Racing for the new economy, check out these clunkers.

This weekend in Houston is just one of dozens of races for the new economy. If you are feeling a little light in the pocket and can’t justify to your family the cost tickets to support the big name driver in their private jets, here is your event. A great off beach break until the temperatures return to normal, check out the 24 Hours of LeMons racing. Yes the spelling is correct, lemons.

The premise is simple. Get a junky old car for under $500, put in your own blood, sweat and tears, give it a theme and go race. Each team needs four drivers, (no experience required) to get on the track with some of the best drivers out there. Each track is a different venue, there are no extra charges to walk around the paddocks or pits to see all the cars.

This weekend in Houston is the Gato-Rama, with over 100 of these crazy cars all vying for a piston rod welded to a plate. The Rust Bucket Racers will be back with their 1993 Chevy Cavalier. The team crew chief, Mark Stephens, admitted under condition on anonymity that he had to add some extra metal to help keep the roll cage attached to the car. If the judges see the extra metal and complain, Mr. Stephens tells us he has a bribe that is “good enough”.

What separates this race is the open forum of liars cheaters and thieves. The tech inspection is pretty straight forward, the car is either a pile of junk and gets in, or it is fined laps based on the judges idea of leveling the field. If you can get away with something, and don’t get caught, it is open territory. If the judge fines you say 50 laps and a case of Shiner Bock limited edition is in your trunk, the fine and the brew might wander off with the judge. Last spring a guy showed up in a supercharged mini-cooper and was fined 1000 laps. The race is only 24 hours, and the track is two miles. The record is only 250 laps in Houston. He should have bribed better according to “Chico” the graphics master at Apex Graphics in Pearland Texas who was there to cheer on the 6 wheeled pickup truck brought in by Apex Custom Paint and Graphics.

Optomis Prime or an Imposter in the 24 Hours of Lemons Houston
Another Lemon turned into a race car

A driver who is blocking the road or bumping other drivers might get a lap around the paddock on a toilet seat labeled “crappy driver”, or you could see a “yellow flag parade” for all the cars that passed on a yellow. The fines can be anything like Lemons Trivia, a spare tire bolted to your roof or traffic cones to warn other drivers you aren’t the best of drivers.

You can check out the 24 Hours of LeMons at or follow the Rust Bucket Racing team at or rustbucketrace at twitter.

This really is what racing is all about isn’t it? Good clean fun and the cheaters openly bribe the judges, how much more real can it get. Look on the cars for the scales of justice to see who bribed their way in.

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