ChumpCar feels more like an organization designed to get people lots of track time and racing experience for minimum cost. LeMons allows many more cars on the track but any contact with another car-whether it's your fault or not-will get you 30 minutes or more in the penalty box. ChumpCar doesn't allow as many cars on the track (I've been told the guideline is approximately 35 per mile of track) so it's easier to race, and contact, as long as it isn't egregious, won't get you pulled off the track. There's also a greater emphasis on safety here. For example, ChumpCar requires fuel cells while LeMons does not (yet).
"Obviously, we're constantly being compared to LeMons," explains Cathy McCause, ChumpCar's Director of Marketing. "People using the words 'parallel series,' or 'knockoff,' or that sort of thing. We're still finding our identity, but our focus is on the racing. Time and time again, people will say if you are interested in a circus go drive LeMons, but if you are interested in some real road racing ChumpCar is the ticket."
That doesn't mean one is better than the other; it just means there's a difference. But in our experience, both are a great way to spend a weekend. If you are trying to decide between the two, your best bet is to check the schedules, find the track you want to race the most, and join that series. It's as simple as that.
It was the first win for our little Honda, and a good one at that. It wasn't too long ago that we were staring at the car wondering how best to turn a front-drive unibody car into a real racer. And this won't be its retirement, either. There are no concrete plans as this went to press, but we are looking into circle track options and tracks that won't run us out because of the VTEC motor. If you have any ideas, drop us a line and we'll consider them all.