Thursday, October 11, 2012

Race Prep is GO

The race prep action plan is underway.  People are flying and driving in, and the gear trailer is with me at work, ready to head out to the Team Resignation garage and beer storage facility tonight.  The excitement is building.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kicking Around Nixon

Well it turns out that Team Resignation, infused with fresh blood, will indeed be participating in this year's 24 Hours of LeMons.

The race, American Irony 2012, will take place this weekend, October 13-14, at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL.

Remember to check out our Facebook page!

Friday, March 30, 2012



In 1962, the Great Man himself called it quits in an embittered speech after a failed California gubernatorial bid. And for four years, he disappeared. Much of the world considered him a has-been, a washed-up politician who would be best remembered for his failings in 1960 and 1962.

But Nixon's legacy was not yet etched in marble. Rather, he blitzed Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 presidential campaign and went on to even more spectacular personal and political failures.

Team Resignation has chosen to withdraw from the 2012 season of crapcan racing, leaving behind a brief legacy of failure.

And also like Nixon, Team Resignation plans to re-emerge in the near future, bound for greater and more spectacular failures. While we don't want to tip our hand, we will let you know that TR is examining in-depth a (much more benign) Southern Strategy.

So long for now. And as we leave you, Team Resignation just want you to know: You will have Nixon to kick around again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Fun Video Times!

Enjoy some video footage of the 2011 24 Hours of LeMons race at Autobahn Country Club!

Timelapse video of Tech/BS Inspection (Shot by Murilee Martin):

Racing 4 Nickels visits the Penalty Box (R4N basically has the entire race on video from their vantage point. Check out their YouTube channel):

The Jetta team enjoying their Class B trophy while their car's Eurotrash techno arms pump away (and Jay Lamm announces the Metro as the Class C winner):

The SHObocop Taurus participates in the bikini-top car wash penalty, apparently the invention of Keith from Byte Marks Racing (who shot the video):

Video shot from the Smokey Saturn team while they chased the MetSHO/Gaguar; includes a minute or so of video of Kiko driving the Escort:

I may post more video if I can find some, but there is quite a bit on the youtubes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A LeMons BS Primer: Lessons in bribing and smugness

Most who read this blog will be at least passingly familiar with the concept of the 24 Hours of LeMons: Buy [and fix] a car for $500 or less and bring it to the race. But the casual reader may question how the budget limit is enforced, so this post is intended for those inquisitive types and to explain Team Resignation's approach to the fuzzy math of budgets.

The budget enforcement team is better known as the LeMons Supreme Court, which in the Midwest consists primarily of Gonzo automotive journalist and smut writer Murilee Martin (known as Judge Phil in LeMons circles) and his cousin, Judge Sam1. They process each team's budget through a scientific process known as "BS Inspection," during which they inspect the car and sort through the obviously cooked books which will almost certainly show a budget of $500 to the penny. They then assess penalty laps to those who have obviously violated the $500 budget; 1 penalty lap is assessed for each $10 spent overbudget.

However, there are methods to deflect the scrutiny of the Supreme Court's harsh interrogation methods. Judge Phil/Murilee Martin himself wrote the definitive guide, which can be found here. But let's explore Team Resignation's methods:

1) Pick a terrible car (or at least an unassuming one). Ford Escorts aren't really known for their racing pedigree2. Or for much else besides there being a whole bunch of them anywhere. Alternately, pick a car you know and have worked on before. In our case, we killed two birds with one grille cover and chose a model that was closely related to Alan's daily driver at the time (and his two previous daily drivers).

2) Choose an awesome theme. This can be related in some ways to your car of choice, or it can be something awesome. The main point is this: Be original. Classic race car liveries (Gulf Oil anyone?) have mostly been done, and they're boring. But if you're going to do one, make it a parody. Observe the Charnal House MetSHO:
And the car they parodied:

In our case, we chose our theme from a LeMons Supreme Court request made on the forum for a Nixon/Agnew theme. The Agnew part got largely pushed to the background, but it showed up in a few places. Which leads us to...

