It is the 24 hours of Le Mons, a parody, of sorts, of the “24 Hours of Le Mans” race in France. But unlike its inspiration, the “LeMons is a 24-hour brawl and, more defining, nice cars are not welcome. The rules say that teams can spend no more than $500 on their vehicles before adding safety gear.” The prize — to the car that turns the most laps in a 24-hour period — is “$1,500 — all of it in nickels.”
The LeMons was dreamed up in 2006 by a fellow named Jay Lamm, who didn’t think the idea had all that much appeal. “I thought nobody else besides my friends would be dumb enough to do this,” he says. “It didn’t occur to me back in 2006 that this was anything more than a one-shot deal.” But today LeMons races happen “several times a year at tracks around the country,” and Jay thinks he understands why: “You seem to get a more entertaining group of guys when you eliminate the checkbook-rich. Secondly, racing is boring when everything is going well. It’s when you’re trying to fix the car that things become fun and communal.”
Twelve hours into the race, the car voted People’s Choice is called in and awarded a cash prize; simultaneously, the car voted People’s Curse is called in and summarily destroyed. At the end of 24 hours, a gala awards ceremony plies the survivors with trophies, plaques, and four-figure purses in canvas bags full of nickels. What's not to like?
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