that caused a rollover has been persicuted every race, even with new drivers.
    Krider racing the other Integra you were comparing to is slower and older and was a stock car brought to lemons. Lemons Is like all racing, good drivers, good crew and a prepped car wins this race.
    There is carswho have won once and never got top ten again. I’ve got a 6th place once and a few top twenty.
    Jay Lamm has plenty control of this organization.and its here to stay. Its good fun and not too full of those yuppy crybabies .
    There is one rule about “No whiners “

  2. I think you are taking the $1000 comment out of context. I have a feeling the reason a $1000 was thrown out there because no matter what, the 41 laps was going to stick. Had your son put the $1000 on the hood, everyone would have known he was there to win a race everyone else was there to accidentally win and the money would either be given to the race charity or returned. I have personally seen Jay, hand $100 back to a team and so you are not getting out of this. So the next questions, did he have receipts, did he get a residual value for the car, did he have parts that were “found on the shelf” or “given by friends” on the car. The Judges KNOW cars, you can try to get over on them but chances are you are going to get boned. Go race and stop trying to win and start trying harder to have a great time.

  3. Hi,

    I’m Jonny Lieberman, the motoring journalist (motor trend) with the ethical lapses that is single-handedly ruining LeMons.

    I just wanted to point out that if we hadn’t given Daivid’s car the 41 lap penalty the Integra would have been 85th place instead of 119th.

    Best,

    -Jonny-

  4. I’d also like to point out that David promises, every race, to bring a Chrysler K Car instead of that ex-ITx Integra. Every race, we tell him that we’re going to bring the Righteous Hammer of LeMons Justice down on the Integra and its not-even-close-to-plausible price tag if it shows up at the next race, and every time we follow through on our promise.

    Perhaps the example of the tequila-making dudes with the Spec Miata who got 1,000 BS laps at Infineon might help; even with 959 fewer laps than the (far cheatier) Integra, the Los Valiantes Tequila team not only didn’t complain, they let us use their Baja 1000 Olds 442 as a pace car.

    1. To Jay,Jonny,Phill and all of the crew of the 24hrs of Lemons,Thank guys this was more fun than any one should be aloud to have,with that been said I think the rules may need to change just a bit:
      How about penalising the 10 fastes cars:
      fastes car get 10 lapsand 100 lbs,secon fastes gets 9laps and 90lbs an so on. but hey is just for fun and we invite evreone to come to pit and have a shot of Tequila Los Valientes.

  5. I guess laps might make you feel inferior, but is it even about that? Not that I want 41 laps in our next race, but even if you had 1000 laps it’s about being on the track and having fun. If my team were really concerned about laps we would never enter! We are consistently crappy but we have a ball! If it were about the prize money go for one for Index … $1 more then winning the most laps and all you have to do is have an insanely crappy car and finish! Just get on the track and be competitive and keep your car from blowing up and have some fun!

  6. Dear Martin Swig- you are sooo far off base on this, I think you just scored a double wicket. How the hell does an admittedly EX-ITanything car fulfill the spirit of Lemons? No way, no how, not now not ever. I think your son must have gotten LeMons confused with Chumpcar when he offered a donation to charity. Someone needs to read the rules and maybe bring some 3×5 notecards with crib notes next time.

    Good Day sir! 🙂

  7. Bringing a no-theme, cheaty, ex-racer Integra to Lemons is clearly missing the point, and 41 laps is nothing.

  8. See rule 2.4, also 4.4.1

    As someone who participates in Lemons in the real spirit of the event, It bothers me a little that someone thinks bringing a real race car of any kind is a good idea. $500 or not, that is not cool. I can’t help but think you don’t really “get” it.

  9. Mr. Swig,

    I bet your kid’s Little League coach wouldn’t start your son even though he was the most talented player on the team.

    My team has been given laps just because Jay wanted to, we bribed and still got laps. Who cares? We were there to race and race we did.

    That’s what Lemons is about. If you want to reform racing why don’t you go talk to Bernie Ecelstone and get FI fixed, or Nascar to get the awful points system fixed, or see if you can get Indy back to it’s former glory.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

  10. The Fantasy Junction car is more cheatier-er than the Krider car (which arrived in a one car trailer). You can even see it in the pics above.

  11. I usually try not to get involved in these “Forum Wars” as things always seem to get “upside-down” but what the hell…

    I had the honor of being a guest judge at the 2009 Reno-Fernley LeMons and I got to take a close look at the white Integra which was owned by Fantasy Junction at the time. The car is an ex-NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill racecar. It has camber plates, coil-over suspension, dual adjustable struts, and a monster of an engine. My guess would be a V-tech Frankenstein motor to get the amount of power that it has. The car has been boned in the B.S. inspections multiple times and the judges even told the owners “Don’t bring it back.”

    The red Krider Racing Integra has stock suspension, no-coil overs, no adjustable struts, and a stock engine. These two cars are not equally prepped. The red Integra was purpose built from a tow-yard lien sale street car for the final Altamont 2008 LeMons. It has never been a real racecar. It didn’t arrive in a three axle trailer at Infineon. More importantly it didn’t get a single black flag all weekend, hence the third place finish.

    It seems that you would have more of the facts for your story since the photograph you “stole” for your article came from my RacerBoy blog at Speed:Sport:Life.com or Jalopnik where I have chronicled the life of the car. Nowhere is there any indication that this car was a previous SCCA ITB car. Our Nissan Sentra SE-R… well, that is a whole different story now. But we don’t run that car at LeMons (anymore).

    Sorry your son and you have a bad taste in your mouth from the experience at LeMons. Next time you guys get a healthy penalty with that car, just enjoy some of the vodka soaked gummie bears during the Saturday night pit party. It will make you forget all about it.

  12. Wait… wait… Hold the phone! This is truly shocking! A car race where they openly encourage bribing the judges is… uh… how d’ya say it… not fair??!?! Nuh uh!!! No way!

