The 24 Hours of Lemons is poised once again to make racing history as the first racing series to hold concurrent 24-hour races on September 12 and 13. The Lemons Block Party at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina, begins first at 11 am ET on September 12. At 2 pm ET/Noon MT, the High Plains Drifter begins its full-day journey around High Plains Raceway in Deer Trail, Colorado.
Lemons typically only holds one race on a weekend and only one 24-hour race a year. But Lemons is nothing if not unconventional. The racing series features endurance racing for $500, spanning the spectrum from clapped-out 1950s trash to 15-year-old commuter cars. Most races run 14-½ hours spread out over two days. These two races will feature non-stop racing (or some Lemons approximation thereof) for 24 consecutive hours.
This isn’t the first time Lemons has made history. The 24 Hours of Lemons holds the official Guinness World Record for Most Participants in a Car Race, set at Thunderhill Raceway in 2013. That title also follows Lemons’ previous records at “Dumbest Sporting Event on the Planet” and “Most Participants Likely to Survive an Apocalypse On the Basis of Dietary Habits and Unlikely Resourcefulness.”
Of course, it’s not dumb enough for Lemons to host 48 hours of racing in one weekend. Nay, two intrepid Lemons racers have embarked on an odyssey to race at both 24-hour events this weekend. Yes, those two tracks are roughly 1,340 miles apart as the crow flies. And yes, that means both will be racing at one race, riding an airplane, and then racing at the second race.
So who are these makers of bad decisions? Let’s meet our contestants!
Christian “Mental” Ward raced Lemons way back in our days at Altamont Speedway. He’s a regular driver with 2017 National Effing Champions Three Pedal Mafia, and a cohost of the Everyone Racers podcast. Mental was an automotive journalist for years—kinda stacks the odds against him—for The Truth About Cars and other outlets. He’s also a regular commentator on the Lemons iRacing League broadcasts, which you can watch at your leisure on the Lemons YouTube Channel.
Mental will race Three Pedal Mafia’ BMW 3-Series (E36) at CMP to start. He’ll then drive to the airport in Atlanta—he booked too late to score a flight from much-closer Charlotte—and fly to Denver. At High Plains, he’ll scootch into the Inglorious Bastards’ Mazda Miata to round out a Class A combo.
Longtime racer Derek Steinkamp started Lemons in a Honda Civic that was a bomb-toting cart, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and an Oregon Trail Conestoga Wagon. He “graduated” to the former Chicken and Waffles Volkswagen Quantum Synchro Wagon, a vehicle formerly raced by Hemmings editor Mike Austin and other illustrious auto journalists. Yes, both of these competitors have the auto journalists’ curse applied. Derek and the Wonderment Consortium of which he is a part have raced a sundry of awful cars that include a Hyundai Scoupe, an Isuzu Impulse RS AWD, a Saab 900 Turbo, and the explodey Quantum.
For this race, he’s driving other people’s cars at both events. He’ll start in South Carolina with longtime Lemons racers Schumacher Taxi Service in their My Little Pony Ford Mustang. When he’s done, he’ll hoof it to Charlotte for his Denver flight. At High Plains, he’ll race with USMC Racing in their second-gen Chevy Camaro for an all-Pony-Car 48 Hours of Lemons.
This kind of lunacy deserves its own intra-race competition, so Lemons has coined this the Idiot of Effluency, y’know…a bit like the Index of Effluency. We haven’t done much more than come with up a name and some basic criteria to determine the Idiot of Effluency winner. Here are some of the possible points-earning situations:
1 point per lap completed at either track.
50 points for breaking one Lemons ride.
150 points for breaking both Lemons rides.
25 points for wearing your driver’s suit on the drive to or from an airport.
50 points for wearing your driver’s suit on the flight.
75 points for wearing your driver’s suit through the TSA line.
200 points for having to explain yourself to a TSA supervisor/interrogator.
Double points for a helmet on during all stages of between-race transit.
20 points for any legitimate roadside attraction, a la Lemons Rally.
Additional on-the-spot points totals we have in our secret Index of Effluency Formula.
You should be able to follow their progress on the Everyone Racers social media pages (Instagram and Facebook) as well as the 24 Hours of Lemons Facebook and Instagram accounts. We’ll also document them for future Lemons YouTube Wrapups.
Finally, the 24 Hours of Lemons’ regular charity partner Lemons of Love is raffling away this fine machine. Yes, you can win a race-ready Triumph Stag for the princely sum of $20. Ordering five or more tickets will also score you some sweet 24 Hours of Lemons swag.
If you’re racing at CMP or High Plains, you can also donate to charity for a Get Out of Penalty Box sticker. That’ll get you in the Lemons Supreme Court’s good graces, though may not necessarily get you out of major trouble. Click here for High Plains donations, click here for CMP donations.