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AMSOIL Dealer, Custofilers Go Racing

ENTION "LEMON" TO MOST PEOPLE, and they think of the yellow and usually sour fruit. Mention "lemon" to AMSOIL Dealer Bruce Kintner of Cold Spring, Ky., and he thinks of something entirely different: the 24 Hours of LeMons.

For the uninitiated, 24 Hours of LeMons is the name of a car race series in the U.S. It is a complete parody of the real 24 Hours of LeMans held each summer in France. Several years ago, a California race buff started the series that has proven to be about the cheapest way to race a car in a legitimate Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA)-sanctioned race. The main LeMons rule: The team has to buy and repair a car for $500 or less - excluding safety equipment such as roll cage, wheels, tires, brakes and fire extinguisher.

"LeMons races are populated with an amazing variety of junkers that are hurtled around racetracks for 24 hours," Kintner said. "Or at least that is the goal. As it turns out, it is difficult to find cheap old cars that will last through such abuse. These cars didn't have the benefit of using AMSOIL earlier in life; otherwise they wouldn't be junkers to begin with." So how did Kintner get involved? One of Kintner's AMSOIL customers, Eric Driscoll, had the original idea of entering the 2007 24 Hours of LeMons race held in Flat Rock, Mich.

Kintner and Driscoll entered a 1991 Cadillac Seville that had a lot of engine, ignition and fuel problems. "We learned a lot from our 2007 efforts," Kintner said. "You have to find something in better mechanical condition to start with."

As luck would have it, in 2008 Kintner and Driscoll found a 1992 Oldsmobile 98 that had largely sat in a widow's driveway for about four years. "She gladly sold it for $300, seized brakes and all," Kintner said. "After a jump-start, air in the tires, all new brakes and muchneeded fluid changes, with AMSOIL, of course, the car actually ran pretty well. The 98ers team was born." The 98ers are Kintner and his customers Eric Driscoll, Ed Osborne and Shari Haley. The 98ers were one of 52 teams entered in the 24 Hours of LeMons race held in September 2008 in Toledo, Ohio.

"Interestingly enough, the 98ers team was one of only four teams to have a woman driver," Kintner said. The 98ers kept themselves out of accidents and, other than tire changes, driver swaps and fuel stops, kept the car on the track for the full 24 hours. "It was quite the exercise in sleep deprivation," Kintner said.

"The 98ers were actually within minutes of the same track time as the team that won the race. But bone stock 1992 Oldsmobile 98s are a bit heavy, and the car simply could not be hustled around the track that fast."

Regardless, the 98ers were very proud of their final position: 18th out of the 52 teams. "We beat a lot of faster cars because those cars got in accidents, or had blown engines or transmissions," Kintner said. "We were far from the fastest, but we did manage to run a very consistent race. And even though you had to run pure water in the radiator - that is, no antifreeze - our engine never ran hot, courtesy of AMSOIL 10W-30 Synthetic Motor OiL" The Oldsmobile also ran with AMSOIL Automatic Transmission Fluid, an Ea Air Filter, AMSOIL DOT-4 Brake Fluid and "copious amounts of P.i. to clean out the fuel system and injectors," Kintner said.

Three cash prizes are awarded at most LeMons races. The winner earns $1 ,500; $750 is awarded to the team that brings the most outrageously decorated vehicle; and $1,000 is awarded to the team that brings all the wrong hardware (think a completely uncompetitive vehicle - but for all the right reasons they just want to have fun and see if they can go the full 24 hours).

"The 98ers were awarded that prize," Kintner said. "It made wading through flooded pits for most of two days worth it after all"

 
 
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