  13. WOW!
    I so envy you guys. The freakin northeast has nuttin! But, to address the “intent” of LeMOns. I Love it. In the 50s i raced my Singer in So Cal. It was my only car! I drove it every day and drove it to the race. I never trailered it. No, that is’nt right, I did once, coming Home, from Palm Springs after wiping out my front end in a shunt. I raced against people like John Von Neuman, Bill Pollack and even once against James Dean. Did I have a chance of winning? guess. But it wasn’t winning, it was racing. There were a few “winners” in my class that cheated to all hell. Fine, what did they prove? I mourn those days. The cameraderie, the excitement and the challenge of doing my best, not of winning. It seems that whenever something really good comes up, it takes practically no time before some ass holes ruin it. I wish you would do something here in New England. Lime Rock perhaps? I might even cash out an IRA and jump in.

  14. You and your kind will not be missed an any LeMons races. Rant on – it only helps to drive away those who have no clue what it’s all about and never will.

  15. If this car was so “hated” by the organizers and judges why was it even allowed to register?

    I’m fine with eliminating the bribery. Will continuing it have any bearing on my continued participation? Hell no.

    1. As you probably know Jay will allow just about anything that is safe to run. In fact most amateur sanctioning bodies are this way. LeMons just doesn’t happen to have a catch-all cheater class. To keep cheaters from prospering they get whacked with penalty laps. The People’s Curse is there to punish bad driving. There are checks and balances which work.

      I say enjoy the spirit of the series or go polish something.

  16. 1. Yep, you can buy your way out of your FIRST BF infraction, for a $100 gift to the Childrens’ Charity.
    This is a new idea and has gone over pretty well.
    It is also not a way to eliminate the BF, it just buys off the time spent in the penalty box. A second black flag will result in the inevitable time loss and possibly a driver change and of a second BF…
    2. Is the theme of that car “Look, I’m an ex-ITx racecar”? It would behoove you to put a Volvo-wagon body on top. Or better, an AMC Hornet Sport-about wagon body sectioned and franken’d on top. Otherwise get rid of the coil-overs, the tie bars, the adjustable anything, the nice headers, etc. and replace them with modified Junk-yard stock worn out parts before you expect to be treated nicely in the BS station.
    3. bringing a switchblade to a butterknife fight will not earn you any brownie points.

  17. LeMons is the deep bottom carve of the motor-sport world, man this is soul racing. Winning isn’t winning – the most fun is winning, exceeding your expectations is winning, cohesive teaming is winning.

    The ex-racecar fully defeats the purpose and premise of LeMons. The bribery is a part of the fun – a part of the circus atmosphere that makes this series so beloved.

    BTW – we run a total piece of crap and love every min. of it!

  18. Just bring a more “sensible” LeMons car back next time and run it to have fun. You know, like that pretty little yellow car in the background of the picture above. 😉 17th slowest on the track that weekend, somehow placing 38th overall, and while we’re sick and tired of being slow it is still a lot of fun. And if the BS judging does seem inconsistent and arbitrary at times, well good. I’d hate to be in a series where everyone parses the rules to the extent you see elsewhere. It’s more about the concept than the written rules.

  19. too bad it seems that this bit of motorsports fun is about to be ruined in a similar way that vintage racing has become all about the bucks not the petrol.. I don’t not why but there seems to be a segment of humanity that sees others enjoying themselves and makes it their business to disrupt

  20. We’ve raced one Lemons race, and had a great time, and are currently preparing for our next race. I raced dirt-track for several years, and I’ve seen cheaters ruin good racing for lots of guys, and even seen cheating shut down race tracks. I’ve also seen bitching and whining do the same kind of damage. IMO Jay pretty much has a good balance between the cheating and good-natured bribing and competitiveness of the participants. The no-whining rule was a great start. As long as the racers keep the spirit of Lemons in mind, and don’t show up with high-dollar pure race cars, Lemons will continue to thrive. What the hell is the point of showing up with an expensive-ass road rocket anyway? If you want to do that, everyone might as well drop their wallets in a washtub, and whoever has the fattest one wins. Then everybody can go home without ever having raced one lap.

  21. If you wish to avoid all of this hubaloo – bring a car to the Lemons in the true spirit of the event.
    We race a 1974 Capri and it’s a blast.
    We can help you find one for a song, and if you can place top 20 with it – you’ll have our full respect – and that of pretty much everyone else – i’m sure.

  22. If you show up w/ a “race car” and don’t incur the wrath of the Peoples Curse, I would consider that winning.

    I think bribes only really work when the car is slightly cheaty, meaning in the 1-10 penalty lap range. If you show up w/ a 500 HP small block in your POS, expect a penalty. Likewise, with a full (or even part) race suspension that’s made up of anything not made in China from ebay.

    The only thing more upsetting than cheaty cars not getting enough laps, is when the same cheaty cars eventually wear the judges down to the point they get zero laps, then go on to win.

  23. Any and all racing is about beating the rules with yourself and the car (this does NOT mean cheating). The rules for ANY race of any type are not all in written format!!!

    Rules for ANY racing organization of ANY type are twofold:
    1. It’s about money and recurring revenue. (not your $100)
    2. It’s about safety and not killing your providers of rule #1.

    PLEASE PLEASE note that these comments are a POSITIVE about racing AND LEMONS and are here to help explain it to those with a skewed vision of how to run a business.

  24. I get this point of view and hope that this article is seen widely. We ran a TRUE $500 car at the race; I learned it’s really frustrating to see the amount of favoritism playing out in LeMons these days.

    Your sons car might well be a $500 car. The Turbo Miata and the Ford 302 V8 powered cars, the Geo Metro, etc all seem to be somehow worth exactly $500. Or maybe those guys have the ‘hook-up’ with the judges and don’t get penalties – regardless of whether their motor sounds like it came out of a de-tuned NASCAR or their “junkyard” turbo setup has Garrett Custom written all over it.

    The LeMons field in CA has gotten a LOT faster the past year or so and it seems to be split into three groups: 1) the guys who know what’s up and come to win 2)the somewhat naive guys (like our team) who think LeMons is what you’ve read about online, come with $500 cars, think they could win but actually can’t and 3) a bunch of lethal folks without a clue who just want to get on a racetrack.

