Thursday, November 20, 2008

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...

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