3) The devil is in the details. When you're theming the car, pay attention to little things. Like a Ford emblem that says "Agnew" on it. The judges appreciate the effort. (The "Escape to Milwaukee" sticker came with the car. It's not related to the theme but is too good to remove.)

4) Dress like fools. It helps deliver the theme and looks great in photos. If you're willing to humiliate yourself [further; you're already racing a crapheap, remember] for the entertainment of those at the track and the Supreme Court, the gesture may spare you a few penalty laps. We dressed like Nixon volunteers, complete with campaign pins and name tags.

5) Bring some documentation. We at Team Resignation are terrible about keeping track of all the damn receipts for all the crap that goes into the car. But we make sure to have a closely estimated budget that is actually semi-realistic. And if we can, we print out part prices and emails in which we've bought or traded for parts. But it helps to make your paperwork part of the theme.

6) Update your theme in subsequent races. If you have a winner of a theme, make some adjustments to entertain the judges. In our case, we took our full-body mannequin that had been in the back of the car and mounted the torso of it to the roof. And we gave Nixon eyes. Then we had our graphics partner Phil Rood design an amazing stencil, which is loosely based on the old Thrush Mufflers bird. We have plans for our next two races in the works now.

7) Bribe, bribe, bribe. This is so important that we'll now discuss it at length.

We ran our first race in 2010 at Autobahn Country Club, and our bribe and theme was good enough to get a post of its own on Judge Phil's blog. The key to bribing is the same as the key to a good theme: Be original. Sure, everyone loves to bribe the judges with booze and/or food, but the judges and organizers are writers and creative types who love their bribes to be unique.

So our 2010 bribe included:

- A homebrewed American Pale Ale. Alan and Eric made labels to dub it "Nixon/Agnew Nattering Nabob Nuclear Beer." It was brewed by Eric's brother-in-law, Dan Meyer. The team also drank it in the post-race hours and traded it for other homebrew. Additional benefit: Homebrew (and any beer, really) can be a bartering item in the pit.

- A copy of the definitive Nixon biography by Roger Morris. Eric hollowed it out like some kind of LeMony movie and put a small bottle of Johnny Walker in there (well, booze is always a decent idea). The book itself was an incredible thrift-store find, having at some time been a Valentine's Day gift to a man's [soon-to-be-ex-]wife. Note the underlined words, which suggest that a 500+ page biography of the only impeached president should be synonymous with "real quality" time. Yikes.

- An iron-on Team Resignation T-shirt (Logo, again, designed by the great Phil Rood). These have since [BUY OUR STUFF] been supplanted by [BUY OUR STUFF] our wide variety[BUY OUR STUFF] of choices at the Team Resignation Cafe Press shop. Buy our stuff.

- A poster-sized copy of the famous Nixon-Elvis Oval Office photo. On the back, this poster had the entire handwritten manuscript (on American Airlines stationery) of Elvis' hippie-bustin' note to the Head Honcho.

In 2011, Eric added in some items that he felt fit the bill after reading Judge Phil's excellent Project Impala Hell series. We also decided to forego the booze bribes, since the judges have typically received more booze than they know what to do with:

- Several copies of Watergate-era Newsweek magazine, which were found in the same thrift store at the same time as the above-mentioned Valentine's Day biography. These feature some amazing old car ads and a sweet picture of Gerald Ford in commencement-speech garb, smoking a stogie and probably writing about how awesome it will be to have his own presidential jet when Nixon gets skewered by those vengeful liberal media types.

- A re-elect Nixon in '72 sticker, which Judge Phil promptly placed on his laptop. Also, a Nixon-Lodge volunteer postcard and a Nixon-Lodge campaign postcard.

