We would go on to put many laps on our shitty but beloved carbureted Prelude at some wonderful southern racetracks (Barber absolutely rules). But that first race, where we never actually raced, was my fondest memory of the sport.
These Are Your Best Memories At The Race Track
This was late aughts and we proudly trailered our baby to the closest Lemons Race- Can’t Get Bayou at the Circuit Grand Bayou in Belle Rose, La. It was 4 billion degrees. We took the Prelude out on the track for some practice laps…
A buddy and I bought a 1986 Prelude for 24 Hours of Lemons racing. We spent June, July and part of August in New Orleans (look for it on a map right next to the sun) fixing it up. We bought it from a guy who had dreams of Lemons racing himself, so we didn’t have as far to go as we might. To this day, I’ll never understand how a Japanese engineer looked at that nightmare vacuum system and thought, “nailed it.”
We call off the two others who were coming from Texas to race with us (one was the original owner). Instead of turning around, they start craigslisting for suitable donor cars. We find one we’re certain will work, they buy it EN ROUTE for 500 bucks and we prepare our car to receive its new engine. The whole time we’re getting support from every team in the paddock and the race organizers. We didn’t know what the hell we were doing most of the time and people came out of the woodwork with tools and advice. Lemons racers are some of the best people.
After the race ends the following day, we stay to celebrate the victors only to find that we’d been awarded the You Got Screwed award, lots of cheers from our fellows, and a $500 purse- which we immediately signed over to those who bought our doomed donor car.
Car gets there in the evening of the first day of racing. We go at it, tearing the new engine away from its auto transmission (and original car) to get it ready to mate to our manual. About 2am or so that night we discover that engine and transmission are, in fact, NOT compatible. We pack it in and have some beers.
And the fact that we never dropped the oil pan fucked us. Someone in the chain of ownership had RTV’d the pan and while under racing conditions, it melted and clogged the intake, drying the oil up and destroying the engine.