Tuna Chuckers LeMons Race Team


Whaling on a dilapidated old crap can

Internal Links:

(For those too lazy to cull them from the text over there -->) 

External Links:

We have friends now! The first team to acknowledge defeat*

* Acknowledge defeat, in this case, means wrote an E-mail back to us - close enough, eh?

TAJ racing

The first generous company to give us a break and give us some free shipping and stickers

 IPD

They raced us hard, and truly embodied the spirt of the Games

Team Quattro Libre

 

We missed an obvious one here

24 Hours of Lemons home 



 

July 27, JTD (home after a long weekend)

So how did we do?  Just push play...or click on the "Race Day"'s to the left for more pictures and commentary.

 

 

 Definitions:

NPF: No Prayer of Finishing

NPW: No Prayer of Winning

PF: Prayer of Finishing

PW: Prayer of Wining

Index of Effluency: As determined by a super-secret equation including vehicle age, general hooptieness, reliability of country of origin, unlikelihood of success, and Organizers' whim--is the Winner on index.

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July 26, JTD (Race Day, Brief Update)

After breakfast we finished the other minor tech issues and returned to tech inspection and judging.  Everybody is impressed with the car. I have not met a single person who didn't say, "You guys are the green Volvo, that car is Awesome" or something like it.

With great hope and trepidation we suited Mike up to start the race.  That ended during the parade laps when the car died on him. They held the start so another car could push us around and off the track. Thanks team 68 (we think it was you) for the help.

Thrice we tried and failed to get more than 1 lap around the track but 2.5 hours later we determined we were not getting enough fuel and that the tank pickup was to blame.  A quick dousing in gas to move the pickup to a different place on the tank bottom solved the problem and we went racing about 70-80 laps down. 

We have all had a few laps with my laps being interrupted with another problem.  The team worked quickly and we were able to get back out there for great racing.

This place is a trip. They do an excellent job of policing for people doing things like bumping and rubbing.  As Jay said Rubbing and Racing may be NASCAR but you will sit for 30 minute if you do it here.  You can also get funner penalties like a three legged race. In short if you and another driver get to much stuff going on they duck tape your knees together and you have to go get Jay a hot dog.  A full list of the punishments will be added along with pictures and videos after we get home.

On to day 2.

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July 25, JTD (Brief Update)

Arrival and camp setup went well with only 2 issues.  First the metal bracket for the fire extinguisher didn't pass tech so we had to make a mad dash to find a valid bracket.  After some hunting Rob and I in the rouge group to bring missing items to the race found an nice man at American Fire Extinguisher in Columbia, SC which was on a route to the track.  He opened his home/shop to us a 9:00 to find a bracket in his stash of stuff.  After talking a while he not only gave us a bracket he gave us a fire extinguisher with bracket in case ours would not fit the first bracket.  A very nice man indeed.

Second was a minor issue in that one of Rob's tents was older than Brian and so he could not figure out how to put it up.  Rob who is the only member older than the car handled the job quickly.

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July 24th, VCH

This shall be the last update that I, esteemed Tunachucker team captain and all-around benevolent dictator VCH shall make prior to our great race this weekend.

Holy crap.  Its _this_ weekend.  Well, hurry up and click on the link _here_ or to the left (The clock's ticking, so aptly created by Brian a few days ago and increased in grandeur today by the addition of pictures) to see how things look so far.

After the race, I (and probably some of the other Chuckers) will post pictures and race results.

And now, to quote Clark Griswold:

"Burn Dust.  Eat my Rubber."

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July 23, 2008 (Jamie)

First video from a few weeks ago is finally done for show.  Hopefully I can embed it from youtube.

  

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July 12, 2008 update

July 7th.  Yeah, I know, only 2 days later.  But its worth it.  The car now wears its new colors...

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July 5th.  You know the year. 

So that bit bellow about the car not becoming enveloped in fire and smoke?  Yeah.  Independence Day Work Party  Read on and Happy Independence Day!

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June 30th, MMVII - VCH

For the first time since I hauled this carcass of an Amazon home on my trailer from Decatur, we heard it run.  Rob, Jamie and myself met up for LeMons breakfast (consisting of eggs, grits, bacon, and toasted white bread) at my house Saturday, and after a morning of welding, bashing, duct-taping and cursing, we somehow arrived at the point where we decided it would be a good idea to hook the ignition coil up to the battery and jump the starter with a flat-bladed screwdriver.  Amazingly, the little Swede wasn't immediately engulfed in fire and smoke.  Read more here....

