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Prickstine invades SEMA!

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Yeah, we’ve been slacking on updating this blog. Sorry! Since our last race, we’ve been spending most of our time prettying up the car (applying new silver tape and rolling on new Rustoleum, heh) in preparation for its appearance at the SEMA show. For those who don’t know, SEMA is the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas, where aftermarket car parts companies reveal their newest performance and appearance modifications. It’s a huge week long show that takes over the Vegas convention center and companies exhibiting at the show sponsor show vehicles to display their products. It’s one of the biggest car shows in the country, and we were honored to have Bilstein sponsor us for the show.

Before the show, we made it into the SEMA News magazine which previewed the best and most unique cars to appear at the show:

Our $500 wunderjunk racer was definitely out of place being surrounded by highly modified big buck show cars. The owner of the Camaro parked next to us actually asked to have his car moved after we parked there! Ben, Jeff, and I were at the show for most of the week and were taking in all the show had to offer, so we weren’t just standing by our car the whole time. But from what we saw, the reception of our car was equally divided between people who were confused and/or annoyed by our car being at the show, and people who absolutely loved it and got a big kick out of it. We were thoroughly amused at both types of reactions.

Prickstine did get some press: 

The photo was taken while I was being interviewed for a trade show magazine:

And in our proudest moment,

While most car owners would be offended at this, we are wearing it as a badge of honor because… well hell, our admittedly piece of junk car made it into SEMA!

After the show, we decided to drive Prickstine up and down the strip a few times to get some cool photos. And thanks to David Moore and Kris Linquist’s camera skills, that’s exactly what we got!

 

Many thanks to both Dave and Kris for coming out and taking some great shots for us! Here are their two photo galleries respectively:

Our week at SEMA was a blast and we were extremely proud to be there and join in the festivities. Many thanks to Cami Hermann for getting us into the show.

But wait, that’s not all! During SEMA, a friend of mine who is captain of another local LeMons racing team informed me that Dave Stall, resident San Diego car guy on TV and radio, has a motorsports segment on the KUSI Saturday morning news, and he wanted to do a bit to promote the 24 Hours of LeMons and the other team, since they are racing to raise money for leukemia research (). So yesterday morning, our team along with four others appeared on the news.

Our next race is in about three weeks at the Arse Freeze-a-palooza at Buttonwillow Raceway. We only have a little bit of work left on the car since I worked my butt off to get the car ready for SEMA. So that’s it for now. Hope to see you next month!

Our best race ever!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

The race has been over for two weeks now, so I guess a blog update is overdue!

Weeks and weeks of hard work turned our beloved Porcubimmer into Steven King’s killer ‘58 Plymouth Fury. Except instead of being Christine, we have Prickstine!

First, of the car courtesy of our buddy Dave at

The final race tally for the “Goin’ For Broken” race at Thunderhill Raceway: 6th place, finishing 4 laps behind the winner. 373 laps over 17 hours. That’s 1100 miles!

We also won the “Awesome E30″ award (actually we were co-winners along with the “E30chero”). The organizers of the race dislike BMW E30s (84-91 BMW 3-series cars, for those not in the know) because there are so many teams that run them. So many teams run them because they’re pretty decent race cars right out of the box and the organizers think it doesn’t take much effort to make one race ready. Obviously we worked very hard to make our car stand out from the crowd, and it was a great honor for us to be recognized for our efforts. The trophy is too tall to fit on my garage trophy shelf!

Judge Phil also did an awesome write-up on our car for Jalopnik.

The race couldn’t have gone much better for us. The car ran beautifully, and while it wasn’t the fastest on the straights, we could reel in just about any car in the corners thanks to talented driving, new suspension bushings, and upgraded tires. The only mechanical issue the car had was a somewhat flaky computer. The car would stumble and not run right over 4500 RPM, so we just adapted and shifted sooner.

We only had two driver mishaps. The first was when Ben went a little too hot into a corner, went off the outside of the track, and then spun back across, resulting in a black flag.

