24 Hours of LeMons: 175 racing wieners, sharkmobiles
COMPETITORS FROM LAST YEAR'S 24 Hours of LeMons at Infineon Raceway.
They drive flying wiener cars, old Volkswagens with bikes on the roof, batmobiles, sharkmobiles, chickenmobiles and cars that defy conventional description.
They drive cars that can't cost more than $500 (although some teams spend more than that on tires alone) and they don't necessarily have any competition experience, a racing license or a thread of common sense.
It's called the 24 Hours of LeMons, not to be even remotely confused by a famous road race in France where cars travel more than 200 miles an hour and most of the machinery is worth more than $1 million.
By the organizers' estimate, it is the cheapest form of motor-racing (in which humans actually occupy the vehicles) in America and it goes on - more or less - for two days, this weekend, March 26 to 27, at Infineon Raceway. And to anyone who has seen it unfold, LeMons is a celebration of automotive lunacy, mayhem and bad taste that is usually a great deal of fun to watch.
It is also a real race, with winners and losers and lots of broken cars with at least 175 contestants circling the Infineon track at widely differing speeds.
All cars must be equipped with roll cages, fire extinguishers and drivers must wear real fireproof racing suits and approved helmets. Contact is discouraged but commonplace and one car - "the people's choice" winner - will be selected at mid-race for a comprehensive and terminal crushing.
The overall winner gets $1,500, usually paid in nickels, and spectators are invited to watch the whole thing. The race runs from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Race fans can watch for $20 a day, or $30 for the weekend. For details go to 24hoursoflemons.com or infineonraceway.com/lemons.