Saabs of Anarchy LeMons class B winners? Weren’t those the same guys who blew up two engines in one race a couple years ago? Those guys have a class-winning racecar? And it’s a Saab 9000?! Yeah, I wouldn’t believe it too if you told me that two years ago during our first race ever at Thompson Motorsports Park. Better yet, to find out that class win would come at a full 24-hour race all the way in Texas! HA! Now that’s farfetched! But it is true, and here’s how we got there.
The 2018 LeMons season was off to a good start for the Saabs of Anarchy team. Our ’97 Saab 9000 CSE Turbo racecar was in good shape after the 2017 season and we were looking forward to the first race in New Jersey. We knew our car could be competitive – if only we could keep it on the track. The key word there is “we,” the team. The car ran without fault. The team though, might been a bit cocky.
The first day was clear and sunny, rare for a Northeastern race. With nary a black flag or car problem in sight we finished that day first in class and nicely in the top ten overall. We went to bed that night in high spirits – mentally and alcoholically – in hopes of a class win.
That next morning the track was damp from the downpour of rain that came in overnight. We knew that we had to be careful out there, but the anticipation of a possible trophy rushed over us as we lined up with the top ten and caution was thrown to the wind. Further motivation came after hearing fellow Saab and eEuroparts.com friends, Full Nelson Racing in their Saab 96, were currently second in class C. And with Rust in the Wind (a Saab B234R-powered Nissan Z) running in the lead there was a chance for an ALL-SAAB winner’s circle!
Sadly, that was not to be. Shortly after our first fuel stop, we were black flagged. In our rush to get back out on track we didn’t screw our gas cap on correctly and were inadvertently spilling fuel onto the track. We were further set back after our driver spun out after leaving the pits bringing us back into the penalty box.
The judges made a scene of our cockiness as we drove away the second time; with his thumbs and forefingers making a frame around our car Judge Steve shouted to the rest of the judges, “there’s a portrait of how you lose Class B”. He was right. Even with clean driving the rest of the day we couldn’t make up enough time and we took the checkered flag third in class, 12th overall.
The GP du Lac Chargogagogectera at Thompson Motorsports Park was a similar story. After the results of New Jersey our goal was to be diligent and focused. The car is competitive and reliable, now we as a team needed to be. But with constant rain and a small collision with another car with 15 minutes to spare (thankfully only minor damage between us), we placed third in class again, and 19th overall.
The next race on the ticket for us would’ve been the Halloween Hooptiefest up in New Hampshire. Instead we decided to skip it and take a risk. All year we had been talking about the full 24-hour race happening a couple weeks after the Hooptiefest out in Houston, Texas. We were intrigued. Were we willing to pack up the car and trailer it 3400 miles out to Texas and back? Could our Saab 9000 even survive racing for 24-hours straight? Could we as a team?
Our curiosity piqued. The more we talked about it, within our team and with others, we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
We sent in our application and the acceptance email came soon after. The Saabs of Anarchy were headed to Texas for the big 24hr!!
To be continued…