    For me, the race at Sears was discouraging. The guys who come to win have proper set ups that my team can never afford to match. Our car is fast, we’re consistent and decently prepared – we could do very very well except for the fact that we have to spend 99% of the time navigating through traffic in a car with what seems like almost no power. While we didn’t receive any black flags, we were forced to take unnecessary risks in almost every turn just so we wouldn’t be stuck behind a pack of slow guys thinking they were running the Indy 500.

    Perhaps Jay’s success is getting to his head, I’m not sure. However, I do think the organization seems misguided at this point. Almost 180 cars at Infineon was a joke, causing a Yellow what seemed like every lap. Judges/BS/Tech are completely inconsistent race to race. I hope Jay and crew really sit back and review what has gone on in recent races and come up with a plan for what they want LeMons to be going forward.

    1. You’re surprised that a bunch of rookie drivers in questionable cars on a race track with elevation changes in the rain resulted in a lot of yellow flags? I’m not.

      You’re right that there are different mindsets though. My team has pulled top 10 finishes twice. We know that we will never win with our level of preparation, equipment, and ability, but we don’t care. We do the best we can, get the car as fast and reliable as we can, and go have fun.

      The captain of the Spin-n-Out team is my co-worker, and I know that he has a lot more time, ability, and equipment than I do. I really wish I could compete with that level of preparedness. But just because I can’t, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a ball every time I’m out there.

      1. Never said I was surprised about the Yellows, I said they were a joke and the ‘racing’ was discouraging. Who shows up only to sit stopped on the track lap after lap or have multiple laps of full course yellow seemingly every hour?

        Why 180 cars? Slim it down to 125 or so, it will be safer and more fun.

    2. I agree about the number of cars.

      The ‘Garrett Custom’ was built by employees of Garrett in their spare time using PVC pipes and a rusty turbo they found out back. I recently picked up an 89 Ford 302 for $100 myself. And that Geo is a freakin’ Geo Metro. There are winning formulas out there, you just have to find them…

  25. Here’s a clue: don’t bring a car you know the judges hate. I say this after buying a turbo Miata after another team raced in at LeMons in T-Hill in 2008. It’s okay in ChumpCar, but not welcome back to LeMons without some major ridiculous engineering (heavy crap that slows it down) *and* a kick-ass crazy theme. Sure, it bummed me out, but I’m not going to be all righteous and use the rules to justify why we should be allowed. It’s ultimately judges’ decision, and I’m not the one with my ass on the line who will have to answer to the other 150 teams for allowing that car.

    Buying a podium? Was he really that close? As if a podium can ever be guaranteed: this is crap-can racing…you’re doing great if you *finish*! If racing for racing’s sake is the ultimate goal, might be best to look for a different series, you probably won’t have a good time here. LeMons is about antics, getting to know other insane gear-heads, and having some sweet-ass seat time on epic tracks. Bring on the fun and stay safe, ya’ll.

        1. It’s not. My team has 2 engineers, one mechanical and one electrical, 1 person who is a mechanic and has been for 40 years and everyone has been in racing for at least 5 years. I have the least amount of experience and I have been racing for 5 years. We sneaked a look inside of that car, there are a TON of parts that are worth thousands and thousands of dollars. Their 50 gallon fuel cell for example is somewhere around $3,000 since it MUST be an FIA approved fuel tank and that’s just the fuel tank.

          1. A lot of that is exempt. Fuel cells are exempt from the limit, and don’t offer anything other than a boost in safety.

            Our cage in our 90th placing car cost many times what the car did, same with the driver’s gear. When you add it all up, you’d think we’re more associated with the actual race teams we parody.

            I think this article just offers someone’s soured viewpoint, and lemon’s is in no danger of losing its fun. 180 cars on track is an absolute thrill (despite the many yellows, who’d ever imagine that a weekend of rain at Sears Point covered in a million crap cans would result in extended cautions), and if you’re looking for podium finish racing, look at NASA, SCCA, ProAutosports, or go big in GrandAM, IMSA, etc. Lemon’s offers thrills and a fun environment for those who don’t take themselves too seriously.

            1. 180 cars is just dangerous. Fuel Cell aside, the suspension and engine modifications are ridiculous in that car. I was there 3 weekends before the buttonwillow lemons in December with a fellow teammate getting some seat time in and the BMW in question was there and I got to look inside of it a little. THe engine, the suspension and chassis modifications are far beyond the $500 by a HUGE stretch, no matter how much they forge it to look like its not.

              1. Are you talking about the Spin-n-out BMW? The one with SAND BAGS in the trunk because they couldn’t figure out how to make it handle right after they stripped a bunch of weight out of it? They have 16 gallons of fuel in that car, not 50. They won because they were clean, fast most of the time, and they have one driver with a bladder or steel who stayed on track for 5 hours without fueling while hypermiling around in the rain (see sandbags…)

                You should try whining less.

                1. Their car also has stock shocks/struts, and springs that were cut and welded back together. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes up on a lift.

          2. Uh, we don’t have a fuel cell. Judges love to hate on e30’s and our’s was thoroughly inspected. It’s bone stock. And not that fast.

            We won by clean driving. No penalties.

            Again, our car isn’t that fast. There were a ton of other cars that are way faster on lap times (check mylaps.com).

            We won by using a bone stock e30 that gets great gas mileage. Oh yeah, and a ghetto ass airbrake made from (stock) power window motors.

            Come by our pits and hang out, and check out the car…. or just sit on a computer and speculate. But either way, you’re welcome in our pits anytime.

  26. Here are a few of my thoughts as a competitor.

    First off, I’m not going to reveal my name because, let’s face it, the next time I’m out there I’ll get dinged if it gets recognized.

    I’ve competed in a few Lemons at this point and as fun as it is, there are some really pathetically seedy underbelly shenanigans going on. For example, the E30 that has won the last Buttonwillow and Infineon Lemons is absolutely and clearly a cheater car. It’s a fully prepped race car with thousands of dollars worth of parts on there. Their 50 gallon fuel tank alone is probably worth more than the car it’s attached to. But why doesn’t it get all those penalty laps? Because, and this is all conjecture but you guys can confirm for me, they are probably friends with the Lemons executives.