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June 22, 2008 - Volvo ClearingHouse  (Mike)

We've been somewhat negligent in keeping our website up to date (and by "we" I mean "me", since I'm the idiot responsible for most of the content here) and as Susan said below, yes, we did in fact get accepted, or invited, to run our Swedish crap box at the LeMons race this July in South Carolina.  Woo-Hoo indeed!  So now, the real work is beginning in earnest.  Safety gear is getting procured.  Tires were bought.  A roll cage is well on its way to being installed.  We had a work party this past Saturday (the 21rst) as well as one the previous week.  And there'll be a few more, I'm sure.  Click the link to the left (3rd/4th Work Gathering) to see pictures and read the synopses.  

And wish us luck.  If you can't wish us luck, at least donate us some money or safety gear or alcohol or something. 

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 May 29, 2008 - Susan

At some point over the last month, these guys convinced someone that they should be able to race in July.  Congratulation, Tunachuckers!  In the words of Homer:  Whoo-Hoo!

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May, uh...sometime before the application deadline...

So this is going to be the last update before we send in our application.  Application?  Yeah, see, there's usually more folks that want to race in this Lemons thing than there is room on the track for all these rusting, dented, leaky, piles of whale blubber.  Just a few things to clean up: the team name, theme, etc.

Also, we found out this morning that tragedy has struck the LeMons race that was in Altamont, CA this past weekend.  A driver of the #39 car, Court Summerfield, wrecked and was pronounced dead at the scene.  There aren't many details as of this writing; there is strong speculation that he had some sort of medical condition that resulted in his unconsciousness and, hence, crash.  

None of this is important.  We (the Tunachuckers) want to express our most sincere and deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and anyone whose life may have been touched by his.  And what we think is important, is this:  Anyone who does a crazy thing like wheel-to-wheel racing clearly has a passion for this sort of thing.  And, in the smallest of ways, we should be inspired and take solace in the fact that a man died, but he died while doing something he loved.  Rest in Peace.  

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April 21, 2008, MIKE:

So it looks as though _someone_ has reformatted the home page.  I guess change is inevitable.  Its also inevitable that when you provide people with a userid and passwork to the website they are going to start messing with stuff.  But hey, that's what makes this team what it is.  We trust each other, and we have respect for each others' intelligence.

Yeah, right.  

I guess it makes sense to have updates at the top of the page, so you don't have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to read the newest progress.  Even though Brian is a blockhead, I will give him this.  

As mentioned below, we had another work-play day this past Sunday.  Unfortunately, Jamie was too well, I mean, otherwise occupied, and so it was just Rob, Brian, his wife, and me.  Brian's wife, though about 16 months pregnant and in charge of corralling two lively dogs throughout the afternoon, was a good sport and accepted the role as Team Photographer.  Click HERE to see the progress of this past Sunday.

One other update:  Rob's daughter Susan has graciously agreed to help wrench on the car during the race in July.  Apparently she a) thinks our car is going to break, and b) thinks she can turn a socket.  Well, she is an engineer, so that puts her in good stead with this group.  Also, she sent us incriminating pictures of Rob and his wife.  So she's in.  I just hope she can get time off from work for the race!  Also, she should put up her own web page on the team profiles area. 

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Sometime in the second week of April, BRIAN wrote: 

Should updates go on the top or on the bottom of the page?

At any rate, it's not much of an update, because our fearless camera operator has not uploaded the new pictures yet.  I wanted to get an update out nonetheless because I know our 400,000 readers (divided by 400,000 minus 1) wanted to know how our build was coming.  This past weekend we:

Patched the huge hole in the firewall left by the removed heater core (picture to come)

Scared my dogs to death with welding and griding.  Really - it was quite funny.

Pissed off my pregnant wife - not so funny.

Half patched the rotting drivers side rocker panel

Rebuilt the sway bar and front shock bushings

Began getting scared about the condition of our gas tank and lines

Welded up a secret weapon.  Think Speed Racer - car jumping and pivoting wheels mixed with equal parts Mario Road Rash nitrous buttons.  Needless to say, you competitors may as well not even enter, because this one is flawless.  It's actually so scary that googlepages won't even let us post it, so you're imagination will have to do.  To give you a hint, it looks something like this.

