Infineon Raceway to Host 24 Hours of LeMons, March 26-27!
Infineon Raceway will host one of the most unique racing series in the country when the 24 Hours of LeMons visits Sonoma, March 26-27.
Proceeds from the race weekend, officially called "LeMons Sears Pointless," will be donated to the Sonoma Chaper of Speedway Children's Charities and benefit youth groups in Sonoma County.
Spectator tickets are $20 per day or $30 for a weekend pass. All tickets are all-access. Inspection and "BS Qualifying" are on Friday, March 25, which are free for spectators. To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE!
The endurance road racing series, which has 24 nationwide events on its 2011 schedule, is indeed founded on a particularly bad idea: all cars must be bought and prepared for no more than $500.
"America is the land of opportunity—all you need is one bad idea," says Jay Lamm, founder of the 24 Hours of LeMons.
Logic dictates that one can't get much of a car for $500—indeed, a panel of robed judges crack down on teams that attempt to push the limits—but LeMONS participants possess a knack for overcoming seemingly fatal mechanical disasters. General opinions on the $500 cap have evolved as a result: What once was considered impossible is now viewed as perfectly reasonable.
Of course, there will always be teams that push the limits of the $500 limit. LeMONS brings along a panel of expert judges—easily spotted by their powdered wigs and formal robes—to enforce the price cap. Though safety-related equipment like roll cages, tires, and brakes don't count toward the $500 total, teams that push the price limit in other areas are penalized with negative laps.
What makes for the best LeMons vehicle is open to a wide range of interpretation—teams have showed up with everything from VW Bugs to Lincoln stretch limos. Sturdy Mazdas, Toyotas, and BMWs are the most popular picks, but a huge variety of cars is guaranteed to be present at every race. In fact, many teams have intentionally avoided the mainstream choices just to set themselves apart from the pack.
The drivers are equally varied. With no previous racetrack experience or special training sessions required, LeMons drivers encompass everything from road-race pros to computer programmers. On-track incidents are met with swift justice— bad-driving penalties include welded-on airbrakes in the shape of farm animals, or interiors filled with hundreds of Little Tree air fresheners.
The LeMons grand prize is the Winner on Index of Effluency, which awards $1,501 to the team that performs the best with the most terrible car. Past winners include a motorcycle-powered Fiat and a Buick Regal dressed up to resemble a giant barbeque. The overall winner gets an even $1,500, but the team must accept the prize in canvas sacks full of nickels.
With the LeMons increasing in popularity, the competition for a spot on the grid has increased. The selection process is based entirely on the quality of the Team Concept provided with every application.
"If you described yourselves as 'five guys who love to race,' so what?" Lamm explains. "But if you're a 300-pound guy who promises to parade around the pits dressed as a giant baby, that's more memorable."
If you'd rather watch the spectacle from the sidelines, all LeMons events offer full paddock access to the public. One spectator, just before the green flag dropped, uttered "What could possibly go wrong?” a phrase that would turn into the unofficial motto of the entire series.
An event schedule, complete rules, and entry forms can be found at www.24hoursoflemons.com.
Saturday, March 26
7:30 a.m.: Gates open
10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.: Race session I
Sunday, March 27
9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Race session II
Noon: People's Curse
5 p.m.: Checkered flag
5:30 p.m.: Awards