    Jay Lamm and crew are quite clearly enjoying their “fame” at the moment as Lemons catches on. But it is taking a turn for the Amy Winehouse type of attention. There’s a lot of things that are happening that we simply can’t argue with because they say so, and I guess that’s a part of the attitude and we really can’t do anything about it, but I think that’s also what gives them their boners.

    I know I don’t really fit into this kind of crowd, I’m much too young to appreciate the kind of one-liners that Jay Lamm loves to spam; the kind that goes on T-shirts or those novelty wood plaques that you put on your doorstep. But a lot of the circus atmosphere can be endured until something stupid like allowing 180 cars on track happens, or not sending home cars that have spun 2 or 3 times or have terrible communication. Or not telling any of the 1st timers at Lemons on the first day about how to fuel properly with fire retardant suits on and mentioning it the second day as a reminder. There are a lot of MAJOR issues that need to be addressed before we can start nitpicking.

    I think it’s a mix of greed, weird issues that they developed from getting bullied in high school and having a taste of “power” after never having any before. I mean honestly, the guy with the pink beard clearly has power issues. I saw him yell “fuck you” at another racer for no provocation other than he was on camera and trying to flex his nuts.

    Enjoy the power trip, gentlemen and I’ll see you at the next Lemons. Also, to the guy who got the Lemons tattoo, what the hell is wrong with you?

      1. “You clearly don’t get it” must be translated as “I can’t argue against your point so I’ll insult you”.

        Nice try, Amy.

  27. I’m David Swig, driver of the #81 Integra. I thought I would respond to some of the comments, clearly my dad’s article has struck a chord.

    Rob Krider: please don’t feel the comparison to your car is an attack on your team in any way. It is just the closest comparable entry in the field. I don’t believe we’ve met personally, but we’ve raced together many times and I am very familiar with your team. You guys always race clean and it is a pleasure to be on the track with you. I hope we get the chance to tell some racing stories/lies over a beer or at least some vodka-soaked bears sometime.

    I’ve been an 11-time participant in Lemons, including the first race at Altamont in 2006. Before that I was involved with the Double 500, the road rally that inspired the Lemons concept.

    The early Lemons races had a distinctly different vibe. Lemons was a place to enjoy old cars that wouldn’t be welcomed in any other racing series. I observed a change at the end of 2008 at Thunderhill when people started taking the racing far more seriously, the cars got significantly faster, and the judging process became downright nasty at times specifically with the addition of Jonny Lieberman. What do you race, Jonny?

    The much-maligned #81 Acura was indeed traded straight-up for my original Lemons car, a 1986 MR2, which was well-within the Lemons rules. The judges refuse to accept this. The Acura was a successful SCCA race car years ago. Today, however, it is an obsolete racer that is so beat to hell, it is not welcomed anywhere else. I can’t bring it to NASA or SCCA in its current condition. So what to do, junk it at Pick N Pull? Or run Lemons till it croaks? The choice is clear to me. The judges would seem to prefer I junk the car. So why not just crush it and save me the trouble?

    To insist that I spend more money to build another car – that seems defiantly against the Lemons spirit, no?

    I have immense respect for Jay Lamm and the series he’s created, however I believe the paying participants should be treated with a similar level of respect. In this regard, the series has gone astray.

    1. And seriously, a competitive SCCA car doesn’t mean anything. Depending on the class it was in it could simply mean it has chassis bracing and struts and springs. That doesn’t give you all that much of an advantage on the track where people are hiding coilovers, fuel tanks and giant engines. This is an endurance race, consistency is far more important than speed per lap.

    2. Thanks for bringing yourself to this conversation, David, and telling your side. Just in addressing your sentence “To insist that I spend more money to build another car – that seems defiantly against the Lemons spirit, no?” is easily answered: simply because you met the $500 rule doesn’t mean it’s what Jay wants in his series. And it *IS* his series. You wanna play in his game, it’s gonna be by his rules.

      And this is indeed Jay’s game: he’s the one with his ass on the line with the track owners, the insurance companies, the one putting together the security & medics & corner workers. Sure, he’s making money, it’s a business. But his word is law. You don’t like it? Don’t do business with LeMons. Maybe there’s favoritism, maybe not. I don’t know the E30 team or the car. But it’s not like it won by a large margin. The MetroGnome was gaining on it, yet no one’s complaining about the MetroGnome. Why?

      My question for you is did you already know Jay’s & the judges’ opinion of the Acura before trading your MR2 for it? If you did, why choose that car? And if you didn’t, perhaps some creative engineering & theme could have appeased the judges. It’s better to acquire your “get out of jail free” card in advance by being in communication with Jay & Co…which is why our Miata hasn’t been back to LeMons.

      1. Hi Kelley –

        Appreciate your comments. Yes, it is indeed Jay’s game, and we play by his rules. While I don’t always agree with the rules, I *love* racing at Lemons which is why I’ve been back 11 times. I enjoy it more than any other car activity I’m involved with – and that’s saying a lot.

        ****PLEASE NOTE: Penalty laps are NOT the overriding point of this article – at least as far as I’m concerned. The problem is the extremely negative attitude of one judge in particular and his willingness to accept cash bribes. This is where I (and the author) have a problem with the series. I see Jonny did not bother to comment on any of that.

        The Integra may not be what the organizers want to see, and in that case, they have the sole right to reject my entry. To answer your question – yes, I was fully aware the Acura had a stigma associated with previous owner/drivers.

        Your comments re- “creative engineering and theme” are also well taken and will be implemented when we introduce the Mk III. You’ll have to wait till October for that (if we get accepted!)

        P.S. Jonny, I’d welcome an opportunity to chat over a beer and bury the hatchet. In the end we all share the same hobby and it IS supposed to be about fun.

    3. I race nothing, save for the occasional 27-foot Lincoln Limo and Maserati Quattroporte.

      Why don’t I race? I’m too busy counting my bribes! Full accounting, with 180 cars at Sears Point two weeks ago, I pocketed $71!

      And my wife let me keep $21 of it.

      Anyhow, I go out of my way to try and ruin LeMons for everyone. Glad to see it’s working.

      1. @Jonny

        that is a pretty tooly response if I ever read one.

        and your refusal to respond to David’s offer to bury the hatchet says a lot about you as a man.

        your wife must be so proud!