 

 We also delegated a bunch of stuff that we don't feel like doing.

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March 21, 2008, MIKE:

So Brian has added his own little personal touch to the website, even though his two links go to the same page.  And what is this "Mike has allowed us to" business?  Yeesh.  Swear I was some sort of whip-wielding Catholic school nun principal, "Sister Mary Discipline" or something, running this website like my own personal fiefdom.  Well, I tell you, I don't like that one bit and if I don't get what I want, I'll take my ball and go home!  ;)  

I encourage all the team members to add their own stuff.  And to make sure this main page doesn't get too long and incomprehensible (trying to figure out who all wrote what) I'm going to put all of my own personal cerebral out-spewings...

HERE...YES, JUST HERE, ONLY ONE LINK TO CLICK ON, SERIOUSLY

Lots more good stuff today, though.  Some pictures of us working on the car:

US WORKING ON THE CAR

As well as some background info on

WHY WE ARE CALLED THE TUNACHUCKERS

Its gonna be a fun night.  Make sure you* keep checking back for updates.  Once every 2 or 3 weeks should be good.  Thanks.

*One of our 8 fans

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BRIAN, approximately mid-March: 

So Mike has allowed each of us to add things to, but not remove things from, this lovely chronicle of our progress (also known as trying not to spend too much money before we find out we got rejected and have to wait until next year) with out wonderful Swedish dream car. As such, my additions can be found

HERE

although clicking there is dangerous. My page is bound to be full of bad information and bad writing.  Not that this link is safer, but at least you are now aware of the dangers.

I WARNED YOU

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Sometime in February, 2008...somewhere in South Carolina... 

So I'm not even sure that that is the official agreed-upon name of our little band of geeks, but I'm going with it because we haven't decided on anything else.

Bonjour. My name is Mike, and that is about all the French I know. Oh, I also know "Citron", which is apparently the French word for "lemon", though it sounds suspiciously like "Citroen" to me. Of course, to anyone familiar with French automobiles, that's probably not a coincidence.

Which segues nicely into the purpose for this web page. Lemons. Or, more accurately, LeMons. Legend has it that many years ago, a couple of guys somewhere in California decided that modern racing had become too dependent upon having access to large sacks with dollar signs printed on them. And that these sacks must contain small bits of paper emblazoned with pictures of a man who was never president of the country whose currency he adorns. (He was, however, very fond of the French)

So these luminaries (the guys from California, not the French) decided that clearly the thing to do would be to start their own series of races, where money and sponsorships were irrelevant. To ensure that no team would have an advantage over the others in this regard, a limit to the amount each team could spend on preparing their racer was enacted. For $500 (not including the cost of a roll cage, safety gear, brakes and tires), the car must be purchased, prepared, and ready to go on race day. To enforce this limit, all manner of zany rules and procedures were put in place. You can read all about them HERE.

I first found out about the 24 Hours of Lemons about a year ago, while perusing the latest Car and Driver magazine to grace my mailbox. My interest was definitely piqued, but the fact that the race was held in California and I, shallow pockets and all, was a resident of the opposite coast, neatly thwarted any prospects of participation in said event.

But sometimes, cosmic forces come together and things work out eventually. Later that year I moved from Maryland to South Carolina, and, as luck would have it, a LeMons race was scheduled for July 2008 at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. In order to ensure that the stars aligned properly, an article on the motoring event was written up in Jalopnik, a fine online source of automotive news and commentary that some of us gearheads read religiously. (No, our team was not paid to say that.)

When I found out about the impending SC race, I emailed my co-worker and fellow auto-nut Brian:

"We are doing this. We are so doing this."

Things were in motion. The team had begun to jell. Jamie, who sits in the cubicle opposite mine, was in. He drives a Mazda RX8 that pretty much everyone in the office is extremely envious of and has some autocross experience. Then Rob signed on. Rob likes to ride his motorcycle to work, especially on days when it is raining, snowing, windy, cold, sleeting, icy, hailing, or threatening tornadoes. Brian's friend Matt decided he would be willing to fly down from NY for the race, too, which is good since he too has autocross experience (in a Lumina) and owns an old Corvette. If you want to read everyone's full bios, CLICK HERE.

Which brings us to early February 2008. We had a team. Now all we need is a Lemon...

THE LEMON