Luckily we had “Get out of jail free” cards left over from the last race, so Ben was in and out of the penalty box in a couple of minutes. Then at the very end of day one, Kris was black flagged for an unknown offense. He came into the penalty box after the checkered flag, and luckily the judges were in a good mood so they forgave our offense and let us go. Woohoo!

Day two was absolutely flawless and all of our drivers turned up the heat and got better times than the day before. The “V8Volvo” had a large lead over all of the other cars when its rear diff grenaded with 40 minutes left. Their unfortunate breakdown allowed us to pass them in the standings just before the end of the race, and we ultimately finished 6th, our best finish ever! Our car didn’t suffer a scratch!

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The other teams in the top 5 are all LeMons veterans with a lot of experience. We are extremely proud that our rag-tag team finished as well as it did, even with our one incident. I alway tell the drivers that we’re in this for fun, and I make sure all the paying drivers get their fair turn behind the wheel.

For now, I’m enjoying having a social life and not having to spend every afternoon in the garage, but we hope to be back in December at the next LeMons race at Buttonwillow, possibly with a stop at SEMA beforehand. Stay tuned!

It’s almost time!

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Update

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

We’ve been slacking on updating this blog, so here’s a quick update.

Our team was one of 10 voted into the 24 Hours of LeMons’   This is their version of a hall of fame, and we feel it’s a great honor, considering the teams we were up against. Actually, I have raced with two of the 10 Wall of Blame winners. Maybe I’m the key to LeMons greatness? Nah.

After receiving this prestigious award, we decided to leave on a high note and retire the Porcubimmer theme. The car, drivers, and team are the same, but the pricks will live on only in our memories. We’ve decided to take it a whole new direction and transform our trusty steed into a……

….well, you’ll just have to wait until the “Goin’ For Broken” race at Thunderhill on May 8-9. It’s nothing like the old car, but just as ridiculous. With one week to go, Jeff and I are working at a feverish pace to get it done. Once again I have to give major thanks to Jeff and his creativity when it comes to the theme and decoration of our car. Without him, we’d be just another team with a schiesse E30.

We finish in the Top 10!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Yeah, I know, the race was a week ago, but I’ve been busy as hell. So better late than never. First of all, the pics:

Mike E. made the trek out to Buttonwillow from Pennsylvania to be part of our team and take some epic photos documenting it all. Thanks so much, your photos really captured the event as it was.

Team Porcubimmer’s latest foray into the world of LeMons racing was at the Buttonwillow Raceway last weekend. After coming in 79th and 32nd place in our last two races, we were thrilled to come in 9th place this time out of 95+ competitors! The total tally:

263 laps, for a total time of 13 hours and 18 minutes, and we were 18 laps behind the winner. Not too shabby! This was by far the best LeMons race I have participated in (it was my 5th time), but it was not without drama.

The track didn’t open for tech until Friday, but I decided to make the 5 hour drive on Thursday just in case I had any problems. And problems I had. First of all, I didn’t even make it out of San Diego before the rented trailer blew a tire on the freeway. I have no idea how long I drove with it blown, but unfortunately it was long enough to ruin the other tire on the same side of the trailer, as it had to hold all of the weight of the trailer and the sidewall bulged out and scraped against the inner fender in the process. 2 hours and $275 later, I was on the road again with two new Goodyears.

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5 miles down the freeway, I was crawling along in stop and go traffic, when I felt a thump behind me. I looked in the mirror and saw a Jeep Wrangler with its front tires up on the trailer! As I pulled into the emergency lane, I was pulling the Jeep too. I got out, and luckily I had my camera with me. This is what I saw:

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I figured the Porcubimmer would be pretty hard to ignore, but apparently not. The Jeep drove up on the trailer, hit the back of the race car, and lifted it up and forward a few feet. The trailer had a bent lip, and the Porcubimmer suffered a crumpled quarter panel, rear valence, and spare tire well. The rear bumper did its job, mainly because we had previously welded the mounts solid. The Jeep obviously took the brunt of the hit and had to be towed. Nobody was injured, so we swapped info and after some help to get the car back on the trailer from my former driver Vince (who was towing his own car to LeMons and stopped to help), I was back on the road, and the rest of the drive was uneventful.

