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