24 Hours of Lemonspublic - created 07/24/06
WHEN: October 7-8, 2006
WHERE: Altamont Motorsports Park, Tracy CA
COME AGAIN? This is a weekend-long race for cars purchased, fixed up, and race-prepped for a total of $500 or less. Each team must survive the Fragile Old-Lady Mannequin Slalom, the Brick On the Gas Pedal Test, and other qualifying rounds; race sessions on Saturday and Sunday are bracketed by an all-night party with massage tables, hot tubs, barbecue, drive-in car movies, etc.; after 24 hours, the gala awards ceremony will present trophies, plaques, and winner's purses paid out in nickels.
WHAT IS A $500 CAR, EXACTLY? A car that reaches the starting line for a grand total investment of $500, including purchase and preparation. The only things not included in that total are approved safety equipment, brakes, and tires.
WILL I DIE? Maybe. Safety equipment isn't included in the $500 car-purchase price, so you'll have kind of a fighting chance. But this isn't a brilliant thing to be doing. Get used to it.
WILL MY CAR DIE? Oh, almost definitely. And, even if it survives on the track, halfway through the race one entry will be chosen by popular ballot for immediate crushing. Could be yours. Heck, it probably WILL be yours. Be prepared.
AREN'T YOU THOSE DOUBLE 500 GUYS? Ummm...sort of. In the Double 500 (scroll down through the other events), Martin Swig organizes and Jay Lamm kibbitzes. In the 24 Hours of LeMons, Jay organizes and Martin kibbitzes. But you know, one smart-aleck old-car guy is pretty much just like the next.
ARE THERE PRIZES? Oh, lordy yes. Thanks to the munificence and creative tax practices of Chief Prize Steward Eric Zausner, in addition to awards like the Least Likely to Walk Out of Here Plaque, the winner on distance will receive $1500. Winner of the People's Choice Award will receive $1000, and winner of the Organizer's Choice will get $500. All three will also be invited to participate in the 24 Hours of Lemons Runoffs, should we ever get around to organizing the damn thing.
DO $500 CARS REALLY EXIST? Absolutely. We get 'em all the time on the Double 500 (scroll down through the other events). The best ways to find candidates are by looking on CraigsList, reading local bulletin boards, and cruising through crummy neighborhoods.
WHY NOT CHEAT ON THE $500 LIMIT? Because our BS-Factor judging panel will dock you one lap for every additional dollar it thinks that you've spent. It's also a claiming race, meaning the organizer can buy your car after the race for $500 if it thinks you've been cheating.
WHAT'S IT COST? Entry is $500 per car + $100 per driver. That fee covers registration, track time, paddock pass, club access, track insurance, dinner and breakfast, the all-night party, a crapload of highly caffeinated beverages, safety crew, lots of squashed lemons, cheap gimme hats and other sweatshop-made commemorative crap, and anything else we come up with by then. For $75, non-driving team members get all the same bennies except track time. Spectators are welcome at $15; that's good for grandstand access only.
WHERE'S THE TRACK? AMP is located in the Altamont Hills between Tracy and Livermore, California.
From Tracy and the San Joaquin Valley:
-Take I-580 West or I-205 West to the Mountain House Parkway exit (formerly Patterson Pass Road exit).
-Go south/west on Patterson Pass Road (toward the hills) until reaching Midway Road.
-Turn right on Midway Road and proceed to AMP.
From Livermore and the Bay Area:
-Take I-580 East to the Grant Line Rd. exit (east of the Altamont Pass). At the bottom of the offram, turn left.
-Follow Grant Line Rd. about half a mile to Midway Road.
-Turn right on Midway Rd. Continue about 3/4 mile to AMP.
HOW'S THE WEATHER? What am I, Al Roker? Could be cold and rainy, could be broiling hot. Be prepared for anything.
IS FUEL AVAILABLE? There's a gasoline vendor on-site selling pump gas and racing gas. No diesel. If your car is still streetable, you can drive into Tracy, about 15 minutes away.
WHAT'S THE SCHEDULE?
10:00 am: AMP opens
10:15 am-1:00 pm: Registration, Tech, and BS-Factor Inspection
11:00 am-2:30 pm: Car Safety & Driver Skills Tests
1:45 pm-3:30 pm: Qualifying
3:30-3:45 pm: Drivers' Meeting and BS-Factor Penalty Assessment
3:59 pm: LeMons Start
4:00 pm-11:00 pm: Racing, Part I
10:00 pm-6:30 am: People's Curse Car Destruction and Hedonistic, Bone-Crushing Partying
6:30 am-7:45 am: Breakfast
7:45 am-8:00 am: Drivers' Meeting II
8:00 am-4:00 pm: Racing, Part II
4:15-5:30: Beer, Food, Packing Up, Applying Band-Aids, Cleaning Your Hair with Go-Jo
4:30 pm: Grand Awards Ceremony
6:00 pm: AMP Closes
WHERE DO I HOSE MYSELF OFF? Call the Holiday Inn Express in Tracy (209.830.8500) or Best Western Vineyard Inn in Livermore (925.456.5442). Tell them you want the AMP/24 Hours of Lemons rate. See what they have to say about that.
DO I HAVE TO BE A RACEDRIVER? This is a track event on a paved semi-oval. Drivers will include non-racers, amateur racers, and pros. In this event, experience matters less than consitency, smoothness, and good judgement. You'll need a valid competition license to drive, though. Most major race-series licenses will be honored if you already have one. If not, a valid NASCAR license can be bought from AMP on-site. They cost $75 each.