          1. @jonny

            “This one doesn’t.”

            this made me laugh like little girl.

            with one little statement, you have reinforced on so many levels who you are as a man.

            pretty much EVERY story has multiple sides. usually more than 2 sides. everyones world-view is different, so it doesn’t matter how “black and white” the story is to you, to every observer – it is slightly different.

            also, anyone who offers to “bury the hatchet” is DIRECTLY implying that there are underlying issues – stuff that happened BEFORE the situation at hand.

            like i said, your wife must be proud – her husband is always right!

    4. You’re missing the point. My dad can give me his old race car for $500, but that doesn’t mean you can race Lemons in it. You are driving a race car, and whining about it. Period.

      The guys (Spin N out) that won are lucky idiots. They have a stock engine, stock suspension, and stock gas tank, and couldn’t figure out how to keep the rear end from sliding, so they put sand bags in the trunk. SANDBAGS!! Classic. Their car was slow as shit too, so you must be really slow. I passed those guys in my total piece of crap Mustang all over the place. I heard they won by driving slow and conserving gas….

      So now I’m looking for a $500 Prius!!!

  28. Lemons is pure fun in Michigan. Yeah, there are some questionable $500 cars on the track, but it is blatently at the judges bribable discretion as to the penalty, its in the rules. I am for strict enforcement of the “No Whiners” rule. If you can’t follow the rules or accept the consequences of not following the rules, you really shouldn’t race Lemons. There is nothing any more or less “fair” about this series than there is in any other form of racing. Lemons is for having fun, not serious racers, if it isn’t any fun, don’t do it.

  29. If everyone i read is complaining about favoritism…check your local weekly track. i promise its worse. we did 1 lemons event. in an unclaimed chopshop raid 91 integra. 200 bucks from the tow yard that wanted it gone. reading the articles leading up to the event…i actually thought the rusty dcsport header would draw criticism. it did a little. but they let us go when they saw the stock automatic trans and threw us in the “a” fast class. out of 120 cars…110 at least were faster. thank god for the cadillac with the screaming tranny pump….we may never have passed anyone otherwise.(great call on index btw) but my team (my dirt track pit crew…total of 0 laps prior to race) had a great time and laughed all the way home. we wanted to have fun. and we did. so irrelevant of the lap count….we won. its all about fun. and it delivered. thanks to all involved.

  30. Who cares who wins or loses. I’ve raced all over the world – never will you find the spirit of racing anywhere like we have it at LeMons.

    You have larger issues in your life if you come to a Lemons race and complain that some got away with cheating more than you. Take your SCCA built – lame ass, racecar to another event.

    Better yet, go buy a Yugo, keep your budget under $500 and join the fun at Lemons.

    b

  31. As co-captain of the #81 Integra team, I feel compelled to add my two cents. It is no secret that the quality of entries in the Lemons series has improved immensely over the last couple years. The performance gap between comparable cars (E30s, Miatas, 944s, Integras, etc) has become much smaller. Our Integra, admittedly a well-prepared car, does not boast the same competitive advantage it once did. Unfortunately, the car’s stigma prevails above all else.

    Anyone under the impression that we choose to bring an ex-racecar to win the race is sorely mistaken. First off, we bring the Integra because it’s the only Lemons car we have, and because Lemons is the only event that will accept it. Furthermore, anyone familiar with our team knows we have a decidedly bare-bones approach that epitomizes the early days of Lemons. We don’t use in-car radios and the requirement that 3 people be present for fueling means the guy getting sandwiches at Angelo’s better be back before the car comes in! Our strategy is to not run into anything and hope we don’t miss the driver’s arm gesture indicating he’ll be coming in next lap. Our box of “tools” consists of some zipties, paper towels, a crowbar, and Windex, because hey, it’s not like we have the ability to fix anything if it breaks anyway. To suggest that we are “cheating” is laughable.

    My first racing experience was at Altamont. Before my first stint, in an effort to calm my nerves, I was told, “Just go out there and drive around the track. Don’t hit anything or get hit, because we can’t do a damn thing about it if you do.” My brother and I have 21 Lemons races between us, and our approach hasn’t changed.

  32. Well said, Howard. Here’s to the time-tested “choo-choo” method of driver-to-crew communication.

  33. If the only way you can have fun at LeMons is by taking the overall win, you’re not going to have a good weekend. Likewise, if you think judicial bribes can really help a cheater win (or that Jonny’s thousand-bucks-for-zero-laps offer was serious), you haven’t been paying attention. The BS inspection is as much about theater as it is about car inspections, because “real” racing takes itself too damn seriously.

    I think the real problem here is that, for some reason, “serious” racers want the bragging rights that allegedly come with winning a LeMons race (though in the words of Seth of Pendejo Racing, “Bragging about winning LeMons is like bragging about cleaning your toilet twice in the same day”) and so the stakes keep getting higher and more stressful. It’s exciting watching the top contenders go for the win late on Sunday, but there’s a lot more than that battle happening at a LeMons race.

    Like it or not, POSRacing, Race Hard Race Ugly, Eyesore, Red Rocket Ratnest, and all the other truly dominating teams get all those wins because they drive so well, not because their cars are made of cheatonium. We sweat them ruthlessly during BS inspections, and they come out unscathed because they have their papers in order and their stories straight.

    On the other hand, teams that show up thinking they’ve found some loophole (e.g., creating a corporation to sell themselves a $5000 car for a dollar, selling a high-buck race car from one teammate to another, using hot aftermarket parts “just lying around the shop,” and many other tricks) will find that we don’t need a rulebook to hammer them with a lot of BS laps. That’s where the capricious and arbitrary nature of the LeMons BS inspection works best; if we don’t think a car fits with the spirit of the race, we bring the hammer down. We look at what’s going to make the race the most fun for the team of beginners in their shitcan Mazda 323, the freaks with the Wienermobile, AND the super-skilled drivers in the quicker cars.

    LeMons is several races going on at once. You can go for the overall win, you can go for maximum fun seat time on a race track, or you can go for legend status by building an MR2 with a radial aircraft engine. All are equal in our eyes.