On Friday we set up our pit space at the track near Rich’s RV (which provided some welcome shade and air conditioned comfort). We opted to pay for for a half day practice session to make sure the car was ready for the race. My turn was highlighted by me going off track into the dirt (went a little too fast on my first lap), followed by the car dying and refusing to restart. A tow back into the pits revealed the computer had failed. We swapped in the spare and ran the rest of the day without incident. The car ran great and it was clear the track was going to be fast. We finished off the day by eating at one of the best Mexican restaurants I’ve ever been to (with the biggest burrito I have seen), followed by beers and BS on the lawn in front of Motel 6. Yep, the full Bakersfield experience.

Saturday was race day, and Mike was the first driver (he had driven at Buttonwillow before, unlike the rest of us). We were awarded pole position for winning the scavenger hunt, and Mike’s stint was fast but uneventful. I was up next and the car and I ran great. It was a ton of fun out on the track, and surprisingly I was able to pass or keep up with nearly every other car out there. No drama other than me getting a bit sideways in one corner but to my amazement I saved it.

Reid was up next, and everything was going fine until the car started sputtering around some corners. It got bad enough that Reid came in to pit. We checked for fuel and spark and found we had both. With no better idea, we decided to swap computers again, which was easy because the spare computer was zip tied to the main unit in the car, so we just swapped the connector over and sent Reid on his way. Everything was fine after that. I think the computer mounted to the transmission tunnel may be getting too hot, so I’ll have to think of a way to move it and keep it cool.

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After this, we checked the current race results and were amazed to see we were in 6th place. Ben went out next and ran great until he was spun out by some Sentra (didn’t see it happen, but he got tagged in the same corner which was damaged in the accident during the tow up) and had to come into the pits after getting a black flag. Luckily we had the “Get out of jail free” cards from the scavenger hunt (I taped a “dispenser” on the door for just such an occasion) but we had to swap drivers. Kris hopped in for his stint as Ben tried to shake off the effects of his dirt shower. We checked the rankings again and saw that we were in 7th or 8th place. Since Ben had to come in a bit early, Kris’ stint would be extra long. We wanted to keep him out until the end of the day since we actually had a chance of finishing in the top 10. This made the team particularly nervous due to his thimble bladder which became an issue at our last race, but he was able to hold out until the end and brought the car in unscathed. We finished the day in 7th or 8th (I think).

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On Sunday morning we swapped tires, gave the car a good once-over, and went out on the track once again. The car ran like a clock in the hands of Kris, then Ben, then Mike. Mike then radioed in that the gas pedal no longer worked and he was stuck out on the track. Thankfully he wasn’t too far from the pit entrance, so a tow truck was able to retrieve him quickly. With the car back in the pits, we learned that the accelerator cable had become disconnected from the pedal. We were thinking of how to fix it when a member of the Formula BMW “Pink Pig” team happened to be walking by and saw the problem. He immediately jumped in our car head first (literally) and fixed the cable with zip ties. Thanks, dude!

At least we were able to reciprocate the friendly spirit of LeMons helping a couple of other BMW teams by loaning them belts and a guibo. Anyway, with the car fixed, my stint went great, along with Reids, and we took the checkered flag in 9th place!

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The last lap was full of drama, with the 1st and 2nd place cars only seconds a part and battling it out for the win. This resulted in the 2nd place Integra flipping upside down which meant most of the last lap was under yellow flag conditions. It was at that point that Reid accidentally jammed the front of the Porcubimmer into the back of the Pink Pig Formula BMW…. yes, the same team whose driver fixed our throttle cable. Sorry guys!

At least the Formula BMW guys took it in stride, but once again Reid leaves me with some body repair work to do. Damn you.

Ok, this is a long entry, but I’m thrilled at how well we did. This was the ///best race evar for all of us. We didn’t expect to do so well, especially considering most of the teams ahead of us had full race shops or engineering degrees at their disposal. I had to move my dad’s car out of the garage any time I wanted to work on the car!

