We all thought the final Cain’t Git Bayou 24 Hours of Lemons race would be the one held at Louisiana’s No Problem Raceway back in 2011, but we returned to the Sportsman’s Paradise State last weekend for our first-ever race at NOLA Motorsports Park: the fourth Cain’t Git Bayou 24 Hours of Lemons in series history. Here’s what happened.
The members of Texas-based Blue Goose Racing have been competing in the 24 Hours of Lemons since they ran a Honda CRX at the first Altamont race in 2007. They switched to a naturally-aspirated 1984 Audi 4000S Quattro many years ago, finally driving it to victory in Texas in 2015. At the ’18 Cain’t Git Bayou, they took an early lead and never relinquished it, grabbing the win on laps (plus the Class A victory) by a vast 15 laps over the Property Devaluation Racing Ford V8-swapped BMW E36.
The Blue Goose Audi wasn’t the fastest car on the track by any means, but the team’s wheelmen ran a flawless, mistake-free race and proved to be uncatchable by the rest of the field. There was some rain during the race, but not enough to make the win a sure thing for the only all-wheel-drive car in the field. Only one other Audi has ever taken an overall Lemons win— the cars with four rings on the grille have tended to be on the unreliable side in our series, if you know what we mean and we think you do— and that makes Blue Goose Racing’s second Lemons win all the more impressive.
Team Baby Got Track and their 2002 Ford Escort won Class B by a single lap over the Loose Lugnut Racing Nissan Maxima, after a hard-fought, weekend-long battle between four contenders in the medium-speed Lemons class. That’s not the end of the Class B story, however.
On the very last lap of the race, the Loose Lugnut Racing Maxima had a 12-second Class B lead, which seemed unassailable… right up to the moment at which a major suspension component failed, dropping the Maxima’s chassis onto the tarmac and slowing its speed to an agonizing crawl. The startled driver of the Baby Got Track Escort took immediate advantage and grabbed the class win. In recognition of their emotional distress, we awarded Loose Lugnut Racing the not-so-desirable I Got Screwed trophy.
If only an Escort had taken the Class A win, we’d have had our first-ever all-Escort class sweep. That wasn’t to be, but at least Wine-O Racing helped make it two out of three for the Ford Escort, taking Class C by four laps in their slushbox-afflicted ’03.
The team beaten by the Wine-O Escort had a car with a manual transmission plus a 4.2-liter straight-six engine, but (since that car was a 1974 AMC Gremlin X Levi’s Edition) we felt that the Class C playing field ended up fairly even. The justices of the Lemons Supreme Court were so impressed by Team Lowball’s efforts to beat a 21st-century automatic econobox for the Class C win that we handed the Judges’ Choice trophy over to the Kenosha commandos.
All three Porsches suffered multiple mechanical failures, which surprised no one, but the ORCA crew proved better at fixing maddening electrical problems and failures of excessively complex drivetrain components than the members of the other two Porsche teams. When the flag that is checkered waved, the ORCA 914 had turned 262 laps while the Tetanus and Porschelump 944s managed just 214 and 143 laps, respectively. Just to rub it in, the 914 had the fastest lap time of the three as well. For this, ORCA Racing left the awards ceremony with the Pride of Stuttgart trophy.
The Frankenguitarcarheds team members have been bringing their 1978 Chevrolet Camaro to Southern Lemons races since the 2015 ‘Shine Country Classic at Barber Motorsports Park, and it seemed each time that some seemingly minor mechanical ailment would sideline the car early and then prove to be impossible to solve by the end of the weekend. This time, that pattern seemed to be repeating itself, when the driveshaft fell off the Camaro early on Saturday. The team dealt with that problem with unusual quickness, though, and the Camaro got back into the action that same day.
Then some sort of catastrophic suspension failure caused the Camaro’s rear axle to add some unintended four-wheel-steering to the mix, and things looked bad for the Frankenguitarcarheds. Amazingly, they found some GM-issue duct tape, or whatever you use to fix this Camaro-only problem, and the car got back on the track in time to take the checkered flag. This failure to fail resulted in the awarding of the Most Heroic Fix trophy to the Frankenguitarcarheds.
At the Houston We Have a Problem race last fall, a bunch of freaks from California, with the involvement of Bad Idea Enabler Spank Spangler, bought a 1993 Chrysler LeBaron at a car auction for 50 bucks, caged it, drove it from San Diego to Houston, and won the Organizer’s Choice for the car’s
unutterable terribleness sumptuous luxury and comfortable on-track ride. The team then sold the car to a bunch of racers in New Orleans, who gave the car a coat of aluminum tape and painted whitewalls and appeared at the Cain’t Git Bayou as Team Geaux 4 Broke.
The Geaux 4 Broke guys endured some setbacks— for example, when their Chrysler’s fuel-filler neck fell off on the track and doused all the other cars with Regular Unleaded— but mostly they spend the weekend cracking up the spectators with their car’s door-handle-scraping handling and random automatic-transmission gear selections. We decided that we’d make the Geaux 4 Broke LeBaron the first car in Lemons history to win the prestigious Organizer’s Choice trophy in two consecutive races.
Ratsun Racing campaigned their awesome Datsun 210ZX in Lemons starting in 2012, finally getting that elusive Class C win last fall in Houston. Meanwhile, the Ratsun guys were building an even more
horrible spectacular kit car, which made its debut last weekend at the Cain’t Git Bayou.
Yes, a genuine Ferrari F40! Well, genuine in our hearts, anyway; Ratsun Racing had picked up a Pontiac Fiero-based F40-inspired kit car, which they dubbed the Fierrari WTF40. It took them a few years to prepare for racing, but we think it was worth the effort.
an automatic came with the engine-donor car they wanted the driver comfort of an automatic transmission, the Ratsun mechanics equipped the WTF40 with a genuine three-speed/two-pedal setup. Clearly, this car would be every bit as good as a so-called real F40 on the race track!
Then the aftermarket front suspension components, which the Ratsun guys had installed to replace the allegedly fragile Chevette-sourced bits installed by General Motors, failed in dramatic fashion. First, the left side collapsed, sent the WTF40 looping into the weeds, and required a tedious flatbed transport back to the Ratsun pit space.
The Ratsun Racing team members never gave up on their Fierrari, though, and the WTF40 finished 34th out of 43 entries, circling the track 119 times (which was about 115 more laps than we expected). All of this made the Index of Effluency decision an easy one: Ratsun Racing by a wide margin. We hope to see the WTF40 contend for a solid Class C win, once its many bugs get sorted out.
This weekend, we do it all over again at the Yokohama Joliet Prison Break in Illinois. See you there!
For a big gallery of Cain’t Git Bayou photos, go here.