    But back to David’s Integra: What happened was that he broke his oft-repeated promise to bring a car more in the spirit of LeMons, and we zapped him with some laps. Those laps were going to stick no matter what.

    1. Ok.

      So it does come down to how well you cheat then. But anybody who knows anything about racing knows that. I guess my concern is more along the lines with why the judges are being such assholes? I mean, really is there a need to say, “FUCK YOU” to a competitor who is has given no provocation to the judge?

      1. We have to be assholes in the penalty box or we’d spend an hour debating with every driver who swears he or she has been framed by the corner workers, or every driver who thinks his team can’t compete with the race leaders because the leaders MUST BE CHEATING.

        As for yelling at racers, I only do that when they’re my friends and I’m messing with them, or in the very rare occasion in which some racer snaps and starts talking about vigilante justice for the other driver who supposedly ran him off the track. Since we didn’t have any of the latter incidents at Infineon, I assume you saw me horsing around with someone who know I wasn’t being serious.

        I’m sorry that you had a bad time at the event, because the whole point of LeMons is to let every racer feel like he or she is competing. Maybe you’re competing for a Class C win, or with the driver in the Grand Prix that’s just about as fast as you, or with the other Charlie Sheen-themed teams… or maybe you’re one of the crazy few competing for the overall win. If you’re in the last group, you’re going up against teams that not only have years of hardcore racing experience but, in most cases, at least a half-dozen LeMons races under their belts. Even if your team is fully stacked with pro drivers (which happens frequently when we race in South Carolina, thanks to all the NASCAR guys in nearby Charlotte), you probably aren’t going to crack the top five your first time out in LeMons. You need top drivers, a perfectly reliable car, a fast pit crew, and enough LeMons experience to be able to go fast on a crowded track among racers whose skill levels range from utter rookie to 30-year race veteran.

        I don’t know if there’s anything we can do to tone down the level of competition among the dozen or so teams per race that have a realistic chance of contending for an overall win at the West Coast events. Mandatory penalty laps for previous winners? Make them take apart their cars after the race? We’ve tried dyno-ing several top contenders at Thunderhill, confiscating the car before they have a chance to detune it, and the horsepower numbers have always come out legit.

        1. Look.

          I’ll come clean. It was our driver who was yelled “fuck you” at. We don’t know you guys. We aren’t friends. We got mistaken for another team the judges were peeved at and got screamed. Whoever the judge was screamed at our driver asking him a question and when our driver tried to answer he didn’t even make out the first word when judge pink mutton chops yelled, “fuck you” at him. We were all a little appalled but figured he was flexing his dick for the camera. That’s a bit much/assholish for an infraction.

          1. I think you’re confused. Phil’s the Judge with the pink mutton chops. I just have a regular colored mustache. Randomly yelling “FUCK YOU!” at someone is something Phil would never do. That’s much more in line with my character.

            1. Nope. I was standing right there when Phil yelled, “Fuck you” at our driver. We were appalled. I think it was because of the cameras in his face wanting him to make a big nut flexing show out of it. Either way, it was uncalled for and makes him a huge fuckwad.

              1. Look, I’ve judged almost 30 races standing next to Phil. He would never do that.

                I however make it a point to tell at least a dozen racers per event to go fuck themselves.

                I’m the huge fuckwad, I promise you.

    2. Thanks for the perspective Phil –

      “Likewise, if you think judicial bribes can really help a cheater win (or that Jonny’s thousand-bucks-for-zero-laps offer was serious), you haven’t been paying attention.”

      The only things I take seriously at LeMons are safety and having a seriously awesome time.

  34. We brought a true $500 car to our first ever race at Thunderhill last year and we’ll never do that again. For sure, we made the most of it, and there was still fun despite being passed 20 times a lap and driving “from the rear view mirror”. We’ve since dropped any plans to bring back the same car, despite it being built up. There’s no chance of that car ever competing at LeMons – no chance of ever passing anyone – and so we’ve cut losses and built up a new car, one that hopefully is solidly in middle pack!

    We’re not looking to win; just to have a solid mid-pack good time!

  35. How about this….If you don’t like it, don’t spend the money. Drive your car around the block and enjoy the view from there. We participated in our first race with mud and snow tires. Quick to learn that those tires don’t quite stick well on a racetrack. Do we whine about having to buy racing tires to keep up, or do we just buy racing tires….Racing is about trying to win, have fun trying to win, fixing your car when it breaks, or striving to finish in the top ten. Lemons provides “racing” and a a side show as well. When your kid played baseball, did you complain that the coaches were “too into winning”. Life is about FUN and COMPETITION. Jay Lamm provides both. Long live Lemons! From one of the teams who respect the Lemons system.

    1. You sound a an absolutely reasonable and mature adult with a viewpoint that provides both a detailed and well thought out perspective that provides a great space to grow from. Thank you.

  36. Did anybody see Bernie walking up and down the F1 paddock spraying cars with the Bribed stencil last weekend?

  37. I think it’s hilarious some of the posts here that angle towards complaint think they need to cheat to win/havefun/finish/get into a top spot. A HUGE key to lemons veterans getting faster and more refined and somehow seem to be worth more than he $500 limit is the RESIDUAL VALUE. You have to request one, but once you have it, you usually can clear up some budget to make minor improvements. It took a saab900 8 Races-worth of refinement and some excellent excellent driving to win a single race in the east (versus super-competitive cali races) I love the camaraderie, competition, and community that this series had built, and part of that is learning that cheating doesn’t actually improve your chances any, if at all. You want to keep that integra and get zero BS laps? re-body the whole car as a Lancia Hatch and call it the “Lancia Integ-rallye Group B Speshul”

  38. I tell you what I think ruins the spirit of LeMons…..all this crap!!! Really…how much response to this article is crazy….why is it taken so seriously???

    Jonny Libermann was demanding a $1000 bribe to wipe out a 41 lap penalty??? I don’t pretend to know the man nor was I there when this happened, but, seriously, does anyone here really believe that he was looking for $1000 to stick in his back pocket to clear 41 BS laps off a cheaty car??? Come on!

