How the 24 Hours of Lemons reminded us of the true joy of racing

By Tom Suddard
May 3, 2024 | 24 Hours of Lemons | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Photography by Chris Tropea

The 24 Hours of Lemons prides itself on being one of the most accessible ways to go wheel-to-wheel racing on the planet, and despite our garage full of fast cars, we try to do at least one Lemons race every year. Why? Because they’re just plain fun. Over the years, we’ve brought a Volkswagen Fox and a few different Miatas …

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Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/3/24 8:41 a.m.

Well done sir.

There are quite a few teams that take Lemons very seriously. There are a few of us that are there for the party, not the trophy. 

Our best finish in the last 16 years has been 9th out of 97 cars. We have brought a few other awards home. Like, Most Likely to Go Home in an Ambulance and Organizer's Choice. We even pulled off an IOE after welding a B210 transmission back together to finish a race. When the team starts making noises about faster driver changes, pit stops, and class wins, I know it's time for me to move on. That's not why I run Lemons. While winning can be fun, winning with a junkyard car is hard work. You spend countless hours to make a car work, only to be let down by a 25-year-old gasket, or a rusty bolt. It sucks all the fun out of Lemons racing in a hurry.  


Yep, that's the input shaft welded to the output shaft using a Harbor Freight flux core welder. I figured it would last about 30 minutes. Instead, it ran for 8 hours. The young lady in the back is my daughter. We put her on track at midnight with a broken single-speed car. It was her first time on a road course. After 30 minutes she was turning lap time within 15 seconds of the best of us using all the gears. 


RobCrouch GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/3/24 1:53 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

That's hella awesome!

Bugweiser74 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/3/24 8:49 p.m.

It will be at the Sebring race May 18,19

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) UltimaDork
5/4/24 5:52 a.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

I would have to say I respectfully disagree.  I am in my 13th season, with over 65 races.  I also work for them.  I've been with the same team since the beginning, we have several cars.  We have won literally every award there is, multiple times.  The car I run has at least a dozen top tens, as high as second.  We talk about fast pit stops, etc...  At the same time, we have the time of our lives at the races.  We're a family and are there to have fun.  We try damn hard to be competitive, yet if E36 M3 happens, then oh well.  We usually host the potluck dinner, do themes, goof off and enjoy being around friends.  There are tons of teams like that.  The teams that come in looking ONLY for competition and no fun usually don't last long in Lemons.  They move elsewhere, and we're glad they do.  You can have fun and compete hard at the same time.  This is the car I run.

Our drivers.  Far left is my dear friend who sadly passed away in March 2023, he is in our hearts forever.  In the middle is the car owner (his uncle) and I'm on the right.

racerfink UberDork
5/4/24 7:43 a.m.

So, how easy/difficult would it be to show up looking for a ride at the Sebring race?  I've never run a Lemons event, but have been running with Champcar, WRL, and AER since 2014, and started at Sebring with SCCA in 1991.  

akylekoz UltraDork
5/4/24 7:54 a.m.

Thera is a forum here and on the Lemons site with teams looking for drivers.  I have to add a new driver occasionally.

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) UltimaDork
5/4/24 8:37 a.m.
racerfink said:

So, how easy/difficult would it be to show up looking for a ride at the Sebring race?  I've never run a Lemons event, but have been running with Champcar, WRL, and AER since 2014, and started at Sebring with SCCA in 1991.  

You really can't.  You need to find a ride in advance.  If you show up randomly, you will pay the $30 spectator fee.  Then if you find a ride you will buy a Lemons license and pay the driver fee which is about twice as much as doing it ahead of time.  It's very strongly discouraged. 

buzzboy UltraDork
5/4/24 9:56 a.m.

I've been in Lemons for 11 years and ~20 races. It's truly the light of my year. We've been on a bit of a hiatus, and or driving other people's cars, since 2020 but we're still doing the best we can with the worst we can bring. CMP 2024 we only turned 27 laps(and burned almost 9quarts of oil) but had a great time being back where we love to be. I can't wait to get back on track with my (hopefully soon completeed) Racecar!

I've raced and transmission swapped the TR8 in the lead photo. Bendie is a super fun little car. Like a Miata but with torque!

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