Two-headed Yak Wins Kentucky Derby!

From Murilee Martin's Uber Gallery

In fall 2014, the MRolla finished in sixth position at the 24 Hours Of Lemons BFE GP, and was awarded the series highest honor, the Index Of Effluency. Murilee Martin of Car And Driver described our sixth place (of 42 teams) finish as "an accomplishment akin to a two-headed yak winning the Kentucky Derby".

I asked each teammate to give me a quick response to a short Q/A about their experience with the MRolla and event:
  1. What is your background as a driver?
  2. What are you used to driving on the street and track?
  3. How did you decide to join this team for this race?
  4. What was your expectation of the MRolla before you drove it?
  5. What were your impression of driving the car?
  6. How did the event compare to other racing events you have participated in?
  7. Any other comments you'd like to share?
Alex McCulloch, Eugene Yen, James Pancoast, Chris Quintana, Larry Sanders

Here's the response I got from James Pancoast, who started racing with us a year previous, happens to be married to my sister, and is a constant wellspring of jovial wit:
  1. What are you used to driving on the street and track?
  2. On the street I've had a few sporty cars, a Countour and an STi. On the track I'm used to driving a Miata and some crapcan dual engined cars.

  3. That it would handle like shit. 
  4. I was pleasantly surprised at how it handled and how much sooner I could get on the gas than originally expected.
  5. I've only done Lemons races, so it's tough to compare. Denver is my home track so it's probably my favorite.
  6. Scott Ith isn't an IOE winner, like the rest of us are.

Alex McCulloch happens to be a pretty seasoned driver and is active in motor and aerial sports. He authors an action-packed blog and show up in magazines occasionally. This is his version of "breif" responses:
  1. My background as a driver is 6 years of performance driving, BMW CCA instructor,  NASA TT license holder, BMW Club Racing School, etc. I came up through the BMW club education. I’ve also done a fair amount of karting, including a few 24 hour races at Summit Point.  I would also say that flying, flight instructing and racing mountain bikes and hang gliders at a high level have also probably contributed in a good way.  I hope that doesn’t come across sounding like anything other than humble, because I am nothing but a work in progress :-)
  2. Other than student cars and my E30 BMW, the majority of my time has been in my M Coupe.  The M Coupe has benefitted my driving tremendously.  It has a lot of positive attributes, but it is not an easy car to drive near the limit.  It’ll bite if you don’t respect it.  One auto journalist said it was more like an 911 than 911.  It makes other cars a easier to drive.  It’s held me back in certain ways too.  It has a little bit of power to cover mistakes.  It also is not composed enough to all weight transfer quickly, like say an E36 M3.  It needs a beat pause and I will kill you with anything more than slightest breath of trail-braking.
  3. I was offered a position on the team.  I absolutely did not need to think about accepting it.
  4. I had no expectation of the MRolla before I drove it, but I did have some experience in a track prepped MR2.
  5. My impressions of the car where mostly positive.  It definitely had MR2 DNA that I was used to.  I thought the weight up front and FWD improved the turn-in compared to the other MR2 I had driven.  I really enjoyed the complexity and extra power.  It reminded me a lot flying a twin-engined airplane. The areas of improvement that I think we all know would be better are brake pad compound and fuel consumption.  Overall I loved it!
  6. I had not heard good things about lemons from my NASA friends.  They complained about the heavy handed penalties and lack of “real racing”.  Those comments came from dudes with massive budgets, albeit respectable talent.  I took it with a grain of salt.  Having raced Chump, I realized these guys didn’t get what Lemons was about.  I thought it was a blast.  It reminded me a lot of a 24 hour mountain bike race.  I was annoyed with the heavy handedness of the some of the penalties, especially when both mine and Eugene's were the safest course of action, but I also get that no racing license is required for Lemons, so it comes with the territory.  Overall I had a blast and really enjoyed racing Lemons.  For our MR2, I think we are going to focus on World League so as not to be restricted from installing a few upgrades, but I still want to race it at Lemons, just with the penalties associated.
  7. I really enjoyed the race.  You ran a great team and really appreciated the love you put into the car.  Everyone on the team was super fun and really made the race great.  Thanks for the doing all the hard work to make it happen.
Snapped stabilizer linkage killed an axel boot.

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