- A Bricklin SV-1 watch, which keeps in line with Judge Phil's love of terrible, terrible cars. This was purchased on Ebay from a seller in Hong Kong, who has them in all manner of bizarre car brands. The Chrysler TC by Maserati watch that was purchased at the same time failed to arrive in time, so Eric wears it on occasion and laughs at it whenever he checks the time. If you opt to purchase a watch from the seller for these ends (or for your own), allow at least three weeks' shipping time.

- A mixtape of LeMons-related songs. This one stems from several Murilee Martin posts about his old mixtapes. The tracklist was compiled by mixing bands listed in these posts with bands of the same ilk, which basically led to it being the strangest (but pretty decent, really) mixtape ever compiled. Also, the titles and/or band names more or less create a half-assed narrative of a typical LeMons weekend. Track list:

"My Hooptie" - Sir Mix-A-Lot
"Waitin' for a Train" - Beck
"D's Car Jam/Anxious MoFo" - Minutemen
"Sweet Willy Rollbar" - Melvins
"Rodeo in Joliet" - The Jesus Lizard
"Trust Your Mechanic" - Dead Kennedys
"Ulcer Breakout" - Butthole Surfers
"Race Car Ya-Yas" - Cake
"Third Gear Scratch" - Shiner
"The Good Humor Mustard Gas Truck" - Murilee Arraiac
"Everything Falls Apart" - Husker Du
"Corvette Bummer" - Beck
"It's Gonna Be a Long Night" - Ween
"4,738 Regrets" - Trans Am
"The Race is On Again" - Yo La Tengo
"BMW Man" - Local H

"Rubber Car" - Enon
"Bump" - Mucca Pazza
"Everything Crash" - The Ethiopians
"Spoke" - Shellac
"Motor City Melanoma" - Murilee Arraiac
"Knucklehead" - The Bar-Kays
"Behave Yourself" - Booker T. & the MGs
"Yakety Axe" - Chet Atkins
"Super-Charger Heaven" - White Zombie
"Go To Bruises" - U.S. Maple
"Motion Sickness" - Eleventh Dream Day
"One More Mile" - Muddy Waters
"Sometimes Our Dreams Float Like Anchors" - William Elliott Whitmore
"The Easy Winners" - Scott Joplin

- Upon request, a copy of the Nixon stencil was provided to Judge Phil. The judges then liberally applied Nixon to "cars that needed it."

To date, our car (which is actually within the budget constraints, we swear) has barely been sweated at BS Inspection. In two races, we've accumulated 0 penalty laps and 2 Class B placements. Which is fitting, since the car has yet to be reliable for a full race.

So the long-winded advice is pretty much broken down like this: Don't be afraid to kiss some ass and be original.

1 The LeMons Supreme Court varies by region. Automotive journalist Johnny Lieberman is one of the original judges who has since semi-retired though he carries a big stick at the California races still. In addition to BS judging, they also dole out punishments to drivers who do stupid things on track. Additionally, the title of "smut writer" was an edit by Alan. Just sayin'.

2 At least not in America. In Europe, of course, Ford Escorts of a different ilk were big in rallying and touring car racing. Do want.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Little MoFo FoMoCup: The Hardware

This serious piece of hardware is the 2011 FoMoCup prize! Greg has completed the trophy and will be shipping it to the glorious and triumphant winners, Byte Marks (Marx?) Racing1.

I'll let Greg's words speak for themselves, as he is the trophy's designer and fabricator2:

"The base is a 40hp/1200cc VW camshaft topped off with a piston and connecting rod out of a 1098cc Morris Minor engine. The intake valves are out of a Ford Fiesta and the [Ford] emblem and car were affixed using super glue."

The car affixed to the top is a glittertastic Hot Wheels Cosworth Escort.

Is it not a work of beauty?