    All this about how LeMons has lost its original romance, about teams that are ruining it with cars that have super engineering abilities to stick motor cycle engines into passenger seats, ghetto turbos on Miata’s etc. Teams who have amazing ability to build fast cars within the guidelines, out of a piece of junk that really shouldn’t be on a track in the first place.

    Yeah, absolutely, that seems to be a part of this series.

    But you forget about the teams like us, with a one car garage, no tools, no access to high end machinery, or fully loaded shops, or ability to arrive with a semi-truck full of spares. Yet Lemons still accepts us with open arms, over and over and over again. We arrive with the same POS, with no upgrades to make us faster or better or more competitive. And I guarantee you that 80% of the teams that turn up to these races are the same.
    If Jay Lamm and his crew hadn’t put this thing together and ran it in the manner they have….muppets like us would never have had the chance to do something like this.

    Yes there are people turning up at these events who have a ton of money, equipment..pits that would make F1 teams embarrassed , but from my experience, for the most part they have learned to check their egos at the gate. And they are really accommodating and helpful to the guys like us who turn up in the pit next to them with a piece of crap on a U-Haul trailer!!!
    There is absolutely no other race series that such a shower of rookies can take part in, have this much fun and feel as welcomed in. We are still using our Chiltons manual to fix the thing, but I don’t believe there is another other event we could take part in that would actually celebrate that!!

    Regarding the teams that are doing their amazing engineering to race as fast as they do with the shite that they have…… rather than deride them as cheaters or ruining the spirit, we find these teams to be an absolute inspiration. For example, to see a home made and engineered Honda 600 with a V-twin motor cycle engine wedged into it, buzz around Thunderhill…. blow up as often as it did, get fixed and then get back out again was, to me, a sight to behold. That was friggin’ impressive.
    The fact that these guys had the ability, equipment and facilities at their disposal to create this thing, doesn’t make me feel they are cheaters or that they don’t belong in this series…..what they did amazed me. I saw them fix this thing over and over and over…….they knew what they were doing. They are the guys that us shower of newbies aspire to be. They came nowhere near winning, but they made a hell of an impression on me at least!!!

    To turn up in a pre-built ex-race car, however obsolete it may be for SCCA or whatever, and expect to get the same respect from competitors or judges…..in fairness, that’s expecting a little much. And has been mentioned many times….outside the spirit of the event.

    Here’s a deal for ya….our car is for sale right now….$50 gets you the car, $500 for roll cage, seat, spares etc, etc…. As is, I can guarantee no issues with the judges when it comes to BS. Come take it off us and join the fun!!!

  39. After thinking about this a little bit more, two things bother me.

    1) Swig clan has totally omitted the history of their former illegal race car and LeMons BS inspection. Like the time when I offered David the chance to walk away with just 5 laps, or flip a nickel. Heads, no laps. Tails, 1,200 laps. David chose to flip, and it was tails.

    2) I only asked for $1,000. Next time it’s $2,000.

  40. If any of the Dos Equis Porsche 944 guys are reading this, we had a blast racing with you at Infineon – you guys drive the bejeezus outta that thing!

    Speaking of history, did I mention that we ran an Isuzu I-Mark (basically just a Lotus) at Thunderhill, twice? Where’s the love?

    1. So you lament a piece of shit E30 with cautious drivers and sandbags in the trunk, but give a shout out to some guys in a fricking Porsche?

      That Porsche was so much faster than the winning car. I know because the Porsche passed me like lightning, and the e30 was a little pokey around the track.

      Are you just a fair weather hater, and only hate who won?

      Wow, have your cake, and eat it too!

  41. Blahahhaha! OMG! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
    I have accomplished many things in my life, but somehow having someone claim that the Lemons car I built is “CLEARLY a race car” made me feel an intense sense of accomplishment.
    If only my arms were longer so I could pat myself on the back!
    But then I read this from the same guy: “It’s a fully prepped race car with thousands of dollars worth of parts on there. Their 50 gallon fuel tank alone is probably worth more than the car it’s attached to.”
    And my bubble was burst because you are clearly lying and have no idea what you are talking about. So sad. If only I knew your real name, I could educate you on the matter.

    Listen guys, fast cheaty cars don’t win Lemons because fast cheaty cars don’t win Lemons. OK, maybe the Eyesore Miata, but thats it. Just that one. 🙂 Love You guys (but really… Hate You Guys).
    Our best time is consistently 4-5 seconds off the lead times. Our car is clearly not the fastest. We just milk everything we can out of it, but I assure you, everything on that car is 100% stock junk yard parts aside from the shocks which we bought new and cheap and stayed well under the $500 mark and I would bet pinks on it that you couldn’t prove me wrong. Oh wait, Spark plugs and an oil filter which added up to $9.
    I can also tell you this after 2 wins…. Its not all its cracked up to be. The stress isn’t worth it. I’d much rather have the time of my life duking it out for 85th place without a care in the world than stress out over winning a crap can race. Not to say we aren’t going to try. But if we are given a bunch of laps, I’m not gonna cry about it. I’m gonna race the guy next to me and have fun with it. Thats why I do it.
    This is my priority list if anyone cares:
    1. Driver Safety
    2. Bringing back a usable car for the next guy
    3. Have fun
    4. Actual performance
    Apparently, that leads to winning.
    Out!
    J.

  42. For all those who lament my “lack of understanding” let me remind you that I was there from the pre-beginning. If you will re-read my original words, and PAY ATTENTION, you will reach the last paragraph and see that my plea is for Jay Lamm to tighten up his management to ensure the Lemons survives and thrives. Even magic requires discipline.
    I named Leiberman because I thought he was WRONG in his solicitation of $1000. In his reply comments, he hasn’t claimed he was joking. I appreciate his honesty.
    I just started writing stuff for SportsCarDigest. They told me they had A LOT of readers. All of you have confirmed that. Thanx, Martin Swig

    1. There in the beginning or not, what you’re not getting here is that this IS the result of Jay tightening up his management. These “issues” you describe defines Lemons. This is the way Jay wants it. Don’t like it, race elsewhere. Maybe someday that attitude will kill Lemons. But so far, its working. Don’t fix what aint broke. Now everyone stop proving how boring your life is, step away from the computer and go wrench on your car. Reno is just a few weeks away.

