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Pobst Position: Chosen to Crush
Page: 1 Links
Have you heard of the 24 Hours of LeMons? It is all the rage, my buddies keep begging me to do it, and I must say it looks like a bohemian great time. It's an endurance race for five-hundred dollar cars. Well, no, it is not SCCA sanctioned, but it is road racing, for the most part, at its purist and most basic. It is the anti-LeMans, no hoity-toity, high-dollar, caviar in three-story hospitality suites, exotic unpronounceable prototypes, here. More like Wal Mart fat chips and team names not to be shared in mixed company. Ratty old Saabs, Corollas, Buick Roadmaster wagons, and the odd Pinto. The odder the better, in fact, like the infield at Sebring. Hey, I wonder if they allow trailers? Ever heard of the trailer races at Bithlo Speedway outside Orlando, Florida? They really do that, too! How the heck do they insure it? Funniest thing I ever saw. Everything from light, spindly lawnmower units, to boat trailers with outboard runabout included, all the way to thirty-two foot park models. What mayhem. What fun.

Back to the LeMons, and where I'm going with all this, sitting here in a friend's $$$ motor coach at an SCCA regional at iconic Road America, four days past deadline. The races have several outrageous fun-rules, meant to make it more entertaining, kind of like the coin toss that moved me from starting first to fifth and later fifth to first in my KPAX Volvo World Challenge races. My favorite is the most vengeful, spiteful, tribal, and primitive. Late in the race, competitors have a secret vote. The chosen car is then ceremonially crushed in dramatic fashion by giant earth moving equipment to the shouts, jeers and cheers of the whole field. No recourse, no appeal. If your peers choose you, your car dies. Have you ever wanted to serve this sentence upon an annoying nemesis of yours? Man, I have. I like the Karmic purity of it. Your situation is created by your own actions.
Over the course of a long race, a team develops an event persona. Spread hate, spread love. There will be a reckoning. At the rowdy LeMons, you reap what you sow. In the class, region, or series where you run, the same thing happens. You build a reputation.

Coaching at another track day, I met a great fella who told me of his Mustang team and how they were five seconds faster than anything at a recent LeMons event. Kicking some butt, and slicing through the pack, hour after hour. Are you thinking what I was thinking? Yep. His Mustang became the Chosen One. All good fun, he said, but grimaced about all the effort put into the fast little car. Too much effort, and everybody knew it. It is supposed to be Lemons, guys, not ALMS prototypes. Not to mention the arrogant driving style. We create our racing world in the same way. We are part of a community, on track and in paddock. In a wider circle, our behavior affects the whole race, class and group. I have seen one unruly driver drag down a whole series. Here's an idea from the nutty LeMons: At the end of a weekend, drivers rate the performance of their competitors. A report card. Records are kept. Too many black marks, and that driver's car is destroyed. Ha, payback! Okay, no, but maybe the driver sits out a few races. Or is asked not to return, thank you. A jury of our peers, just like in the constitution. Everybody in the sixty-car Spec Miata field knows who the dangerous ones are. I know our Stewards help keep a lid on crazies, thank you, but that is a complex and involved process. If nothing else, good feedback and more respect for the lives and property of others just like us.
 
 
 
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