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MotorPunk and LeMons

MotorPunkMotorPunk Magazine in the U.K. has done a fantastic feature on The 24 Hours of LeMons for their August issue. They contacted me months ago for info on the plane, and now the issue is in print and online. Apparently, the most prominent of all the "mentals" in LeMons is yours truly, despite being "an ordinary looking chap, a policeman, a Sunday school teacher and all round good guy." Check it out!
 
Summit Point 2013 Recap

A mere two hours from Speedycop World Headquarters (fancy title for my driveway and back yard) in Brandywine, MD, lies one of the most fun and challenging tracks in the United States---the Shenandoah Circuit of Summit Point Motorsports Park, located near Charles Town, WV. We consider this our home track, even though we only go there once a year, for the 24 Hours of LeMons "Capitol Offense" race. This year I built a new "laps" race car for this event, a 1994 Lexus SC400. With a 250HP 4.0 liter 32 valve V8, rear while drive, sleek lines, and an independent rear suspension, it's the polar opposite of my usual wacky LeMons builds. I scored it on Craigslist for $450 with a bad trans and 200k miles, but I already had a low mileage transmission from a '90 Lexus LS400 with only 90k (wrecked in the front) that I had parted out. It's a direct swap, except for the output flange, which is easily swapped. I had the always awesome Jim Whitley of www.RollCageComponents.com bend a cage, and once I welded it all in, DC Doug painted it for me. The car looked sharp, and after cutting the stock springs 2", it sat low and mean!
In typical Speedycop fashion, it wasn't quite ready when we arrived at the track Friday afternoon, so Anton Lovett and Mike Taylor (the two guys racing it with me) stepped up and busted their butts to get all the little pesky details (seat/harness/cage padding/etc.) finished. It wasn't easy, but we finished just in time to take the green flag on Saturday. It had the typical new race car teething issues (overheating due to improper bleeding, dry/cracked rubber transmission line sprang a leak, brake order messed up so rear racing pads weren't available). We made it the whole day Saturday on one set of premium rear street pads, and replaced them with another on Sunday, which lasted barely more than two hours before they went metal to metal, ending our day early. Still, the car managed to go 1:48 in its debut, and the fastest lap of the race was a 1:47, so it's gonna be a real contender for that elusive overall win once we get the dead weight out, and better rear pads.
Every year at Summit Point we bring a charity fundraiser car (2001 Mercury Cougar with a V6/auto), to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Veterans who have never raced before race for free, and anyone else can race for 20 minutes with a donation of $100 or more. I had robbed it of the seat and harness late last year, so Joe and Joey Dorshefski and Jason Wells got it all prepped and ready, even fixing a slow ATF leak. Thanks to teammate Fritz Dahlin and the generous folks at B/A Products (makers of the finest towing and auto transport supplies in the business: www.baprod.com ), we were given $500 as an operating budget to run the car this year, which is a cost we normally out-of-pocket, so that 100% of the donations can go to the WWP. We loan each new driver all the necessary gear (donated by Pyrotect), and give each one a  private briefing on racing rules and safety. LeMons waives the entry fee for the Cougar, and even solicits donation from errant drivers in the penalty box. Over the last three years, we've raised more than $10,000 for this worthy cause! This year we encountered a few rather serious issues, with confused novice drivers entering and exiting the track in places they were not supposed to, driving very unpredictably, and generally creating mayhem, so the plug was pulled on Sunday for any additional novice drivers. As we are not in the business of providing seat time for experienced racers at our own expense, we'll stick to more conventional methods for our WWP fundraising in the future.
Teammates Fritz, Phil, Mat, Jake, and Tim spent most of the weekend swapping out the 4 cylinder engine of their front wheel drive Toyota Celica---TWICE! Finally, with engine #3 on Sunday, it all came together for them. The last 30 minutes of the race found Jake and I nose to tail, with him piloting the Celica, and me in the Cougar. He was driving really well, and the Cougar is overweight (still has working AC, dash, airbags, etc.), so no matter what I tried, I couldn't get around him. I would catch him in the turns, creep up to within several inches (literally) of his bumper, and lay on the horn, hoping to rattle him and make him yield. No such luck. He told me later he was laughing every time. We stayed nose to tail the entire time, driving at 10/10ths, and it was an absolute blast! Most fun I've had in a race since the Cessna debuted. The Joes had some issues with their 1960 Falcon, finally resorting to a huge to aluminum radiator to cure their overheating woes. The new sway bars were working---that thing FLEW through the corners! I strapped in to take it out for 5 laps and try it out, but nothing happened when I pushed the starter button. The same problem as last year had reoccurred---the starter, put on securely with lockwashers, had fallen off! Racin' Rob and his crew were leading Class C at one point in his 4 cylinder Mustang, but a radiator leak dropped them to second in class by the time the checkered waved.
Thanks again to all those who helped make our race weekend and our fundraising efforts a huge success!