So, big thanks to our hot shoe drivers Ben, Kris, Mike, and Reid who kicked major ass out on the track. Major thanks also to our pit crew, consisting of Andy D, Andy R, Don, Doug, Mike E, Rich, and Scott, for keeping things organized and sticking to the schedule. Hopefully I didn’t put the “dick” in dictator! Finally, thanks to my dad for all of his help working on the car, and to my patient and supportive girlfriend Chrissy for understanding why I spent every weekend for the last 2 months wrenching on a POS BMW. Okay, maybe “accepting” is more accurate than “understanding.” At least she was able to see that the end result was worth it out on the track!

We probably won’t be back on the track for a while, as I need a break from wrenching. But I guarantee you that the Porcubimmer will be on the track again, in some form or another!

-Scott

We’re #1!!

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

First, an update from the San Diego Grand Challenge. Back on 7/25 we once again we headed out to Barona drag strip on a hot Saturday morning to run embarrassingly slowly down the 1/8 mile track. Right when I got to the track, the car wouldn’t start without a push. This concerned me, as the car had no problem starting in the past, but I wrote it off as a dying battery or starter - both fairly easy to replace. But then I noticed the temp gauge was pegged all the way hot not long after the car was started. Uh-oh. Feeling the engine and watching the fan, I concluded that the engine wasn’t as hot as the gauge led me to believe. I was starting to get a bit worried, but decided to give it a run anyway.

I launched the car off the line and … nothing. The car stalled out and wouldn’t start again. It’d crank and the engine would catch for a second, but then die again. I took it into the pits, where it would run for about a minute and then die again. I tried to do some electrical diagnosis but couldn’t figure it out. Rather than risk pissing off the other racers by trying to run again, I called it a day and towed the car home.

Once I got it home, I mentally went over everything I had done to the car since the last race which could have caused the problem. It hit me…. a bad ground. Bad grounds can cause all sorts of weird issues. The weekend before I had replaced the oil pan gasket, and there’s a big ground cable attached to the pan. Sure enough, I checked the cable and the bolt holding it on was only finger tight. I cranked it down and problem solved! I felt kind of stupid for causing my own problem (and a DNF in the SDGC) but at least the solution was simple.

Now, fast forward to today. We were scheduled to run the next SDGC autocross until it was announced that there would be a second LeMons “Junkyard Scabenger Hunt” today. Long time readers (ha) may recall we came in 2nd place in the first scavenger hunt up in NorCal. Since the next LeMons race is in SoCal (sorta), this time Judge Jonny Lieberman headed up a junkyard scavenger hunt in L.A. My dad, my buddies Don, Andy, Dave, and I made the trek up there and barely got to the junkyard in time (I hate L.A. traffic). But the effort was worth it, because we beat out 5 or 6 other teams in collecting utensils, prescription drugs, air fresheners, dealer badges, hose clamps, homework, and other oddities from junkyard cars (including a box of synthetic urine and a pair of panties) and came in first place by a large margin! Our efforts were rewarded by receiving pole position in the race (which means jack squat in a 14 hour race, but hey, at least we’ll be in 1st place for a while!), and three “Get out of jail free” cards. This means 3 of our black flag penalties will be voided! In a perfect world, we would not get any black flags, but this is hardly a perfect race, so getting these jailbreak cards is HUGE! Big thanks to everyone who helped today.

The race is less than two weeks away, so in the next week I’ll be tying up all loose ends and hopefully will get the car into race shape. Of course you can never prepare for all possible scenarios, but I’ll do my best.

-Scott

San Diego Grand Challenge update

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I realized we haven’t updated the blog in a while, and our legions of fans have been waiting with bated breath for updates! So here goes.

