Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We did it!

The results are not so good, but we learned a ton about racing.. and just how crappy our radio setup was...

Ended up 70th overall, and were forced to trailer the car 2.5 hours early due to too many black flags.

Monday, December 22, 2008


The loading of the second car didn't go too well last time, so Dave and I decided to "upgrade" the ramps.

We added a platform of 1 1/2" plywood across the back (screwed directly into the trunk of the parts car... hope we dont need that part). Then re-inforced the ramps a bit.

Holy Ice Batman

So mother earth has decided to blow her nose all over the Portland area.. and the metropolitan areas are a TRAVESTY... why can't people learn how to drive in the snow?

Quick updates:

- Modified ramps completed to avoid losing the front end of the race car over the side of the parts car.

- Drank beer

- Installed coolant overflow tank

- Installed hard-wood floors in the passenger side

- Drank beer

- Installed windshield wipers and fixed squirters

- Drank beer

- Relocated wiper switch to accomodate HANS device

ummm Drank more beer?

Hope I can get out of town in the crap..

my e30

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Final Touches

So Erik is out of town, so Dave and I decided to add a little "spice" to the car and to the theme. The wives were excited to break out the spray pain, and we were excited to play with more bamboo!

This is what we came up with... Flower Power!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our first roadtrip!

So this weekend we wanted to do a dry run with most of our gear loaded on the trailer... needless to say, it was quite an experience. 2 12' cars on a 20ft trailer. I guess it's a good thing we dont care about the body of the parts car! On the drive down to the allignment shop, we put the front bumper on the back end of the parts car. We tried a different technique on the way back.

Special Thanks to Bob at Superior Performace for allowing us to use his high-tech allignment rack.

This is what we did on the way home... scary as sh*t driving it up on the trailer. The theory was to put the front wheels of the race car, ON TOP of the trunk of the parts car. All was perfect, until my aim was a "little off"

Friday, December 12, 2008

How much does it cost to run a LeMons race?

Well, let me tell you!

Team Total
$ 3,139.26

If you have 4 people, that's $784.81 per person... which does NOT include lodging once you get there, personal safety items (suit, shoes, gloves), and any other useless crap you end up buying at the track (we all do it...)

The bulk of our budget came from the ridiculous gas prices, and multiple trips to Seattle to pick up the car and the parts car (I wish prices were then, what they are now). Tires, high-end brake pads, Spare head gasket, and diesel for the truck to drag it 500 miles each way played a huge part as well.

Miraculously, we are $128.27 UNDER BUDGET for the car... It turns out parts on the 88 MR2 are worth quite a bit of money on ebay. We sold the interior for $125, and misc trim pieces for about $90. and that MOMO steering wheel we got in the purchase? $120 on ebay.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who is bringing the tools? You are, I am, Dave is, Jeff is. Jeff is bringing hand tools galore, we're bringing whatever specialty/automotive tools we think we'll need along with the generator and compressor. Jeff is bringing a wire feed, right?

Who is riding in what car? Down: Matt Jeff Erik in truck, Chris Rhi Tyler Tiffani in Chris' car. Up: Matt Erik Tiffani Rhi Tyler in truck, Chris Dave in Chris' car.

What tools do we need? None. Dave needs to bring his puller kit thingie and we need to decide who's bringing the wire feed.

Who has the radios? Where are the batteries? You have the radios and the batteries, from your dad.

Do the radios even work?? See last question

Where did I put my race suit that I bought 4 months ago? WOW... Maybe I should dryclean it? Uh...I think it's in the shop, actually. Didn't you already clean it? Maybe it's just you that stinks...

Does the car run well enough? No.

Did I forget to weld on that last hood pin support? Yes.

What time should we leave Portland to make it there in time to drive on Friday? Leaving will be dictated, unfortunately, by my aunt's diner schedule. At this point it's looking like start at 3pm and I can skeedadle by 6ish, on the road by 7, so lets say we're rolling by 8 after I've totally redone all the car binding you guys mess up.

Can we afford to drive Friday? No. Will anyway.

Did we ever get the mounting hardware for the HANS device? On dave's plate, he has our helmet.

Do the micorphones for our Chatterbox fit on a 3/4 helmet? See question way the fook up there that say it's your problem.

Should we park close to the track, or close to power? Life's about compromise, and we'll grab whatever spot looks sweet in our delerious drove-through-the-night state.

Will we even have power? We have a generator and propane, we're set for worst-case-scenario.

Where the F are we doing to put the welder, engine hoist, floor jack, aircompressor? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no idea. Probably in and on and under the cars as much as possible.

Whos idea was it to buy a 1975 camper that wont fit any of our tools? You had no part of it, fuck off.

How the hell do we fit 2 MR2's on a 20' flatbed. 2x6's my friend, and a fearless heart. And foolishness. And beer.

Once we get the MR2's on, where are we going to put the rest of the shit? You already asked that. Are you drunk?