A mere two hours from Speedycop World Headquarters (fancy title for my driveway and back yard) in Brandywine, MD, lies one of the most fun and challenging tracks in the United States---the Shenandoah Circuit of Summit Point Motorsports Park, located near Charles Town, WV. We consider this our home track, even though we only go there once a year, for the 24 Hours of LeMons "Capitol Offense" race. This year I built a new "laps" race car for this event, a 1994 Lexus SC400. With a 250HP 4.0 liter 32 valve V8, rear while drive, sleek lines, and an independent rear suspension, it's the polar opposite of my usual wacky LeMons builds. I scored it on Craigslist for $450 with a bad trans and 200k miles, but I already had a low mileage transmission from a '90 Lexus LS400 with only 90k (wrecked in the front) that I had parted out. It's a direct swap, except for the output flange, which is easily swapped. I had the always awesome Jim Whitley of www.RollCageComponents.com bend a cage, and once I welded it all in, DC Doug painted it for me. The car looked sharp, and after cutting the stock springs 2", it sat low and mean!

 

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The Cessna Goes Drag Racing!

Now that the Spirit of LeMons is tagged and insured, I figured I might as well melt some brains at my local dragstrip (Maryland International Raceway) by showing up to race the street legal class in an airplane. I drove it the 40 minutes to the track, generating big smiles and thumbs up the whole way. I stopped outside the track at the ticket booth, and immediately heard the announcer excitedly yelling over the PA that an airplane had just arrived to the track. He told the crowd "There's an AIRPLANE pulling in to the track, folks! An actual airplane! If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'!"


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New video footage and magazine coverage!

We've been working with Barcroft Media for weeks to produce this excellent video story on the Spirit of LeMons. The saga has once again gone global! Barcroft sold the story to various news and media outlets, such as the Telegraph in the UK: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motoringvideo/10079778/US-policeman-converts-plane-into-roadworthy-car.html
There are dozens of similar articles on this build in numerous languages around the world. You can find (and post) them here:

We've been working with Barcroft Media for weeks to produce this excellent video story on the Spirit of LeMons. The saga has once again gone global! Barcroft sold the story to various news and media outlets, such as the Telegraph in the UK. There are dozens of similar articles on this build in numerous languages around the world. You can find (and post) them on this 24 Hours of LeMons forum topic

Also, the newest (June/July) issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine features the Spirit of LeMons as well. Stop by your local newsstand and grab a copy!

 

 
Spirit Of LeMons debuts at Carolina Motorsports Park!

There is nothing in the racing world quite like the 24 Hours of LeMons. Many an otherwise seemingly normal person has donned assless chaps, or a robot costume made of foil-covered boxes, and paraded around a race car with a Harley engine jutting through the hood, or one bearing a sizeable reproduction of the Goodyear blimp. These are the people that make LeMons what it is---the most fun you can have with your clothes on! Over the years, my incredible teammates and I have helped contribute to the spectacle, striving to reach greater heights of absurdity with each new build and theme. From the BMW V12-powered '63 Thunderbird, to the popup camper that drove itself, to the impossible-to-remove face paint accentuating our comic routines as the Blue Man Group, we have done our best to carry on in the tradition and the spirit of the LeMons series. The bar has been raised time and again by many teams, to new and unprecedented heights, with seemingly boundless creativity, and endless ill-advised ingenuity.

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz148/SpeedycopPics/spiritoflemonsdonerightside_zpse38fe97d.jpg

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On The Track

It's not the final build video, but we couldn't wait to show you the world's first road racing airplane on the track.  If you haven't been following the build, you can catch up and enjoy the fun.

 
Episode 5 - Putting It Together

Mating a Cessna to a Toyota van isn't easy, but it IS possible! We finally get the chassis and the plane merged...

Post your questions on Facebook or YouTube and we'll try to answer them on the next episode!

 

 

 
Episode 4 - Panels, Landing Gears, and Frames

Episode 4 of The Spirit of LeMons is out! In this episode, we continue to gut the Cessna.  The front landing gear has to come out as well as all the avionics in the nose.  We also build a supporting frame for the plane so we can lift it over the Toyota van chassis.


Post your questions on Facebook or YouTube and we'll try to answer them on the next episode!


 
2012 Lemons Season Recap

How did we win the 2012 National Points Championship in The 24 Hours of LeMons?

The answer is simple: Volume! Each entered team car gets three points. We had 28 separate team entries, consisting of 11 race cars in 11 different races throughout the United States. It was an all-out team effort at a breakneck pace throughout the year---building, theming, rebuilding, retheming ad nauseam. There were some iconic LeMons firsts, like an AMC Pacer, a Suzuki X-90, a racing pop-up camper, a classic Falcon, and a bowling alley on wheels, along with some fun multi-car themes, such as the Titanic and the Iceberg at Summit Point, and the Monitor and the Merrimac at fall CMP. Here's a brief recap of the insanity that was 2012:

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Jeff Bloch (a.k.a. Speedycop)

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