Three weekends ago, Don and I made it out to Barona 1/8 mile drag strip for the first racing event for the San Diego Grand Challenge. Being a mostly stock 125 hp car, I wasn’t expecting much, but we didn’t do so bad. Running on some really old worn out Azenis RT-215 autocross tires as our “slicks,” Don pulled a best of 10.105, and I ran a 10.139, both with 2.2_ 60 foot times. Surprisingly we were just a tenth or two slower than the other two E30 BMWs in the series, both of which should have at least 50 more HP than us. Everything was going great until I made a run and found the transmission wouldn’t budge from 2nd gear no matter what I did. We were done for the night, and Don and I had to drop the driveshaft from the car in the dirt by the light of his car’s headlights so we could tow it home. Luckily our times were good for 5th place out of the 9 competitors there that night. Here’s a photo of our drag monster in action thanks to Dave at

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The following weekend Don and I pulled the transmission out of the car to survey the damage. One of the shift forks in the trans had jammed up, so we fixed it. We also noticed that the driveshaft “guibo” was in pretty bad shape despite having being replaced a year and a half ago. Then again we haven’t exactly been babying the car.

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After getting the trans back together and installing a new guibo, we put it all back in last Saturday. Luckily the car actually ran and drove fine after our repairs, since an autocross for the SDGC was scheduled the next day.

So yesterday I headed down to the stadium for the SCCA autocross that the SDGC is a part of. I went solo, as Vince was supposed to be my partner but was busy working on his own LeMons pile err…. car. Long story short, the car ran great but unfortunately I didn’t. On the first run, I spun right at the end of the course when the ass end swung around and I plowed down a bunch of cones. Second run, the car understeered after the finish line and I plowed down a bunch of cones AFTER the timing lights. Third and fourth runs were better, with a best of 65.7. This, compared to the top two cars (the other two E3os which had bigger tires and experienced autocrossers behind the wheel - ricer excuses, I know) running 63 second laps put us in 5th place once again. Hmm, I’m detecting a theme.

I mainly wanted to run the car in the SDGC to shake it down in preparation for LeMons and have some fun in the meantime. By having the transmission failure at the drag races, we definitely succeeded in at least the first point! Talking about LeMons… it’s coming up fast. We still need to make a few changes to the car to meet some of the new safety rules (mainly add a 2nd door bar to the roll cage and extend the exhaust), and I have a few other durability modifications in mind since our next race will be in 100+ degree temps. I think I have bitten off a bit more than I can chew by running the SDGC and getting the car ready for LeMons, mainly because I’m the only one working on the car since most of the team has moved away (with the exception of some help from Don which is MUCH appreciated). I had some lofty goals to change the theme on the car which may not happen, but at least we’ll get to race.

Okay, that’s all for now. I’ll try to keep our race fans updated more often! Who am I kidding, maybe 3 people read this haha.

-Scott

If this is a show car, where are the import hoochies?

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Porky’s Totally Awesome Weekend continued this past Sunday as we entered our first event in the , the Concours d’Elegance.  More like the Concours d’Ignorance if they let us in, am I right?  *canned laughter*

Our trusty steed looked pretty good out there, all washed up…  um.  All cleaned up, proudly displaying the “We Got Screwed” trophy from Altamont ‘08 and my lovingly handcrafted (while somewhat drunk at 1am the Friday before the show) brag board with photos of the build and racing action…

We had a good time chatting with people about the car and were pleasantly surprised to see that some people had actually heard of not only Lemons, but the Porcubimmer as well.  In fact, one of the SDGC entrants was also building a 325e for Lemons, which they had on display.  Their theme is they are taking donations to write the graffiti of your choice on the car, and in return they are turning the donations over to breast cancer research.  Now, we at Team Porcubimmer love boobies, so we had to toss them a couple bucks…

…and, uh, mark our territory, as it were.  They were good sports about it.

We also participated in some karting, since the event was held at Miramar Speed Circuit.  I’ve conveniently “lost” my timeslips.  Hmm.

For showing up at the TV studio on Sunday, Scott was invited to spin the Wheel Oh SNAP (SNAP = Several Negligibly Advantageous Prizes)…

…where we won “the Twins.”  In all SDGC competition events, the single best time from the two fastest drivers is combined for an aggregate total, regardless of whether one driver had the two best times from the event.  The Twins let you take the two fastest times at an event, regardless of whether they were set by the same person or not.  Considering Scott’s pretty much our conedodging ringer, this might actually be helpful!