Do we have enough power in the Ford to pull all this crap over the pass? Power? Yes. Everything else? No.

Gas is HOW MUCH?? Less than rediculous.

Logistical Nightmare

We have spent so many nights working on the car, and discussing what needed to be done... and yet I feel like we are SO far away from being organized for the race.

Who is bringing the tools?
Who is riding in what car?
What tools do we need?
Who has the radios? Where are the batteries?
Do the radios even work??
Where did I put my race suit that I bought 4 months ago? WOW... Maybe I should dryclean it?
Does the car run well enough?
Did I forget to weld on that last hood pin support?
What time should we leave Portland to make it there in time to drive on Friday?
Can we afford to drive Friday?
Did we ever get the mounting hardware for the HANS device?
Do the micorphones for our Chatterbox fit on a 3/4 helmet?
Should we park close to the track, or close to power?
Will we even have power?
Where the F are we doing to put the welder, engine hoist, floor jack, aircompressor?
Whos idea was it to buy a 1975 camper that wont fit any of our tools?
How the hell do we fit 2 MR2's on a 20' flatbed
Once we get the MR2's on, where are we going to put the rest of the shit?
Do we have enough power in the Ford to pull all this crap over the pass?
Gas is HOW MUCH??


I'm getting stressed, but totally excited!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We have a parts car!

Thanks Erik for making the trek BACK UP to Seattle to pick up ANOTHER car...

I'm glad you didn't break anything when this happened

Now to figure out how to put two MR2's on a 20' flatbed trailer, while towing the 10' camper in the background.

mmm diesel trucks

Updates - Car is safety ready!

Well it's been a LONG few weeks trying to manage our meager existences, while attempting to earn enough money to satisfy "the man", and ohh yeah.. trying to hold our marriages together.

But we have progress!

The cage is in, and most of the welds look like they are from a Kindergarden "Welding Day". I thought we had someone that did this for a living on our team? I guess it's hard to get a lot accomplished (and pretty) if you have a fully stocked kegerator sitting 10 feet away.

Special thanks to Dave for supplying the bottle of Black Velvet that led to an almost loss of finger, marriage, etc. etc. My wife still hates me by the way.... Happy B-Day to me!

Other random things we got done.

bubble blower is installed (and functioning beautifully I might add)

Amazingly enough, our vision of a "0 emissions, free range organicly grown race car" have come to fruition... Our highly secretive process of converting the earths natural "chi" into a harnessable force using the largest organically grown crystal in the world is now ready to catapult our car past the competitors. (Don't tell Jay, it still runs on gas)

For clarification, we have a switch in the cockpit that turns on a bubble blower that will shower our opponents with soapy grossness out the back of that rather farty looking tailpipe. Realistically, we will probably only be able to run it in the pits, but it's still pretty cool!

On another accomplishment note: We have a Mascot!
Meet Khundahlini, our resident spotted owl who will watch over our team to ensure fair play!
I wish I had time to wire red LED's to his eyes, but we only have a couple weeks left, and the car doesnt even run...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hot Gawd Damn this blog is a Failure

Yup, we're actually spending our time working on the car instead of talking about it. We've almost got the cage totally done, I'm a battery mount away from having the wiring done, and a belt or bigger alt pulley and the motor will be ready to re-fire up. We have a seat. We have most of a steering wheel. What else could we need? Oh yeah, our rebuilt brakes won't build pressure, weird. more bleeding in my future. Both brakes and me.

But what I wanted to talk about was my dissapointment in other teams that are obviously cheating. The attractiveness of this race to me is that for very little money and a lot of hard work I can compete in a very real way with other racers. That is, of course, if they follow the rules. We have been following the blog of another certain race team here in portland that is BLATANTLY cheating, and then blogging about it. With $500, you just can't buy a car and then rebuild EVERYTHING. Let alone TWO of everything. It makes me very angry. We're putting our faith in a 215k mile motor, because that's the spirit of the competition, and these guys are building not one, but two motors and transmissions, not to mention 'borrowing' lots of expensive race parts from their real full-time race car. I guess if you bought it for $400 a year ago and then used it for a year, it's probably totally worthless now, right? It's BULL SHIT. Even if we could afford to cheat, I wouldn't. Not that we can afford it, you understand. In the end, we may not win this race, we may not even finish, but these guys are going to have to know that however they do it wasn't an honest effort and they don't deserve any good that happens to them. They've already earned my vote for people's curse. In fact, I may just pass copies of their blog around the pits to ensure they get votes from others, as well.

I need coffee. And beer.


Since I was extremely lazy, and didn't really want to start blogging until we GOT IN to the race... I'm going to do a quick photo montage of the progress thus far.
Step 1: GUT IT OUT




Main Hoop

More to come...

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Car

So I am posting all the past stuff that we have done on the car, and trying to not leave out all the crap that I have probably forgotten!

