24 Hours of LeMons ©

I don’t know how to wrap this column around seniors except perhaps to say that “The family who plays together AND prays together, stays together”, and all seniors who can should try to make that happen.

With that said, and with most of these columns focused on our family’s activities, I’ll tell you what we were up to this past weekend: We went racing at Road Atlanta. Here’s how it came about.

Last summer I took two of my sons to the prestigious 24 Hour Le Mans race held in Le Mans, France. Only we went to see it at a limited edition private showing on a big screen at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY just across from the Corvette assembly plant. We had a ball camping out in the museum in sleeping bags much as the spectators do in France.

Well, because of that, another son found out about a parody of that race called the “24 Hour LeMon Race” as in “Lemon cars” that are not to cost more than $500. That whet the appetite, and the die was cast that weekend: We were going to buy a lemon car and race it at the next event which was scheduled for last weekend at The Road Atlanta course northeast of Atlanta. That started a “lemon car” shopping marathon last June that landed us a very neglected (as in a rat’s nest in the radiator, etc., etc.!) 1996 Camaro. But with a lot of TLC, midnight oil and some innovative welding by Jonathan Avery of Christian Soldiers Auto Detailing, it was transformed into a 3000#Lb race car with a full welded roll cage and all the required racing gear which is substantial (I told you these people are serious about their fun!).

While the race is supposed to be all about fun, most of the participants take it very seriously. First of all, The Road Atlanta course is a world class 2.54-mile, 12-turn course utilized for a wide variety of events, including professional and amateur sports car and motorcycle races, racing and driving schools, corporate programs and testing for motorsports teams.

At the drivers’ meeting before the race, which included 120 rookie drivers, the sanctioning judges, some of whom were in crazy costumes as well, told us that after 133 such races , Road Atlanta is one of their toughest courses and this weekend’s forecast weather was the worst ever: near freezing rain all weekend long! He was totally serious when he said “A lot of you aren’t going to be here for the end of race meeting” (and he was right!). Driving conditions were horrendous almost the entire race. How would you like to be driving an endurance race in almost freezing rain in a car with no windows, no heater and no windshield wipers?! What people don’t do for fun, eh?

Yes, most of the cars are crazy looking and driven by equally crazy looking people but don’t mistake that veneer for how competitive they are on the track. In fact some of the cars, including ours, exceeded 115 MPH on the back straight away!

But the bottom line is this. My three sons and their neighbor, all rookie drivers, in their “Brand New” lemon car, only test-driven onto the trailer before the race, finished in the top 50 out of 104 starters after 14.5 hours of endurance racing! I couldn’t have been more proud of them if they won the Daytona 500!

But it was more than just a fun weekend for the guys. We had all the wives and six grandchildren there cheering them on. As I said, “The family who plays together AND prays together, stays together”

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

PS A great big thanks to our sponsors: Gotwalls Books, Mossy Creek Custom , Chistian Soldiers Auto Detailing, Jorge Tires, and Lee Custom Exhaust. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

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