We passed the SDGC equivalent of BS judging with $100 to spare, which actually kinda surprised us since the SDGC does not consider safety equipment “exempt,” since this is not a wheel to wheel series like Lemons and does not require a cage, harness, etc.  But since the car was built for Lemons, they decided to take pity on us since they realized we’re all completely insane and slightly retarded.

With BS judging complete, it was time to reveal the final Concours scores, which count towards the season point total.  They started reading the results from the bottom up…  and we were amazed when we finally heard our name called:  tied for 2nd, 7 out of 10 possible points!  I guess the “Fit and Finish” category did us in.  The kicker came when the organizers handed out some special awards…  and we won the Judges Choice trophy!

That’s right!  Best in show.  Hail to the Pricks, baby.

The first competition event is June 27 at the dragstrip at Barona.  I’m now taking bets on how fast slow we’ll run.  Come on out and cheer us on, as Scott impersonates John Force (again) and does gigantic rolling burnouts down the length of the 1/8mi!

-AJ

We on da tee-vee!

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

As mentioned below, we have entered the Porcubimmer into the San Diego Grand Challenge. This morning, the event organizer arranged to have a few of the race cars at the KUSI TV studio to do a promotional spot for the SDGC and invite people to come to the judged show portion of the event tomorrow. Only two teams showed up, and our car got the limelight due to its obviously ridiculous… err awesome appearance.

The reporter asked me to do a burnout, so I happily obliged. I am trying to find a way to upload the whole segment from my DVR, but for now, here’s a video of the burnout taken by me pointing my camera at the TV. Ghetto, I know, but what do you expect from this team?

-Scott

Polishing the turd

Monday, June 1st, 2009

With the kicking off next weekend and LeMons Buttonwillow fast approaching, Scott, Vince, and myself met in Mexico at Scott’s folks’ house to do a little work on ol’ Porky and our new unofficial support vehicle.

The first order of business was getting a trailer hitch assembly attached to Scott’s girlfriend’s (sister’s brother’s roomate’s…wait) new Highlander Hybrid so we can drag the BMW around San Diego for Grand Challenge events and such.  Also, this allows us to feel smug about towing our hydrocarbon spewing race car with a clean running hybrid.  Team Porcubimmer cares about the environment.  *snicker*

With that done, we immediately repaired to the nearest taco shop for burritos.  So much for offsetting our carbon footprint.

Upon returning to the garage, Scott started working on our movable aerodynamic device, Vince worked on welding up a crack in the front bumper mount, and I changed out the spark plugs and repaired some accessory wiring under the hood.  While this was going on, Scott’s mom was working on touching up the paint on the quills and mouth.

Once that was done, I took a moment to fire up the engine to make sure that I can actually do something as simple as change spark plugs correctly without screwing it all up, and was pleasantly surprised that she fired right up… once I was reminded by Scott that turning the starter without the ignition on doesn’t really work.  Shut up.  Anyway, it sounded more glorious than ever thanks to the valve adjustment Scott made the other week.

After that Vince had to go (something about having a wife and kid and responsibility and all that) so he showed us how to use his fancy new electric shears, and I promptly set to work doing what I do best:  breaking shit.

OK, I let Scott get in on the fun, too.

So after a little bit of Stage 403.9 weight reduction…

We had two nicely (more or less) gutted rear doors.  We were going to do the front ones too but apparently it was getting late and we still had to finish our highly intensive detailing for the SDGC Concourse judging next Sunday, so those will have to wait for another day.  Instead we busted out all of the Griots’ products we could find and the diapers and the ShamWOW and… oh who am I kidding, we made a token effort to cover the sensitive bits of the interior, turned on the hose, filled a bucket with soap, and splashed water all over the car.

Only the finest products and the most skilled detailers are allowed to grace the Porcubimmer with their touch…  oh who am I kidding, I think I squeezed the sponge out once.  After cleaning the rubber off the rear decklid and bumper.

So now we’re ready for the Concourse judging!  If you’ve got nothing better to do (and I know you don’t), come out and say hi to us!

Sunday, June 7, 1 PM - 4 PM

Miramar Speed Circuit
8123 Miralani Dr
San Diego, CA 92126

See ya there!

-AJ