I located an ex auto-x car in the Seattle area that had been in a front end "fender bender"... as it turns out, it was more of a "frame bender", but who's counting?

The stats:

1988 Toyota MR2 w/ 232k miles on the odo

The good:

  • Tokiko adjustable struts
  • Poly bushings in the rear
  • Header
  • List of stuff that we can sell!
  • It runs.... kinda
  • Pretty wheels!
  • $400 bucks!

The bad:

  • It runs.... kinda
  • Bent frame
  • Resonctructed title... not once, not twice, but three times. It's been BEAT
  • Tires are SHOT
  • Demolished windshield
  • Throttle cable is hanging on by one thread
  • Brakes are leaking badly... need a caliper rebuild badly
  • 230k miles on ORIGINAL tranny... /cry

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Motoventure Who?

So I was approached by a very good friend of mine about midway through the initial planning sessions. He was / is a producer and owner of a local film company, and he was extatic about the race.. and the chance to film it! Enter Brian and Thor...

Brian (owner) Thor (star) have done a couple motorcycle adventure movies in the past, and were thrilled at the chance to be a part of the craziness that we all know as the 24 hours of lemons. Brian contacted Jay Lamm about doing the film, and everyone agreed that footage would be ok.. with a small possibility that ALL footage of the race would be copywritted (I dont understand this part, but this leads us to losing our sponsorship, and our chance at stardom!).

4 weeks ago, Motoventure films was responsible for the fiming and producing of a documentary of the Mt Hood Rally Moto (in partnership with BMW, and a few other companies). Well it turns out that this race took a serious toll on the finances and equipement of Motoventure films... (namely, they shattered two HD cameras). Erik and I received a friendly but dissapointing phone call from Brian stating that they were out for this year's race... oh well

Enter Dave and Jeff (i actually found Dave through craigslist... I was looking for steel and he offered to help with the cage).

We are now:


Brian and Thor who?

history of Free Range

I have been told I should do some team history, so here goes.

In 2007 I was part of a car forum ( Within the forum we tried, and failed, to organize a team to enter a car in the 24 Hours of Lemons at Altamont. The seed was planted in my brain, however, and I had made some contacts who were also interested.

Mid-October 2007 I was selling the stock wheels off my wife's Subaru Legacy. Some dude showed up and was more than happy to pay for stock steel wheels. I couldn't imagine why, so I asked. "We're building a cheap race car, and it's likely the wheels will get hit. Steel wheels bend, not break", he said. "what kind of race could that possibly be", was the obvious reply. You know the answer; LeMons. I told him I had tried and failed to get in, and lo-and-behold he had a spot open. Two, in fact, and needed the cash. So I was in, and set him up with my contact from the car forum who had worked with me in our previous attempt. That guy was Matt.

So, turns out he only had one spot available, as a long-shot friend came up with the cash last minute. Matt was out, and pissed, but he and I started talking about entering another day, and acutally hanging out and working on cars. I had a garage, he had ambition. Good combination.

December 2007 I ran with team Festivus (think Seinfeld) at the initial 24 Hours of LeMons Thunderhill. The team was headed by someone else, organized by someone else, and yet the car ended up in my garage and I did a massive amount of work on it. Despite having six team members and only getting a little under two hours behind the wheel, it was a total blast and worth the approximately $600 total it cost me for the experience. However, at the end of the race, on the drive home, the original organizer made it clear that I actually had NO investment in the car, that he owned it, and that I could go pound sand. Needless to say, that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Matt and I vowed to get into Altamont 2008. He had a car already, a Talon TSi he had been sitting on for years. It was a turbo. It was AWD. It hadn't run in years. It was perfect. We had no team members, we had no money, but we had a car. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to write an application and, after getting the car running and roping in another team member, we didn't get in to the race. We did, however, sell the car for massive profit (assuming it was worth next to nothing when we started working on it).

We learned something from that failed application (mostly because I asked the organizer, Jay Lamm, why we failed and he told me) so we knew we were set for getting in to thunderhill. Matt and I spent some time turning wrenches after not getting into Altamont, had good team mate understanding going on, and we were ready for the next LeMons opportunity...

Keeping track late in the game

HI! We are free range racing, a grass roots race team participating in the 24 Hours of LeMons at Thunderhill, 2008. We are building a $500 total investment race car to compete against other $500 cars. The process of building this car is pretty intense, and is definitely a major part of the fun of this competition!

Our Team:

Erik (ME!!!): team captain, general tight wad and mechanical hack

Matt: Accountant and project manager. No real skills. (From Matt: Erik, yer a douche)

Dave: Fabricator and High Performance Driving Instructor. Clearly we drugged him and tricked him into joining the team

Jeff: Our California Connection. Financier and driver, won't see the car until he sits down to race.

As time permits, I'll fill in all the details of the car, the build thus far, the drama, the race, the finances and every other aspect of getting this project from the thrill of actually being accepted to the race to putting tires to tarmack.