1 If you're in a spendin' mood, buy a Byte Marks shirt. It will crush your will in a most comradely way!

2 I'm glad that Greg came through, because my idea was to cut the head off a thrift-store tennis trophy and super-glue the Hot Wheels Escort in the head's place.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Little MoFo FoMoCup Winners: Byte Marks Racing

Congratulations to the Byte Marks Racing Ford Escort GT for winning the inaugural Little MoFo FoMoCup! Byte Marks finished 19th overall and second in class B, which was by far the best finish for four-cylinder Fords in the whole field. Enjoy your [unfinished] trophy and 12 bottles of loathsome drinkable Schlitz for your efforts!

The origins of this [unofficial] award come from several "Sometimes-I-can't-believe-how-totally-awesome-we-are" conversations between Alan and myself [Eric]. The genesis for this, specifically, was Alan and Eric mirroring Ford engineers of the late 1970s in suggesting that Ford could make a compact car competitive with anything the Japanese could build. Of course, that hasn't parsed out exactly in LeMons (or real life), so they opted to create a separate competition to help Ford Escort team owners feel better about their terrible, terrible car. The original name was proposed as the Escort Cup with the winner getting a repurposed bowling trophy and some nasty beer.

Enter Greg from the Skid Steer Racing Mercury Bobcat team, who sent Eric a message via the LeMons forum to let him know that he was building an actual trophy for the Escort Cup (which only had two known entrants at the time). Since Greg didn't drive an Escort, Eric suggested that the competition be expanded to all small-displacement , normally-aspirated1 ("Little Mofos") Ford Motor Company ("FoMoCo") entries. And so was born the Little MoFo FoMoCup.

Greg brought the unfinished trophy to Autobahn to complete, but some, uh, difficulties arose2 and the trophy was unfinished due to time constraints (It will be mailed shortly, though).

Byte Marks did graciously accept the case of Schlitz, labeled by the Nixon campaign as "Unfit for human consumption," but that was mostly because Byte Marks are a bunch of Commies3.

In any event, here are the full Little MoFo FoMoCup results:

#101 Byte Marks Racing - Ford Escort GT - 351 Laps (19th overall)
#79 Dos Limons - Ford Fiesta - 314 Laps (35th overall)
#29 TSI/LemonSqueezer/Barbie - Mercury Capri - 291 Laps (44th overall)
#78 Dos Limons - Ford Fiesta - 269 Laps (50th overall)
#74 Team Resignation - Ford Escort LX/ZX2 - 246 Laps (57th overall)
#863 Team Skid Steer Bobcat - Mercury Bobcat - 235 Laps* (63rd overall)

* Team Skid Steer ran at least part of one stint with the transponder off. They likely would have finished in fifth place if the laps had counted.

Fastest Laps:

#74 Team Resignation - 1:49.866
#78 Dos Limons - 1:50.705
#79 Dos Limons - 1:51.694
#101 Byte Marks - 1:51.898
#29 TSI/Barbie - 1:52.721
#862 Skid Steer - 2:07.803

Congratulations to all FoMoCo teams for being dumb enough to run Ford metal! Each Ford entry ran more than 500 miles on the track!

We'll hopefully see all of these teams again at next year's Autobahn race(s).

1 Astute car people out there will note that the third-generation Mercury Capri actually runs a turbo 1.6L motor. The car was included as an executive decision by the FoMoCup's [self-appointed] executive directors (Greg and Eric). The normally aspirated tag was designed to keep Turbo Coupes, Turbostangs and the occasional Merkur XR4Ti out of the running, as they are much, much faster cars.

2 Not having a functioning engine at the start of a race weekend has a way of making people overlook trivial things like an unfinished trophy. They can clearly be forgiven, as they have an awesome theme, a sweet old car, and awesome orange wheels on it. Also, I forgot to get a picture of the trophy, so I don't have that. But it's awesome and made of engine parts from an old VW and a Morris Minor (!).

3 They're actually incredibly awesome guys and the Team Resignation guys were enjoying the Byte Marks Escorts' success vicariously. Also, their car's graphics are fantastic!