After two road course events, we were finally able to take The Pig Rig out on the high ban
If you're a regular reader of Circle Track, then you're already familiar with the '91 Honda Accord that we built to race in the 24 Hours of LeMons. That car, a front-wheel-drive four-door, was an adventure to build, but it has performed admirably and is really fun to race. In two separate LeMons events at Carolina Motorsports Park the car finished in the mid-40s (our rookie race) and Sixth.
And because it's so much fun, we keep finding places to race it. Recently, we heard about a brand-new racing series called the ChumpCar World Series-designed to use the same type of cars that can be raced in LeMons events. ChumpCar is a brand-new series just getting its start. The group organizing the events says it's not competition to LeMons, but rather a companion offering racers even more tracks and opportunities to race their cars.
Like LeMons, ChumpCar is open to practically any make or model of car or truck that has a street value of $500 or less. As long as it has four tires and is smaller than a dump truck, you can probably race it. But to get on the track, ChumpCar does require essential safety modifications like a rollcage, fuel cell, removal of all unnecessary glass (the windshield can stay), a racing seat and belts, and a firesuit and other personal safety gear. Safety gear does not count toward the $500 limit, so if you're able to get a car for less than $500, you can spend the rest on ways to make it faster.
John Condren, otherwise known as the "Chief Chump," runs a tight ship and safety is always
We owe a big debt to Alex Ferguson, who was driving the LTD, who took the time to dismount
One draw for the ChumpCar series is it has lined up races at some of the greatest tracks across the nation. For example, tracks scheduled for the 2010 races include Nashville Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Autoclub Speedway (California), Roebling Road, Sebring, and Infineon. Of course, the track that caught our eye is the one-and-only Rockingham Speedway-none other than The Rock. There were other Cup tracks on the schedule, but the opportunity to race on the same course as Richard Petty, David Pearson, and Cale Yarborough was just too much. Plus, we've developed a soft spot for the speedway ever since NASCAR dumped it like yesterday's newspaper and Andy Hillenburg stepped up to save it. For the ChumpCar event, racers would use 3/4 of the one-mile oval and the infield road course. That makes the overall course size 1.7 miles of fun.
If you want to see more of the original build of this race car, you can check out the Sept. '09 issue of Circle Track, or you can catch up on the entire saga of this race project by going to www.circletrack.com and typing "lemons" in the search box. Even if you aren't planning to build a $500 race car, there are still a lot of tips and ideas there for building a safe race car.
The ChumpCar series has slightly more stringent rules, so we did need to make a few tweaks to the car before we could go racing. First, we needed a window net. For that we contacted Racequip-which had previously provided the belts-and the company sent us a complete kit including a net and all the necessary hardware. We chose the old-school "latch and link" buckle because it provides the most positive lock, yet is easy for both the driver and a safety worker to operate. Just yank the handle and it's released.
The Rockingham event was also originally scheduled to be a 24-hour event. The Rock has no track lighting, so that meant adding lights to the car. ChumpCar rules require both headlights and taillights, which also function as brake lights. Our Civic originally had all that, but we threw it all in the dumpster when building the car. So it was back to the junkyard for lights. After re-installing the lights, we covered everything with a layer of clear packing tape to keep from scattering glass all over the track in the event of a collision. Finally, after switching to Performance Friction brake pads (PN 0465-20) in our last event and experiencing zero troubles with them, we installed a fresh set of pads and kept a spare set in the toolbox in reserve.
ChumpCar requires the use of a window net, which we did not have. A quick call to Racequip
We're always trying to improve the car when we get a chance, and labor and scrap material
The No. 11 Jetta was bad fast all day long, but an extra pit stop late in the race gave us