Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hammer's Heroes taste the Lemons!

Mooresville, NC
John “Hammer” Palazzolo

A 27 year old German car. 24 Hours of racetrack adventures. 114 teams all gunning for one goal. 4 men joined together to have a run at it…

For the second time in six months, Hammer’s Heroes took on Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC for the 24 Hours Of Lemons, the endurance race for $500 cars. The idea is to purchase & prepare a car while spending no more than $500 on the budget (outside of safety equipment). The Heroes pulled it off in dynamic fashion!

“We had only spent $47 in parts in the “off season” to get our BMW ready for this race” said John Hammer, the team principal. “Our expectations were higher than the Spring race when we ran 49th of 94 cars.” In the end, the Fall edition of Lemons turned out to be strong for the team; 55th overall out of 114 teams and 26th of 65 in their class. Hammer says “We had more fuel system issues which really frustrated us, forcing fuel stops every 30 minutes during the first 8 hours. We lost a lot of time doing that.” There was a black flag penalty against driver Andrew Anderson Sunday morning as well…to get out of the penalty box, the team had to find a penny, nickel, dime & quarter from 1983, the year of their BMW’s manufacture…the team lost 30 minutes begging for spare change among the crowd!

Ultimately, the team pulled together to nurse the ailing BMW to the finish; the brakes had warped, the tires were flat spotted, the engine was leaking oil and the temp gauge was pegged… “Taking the checkered flag under our own power was a HUGE accomplishment and I’m proud of ALL the Heroes; Andrew Anderson, Jim Ballard and Ed Calcote. I’d also like to thank Dr Bob Calcote of for his support of our team, for the access to spare parts, Wickens Auto Repair for the great alignment & Safety Solutions for the Hutchens Hybrid that kept my head & neck safe. Also, to our families & friends who put up with us as we built the car & spent way too many hours in the garage making it run!”

Up next? You can bet the Heroes will be back for another Lemons race at a track near you! Follow the action online at

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lemons South Fall...Day 1 is complete...

...and Hammer's Heroes are still alive & kicking. But, not without issues. Fuel system troubles, metal on metal contact, brakes going soft, Ed's earpieces kept coming unplugged...

And at the end of day 1, we're in 39th position. Our team name is highlighted on the sheet to "See Timing & Scoring"...that can't be good. We'll check it out in the morning & see what's up.

I'm sending updates on my Twitter page; check it out for occasional updates:

See you in the morning!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Well, Here We Go!

I'm as shocked as anyone, but yesterday's tragedy of a leaking slave cylinder turned out to be no real big deal. I made some phone calls & found one in Winston Salem (about an hour away) AND... my local parts store had one in their warehouse: "Give me yer credit card number & I'll have it here by noon" said Floyd. HELL YES! I got it after lunch, installed it in the afternoon, bled it before dinner & loaded the truck last night.

This is the 2nd Lemons race we've run the BMW 320i, so Jay (Lemons Head Perpetrator...yes, that's what he calls himself!) gave us a residual value of $ us $75 to play with. As it turned out, we spent $9.95 on a quart of Bars Leak for the engine and $35.99 for a rebuilt slave cylinder. Heck, we've still got money left in the budget!

We'll be at Carolina Motorsports Park this afternoon for tech & registration, then take the green flag in the morning. If you'd like to come cheer us on... Wait, who am I kidding? Despite that, if you'd like to come, check out for directions. No open alcohol while cars are on track (Yes, I have to post that for my friends!). This isn't a "free" spectator event so be ready to pony up a few bucks at the gate.

BIG thanks to...

* for stocking so many things for such a crappy car
* for spotting us a camera system to memorialize our mess forever
* Safety Solutions ( for the Hutchens Hybrid that keeps my neck safe in an otherwise totally unsafe car.
* Roger Sigears, who despite the car's crappy unsafe-ness (is that a word?), built a great cage for us to keep us in the seat
* Craigslist, Grassroots Motorsports, Wives, Girlfriends, Families & Co-workers who've put up with our crap up to this point.

Fingers we go!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nooooooooooo... You f'ing German POS!!!

A day & a half before the 24 Hours of Lemons, my 27 year old BMW's slave cylinder has died. Uuuggghhhh!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

With less than a week...

We're buttoning up the final items with the car. This weekend we got the fuel tank re-installed after a thorough cleaning. Here's hoping that fixes the fuel issues we had in the Spring. The big trouble we have is that there's nowhere to test the car; last time we tried that (in the industrial park at the end of my neighborhood) I got pulled over! I still have to swap out a fuel filter which will be delivered on Tuesday. Oil is changed with some leftover stuff from the shop (shhhh, don't tell them!) and then to mount up some used (but cheap!) tires from a Legends Car and we'll be set for Friday's trip to the track.

The best news: we FINALLY got the driver lineup finalized! My buddy Chuck is already going to be at the track with another team & is going to become the 4th Hammer's Heroe. He's a great guy, a damn good driver & can fix stuff when we break it. How do I know we'll break stuff? Ummm, have you paid ANY attention to us? I thought so.

We'd love to have you at the track with us for the race, drop a line & make plans to be with us then!