  43. Gentlemen … this is the first I have heard of this event … and after having done the Targa Newfoundland twice … a similar bring what you can event … I am going to get a team, get a car, and join you folks.

    I promise no whining … however am looking forawrd to the Russian Gummy Bears.

    I have been impressed by the humor in these posts … you have some really talented scribes racing these not so clapped out beasties.

    Cheers from Canada … bb

    1. Absolutely not true!  

      I done both lemons and Chump,  the lemons events were more yellow flag parade than racing. and the value of the cars vs the penalties, clearly showed that penalties were given out (or not) based on favoritism and bribes.  it really seemed that actual racing was discouraged, unless you had a really fast car to pass someone quickly on a straight you couldn’t pass because if they saw two cars next to each other in a corner, a yellow flag would get thrown and the car that didn’t brake harder and fall behind got a black flag.  

      In Chump there is no bribing and they actually let you race!  they limit the entries so there is room to race.  and cars are penalized on value not what you claim you paid for it. I found it much more fun to be racing than watching people do stupid things like writing on the car 1000 times. or getting a black flag because someone ran into you, admitted it was their fault, and you still having to do a penalty. 

      I have seen none of the ego issues arrogance or favoritism at chump events that are prevalent  at lemons events.

  44. “I just started writing stuff for SportsCarDigest. They told me they had A LOT of readers. All of you have confirmed that. Thanx, Martin Swig”

    Anything else you want to tell us about YOURSELF. Congratulations on your writing job. I will stick to my orginal comments.

  45. If you’re bribing with money, you really miss the point of all this. Our bribes have included granny porn, a cheesecake, Trapper Keepers, an Evel Knievel action figure, and a The Stig electric toothbrush (with twin-bristle action).

  46. Gentlemen and Ladies –
    Although I haven’t had the opportunity to race in the LeMons series – hopefully I’ll have a car together for next year- I’m pleased to see that though there are plenty of differing opinions you all just want to race! Recent articles and news stories seem to be stressing the ‘crazy looking ‘ cars driven by guys in clown costumes being penalized by having their racers tarred and feathered..really? I hope it’s more about the chance to race fellow enthusiasts and less about the ‘sideshow’. Thanks and hope to meet you all soon…

    1. the clown costumes and tar and feather is what its about. scca is about racing fellow enthusiasts. if you take yourself too serious…..why bother

  47. I just read this whole thing from end to end and i just have a few comments.

    1st. Mr Swig there is no “Nasty Little Secret” you talk of and should have done your home work before putting such a comment in type.

    2nd. I don’t know how old your boy is but maybe it is time he took care of his own problems and he would learn something.

    3rd. Always try to resolve things outside of this type of venue because going to the public for there voice usually backfires on you ask any politician.

    4th. To those who think Jay is getting a big head. It is more like a head ache from dealing with the same type BS again and again and again.

    5th What Jay makes financially doing this is none of our business because he is the guy that took all the risk and will therefore gets the reward. And that my friends is how business works.

    6th. The judges who put up with our crap,lies,whining,bullshit,stories and all around driving stupidity deserve way more than 71.00 bucks.

    7th. Maybe what Jay should give out for first place is a brand new toilet and give the cash out to tenth or twentieth finisher.

    So suck it up Nancy, get in your car and drive.

    Pendejo

  48. Despite these comments, it all adds up to less moaning and backbiting than in F1 plus its own great version of anything-goes.
    We’re therefore offering the organisers the possibility of partownership of our new Eff Won(copyright) series and management of it. This will be for any 4wheel car, no engine or tyre limits, no hightech aero, no driver aids, any driverbackground or age, max car cost ‘modest’. A few ‘star’ drivers may be invited to put their reputations on the line in guestdrives. Gainsayers who cry ‘too fast to be safe’ will be politely invited not to attend or watch, since undoubtedly it will be more risky than present formulae.
    But thats also why a huge number of people will want to watch it, hence  huge TV audiences, hence huge prizes for winners. Potential investors and car entrants and teams are invited to contact us, including of course Lemons participants.

    William Jones, Eff One Group             email:[email protected]

  49. Somehow i missed this article the first time around…

    I submit that if you “get” LeMons, you only need to look at the author’s picture and read his bio to understand that he isn’t going to “get it”… a guy like this is genetically predisposed to win, at all costs. He founded the very rally that inspired the LeMons people to create LeMons….

  50. I’ve raced a dozen times at Lemons. We have the same car, same setup, same judges. We have already given around $1500 in entry fees so there’s no money for a bribe; besides, it’s not ethical. We have received 0 penalty laps up to 21 laps. How does that figure?? 21 laps at say 2:30 per lap is a 52.5 minute penalty. Our best finish was 33. I’ve raced Chumpcar also. In Chumps, if you get hit, or go one wheel off, or 4 wheels off you don’t get a black flag. Read Chump rules and you’ll know exactly how many penalty laps your going to get before you even show up! Lemons is anybody’s guess…so we all have to tip-toe around Phil and the other judges. Try not to piss them off or they will take all your fun away!!

    Saying that..Lemons is exciting and there’s always someone on the track that will be near your lap times! Oh..and at Chumps..we got lap penalties but, we knew that going in. Air box, two sway bars, exhaust, etc..

    Then…I love racin!! Nothing compares to getting passed.. hanging in there.. and 2 laps later you pass that guy back…and a battle ensues!!! Yeehaw!!

  51. i did 1 lemons race in 2012 and that was very boring for me. at the time it was the biggest attendance yet for lemons i think. 200 cars or more at thunderhill. it’s a freaking parking lot out there. so freaking boring as there was just too many cars to have any fun and i just drag race everyone down the front straights and then park it in the corners because there is no room to pass anyone.

    the bribing the judge crap is funny sometimes but gets boring fast too. i have no desire to race lemons again. especially not at the really high price. – come on the cars are suppose to be $500 but each entry fee is already $600? plus $175 per driver now? what a RIP OFF!! WAY TOO GREEDY now days. i certainly hope something else comes along…

    i’ve been hearing about LUCKY DOG RACING and although i haven’t run with them yet it seems much more sensible…