Jay Leno's Garage Crew teams with K&N for 24 Hours of LeMons
Picture the race from the movie Mad Max, add 34 heaps, some pretty famous and
talented drivers and the infield course at Altamont Motorsports Park on October
7th and 8th and it adds up to 24 Hours of LeMons.
The cars may be lemons, but it’s spelled “LeMons,” not to be confused with the
monster of all sports races held at La Sarthe, France. 24 Hours of LeMons is a
star-studded name for a race featuring cars that cost $500 or less to purchase
and fix up.
Nick Baggarly, Bernard Juchli, Joe Harding and Paul Lisec at 24 Hours of
LeMons with K&N Pirate Themed Car
K&N Engineering, Inc. was part of the inaugural event. Nick Baggarly, executive
director of the non-profit organization, Drive Around the World, was part of a
team who drove. “It was mostly about fun and teamwork,” he said. “It was a big
There are safety rules, cars have to have a roll bar, four-point racing seat
belts and a fire extinguisher. Those expenses do not count against the $500
limit. For every other expense, teams will show purchase receipts to a panel of
judges who wear robes and powdered wigs as they check prices. If the judges rule
that more money was spent, teams face a one-lap penalty for every dollar over
$500. “Since we could only spend $500 you have to be selective about where you
spend your money,” said Baggarly. “We chose to put the money into the
performance we received from K&N Filters.”
The race is broken up into two parts over two days. Winners play for cash
totaling $1500, $1000 and $500, handed over to them in bags of nickels.
“I drove a 1985 Pontiac Fiero V6 4-speed mid-engine vehicle equipped with K&N
Air and Oil Filters,” said Baggarly. “The vehicle we raced was prepared at Jay
Leno’s Garage. Leno made us burgers while we were working on the Fiero, but he
was not involved with this project. If we won we would have donated the money to
fight Parkinsons Disease.”
On the first day the K&N Pirate Themed Car led the race, on the second day the
engine blew up. At 24 Hours of LeMons it’s common to see the cars die. Half way
through the race a People’s Curse award is given to the most disliked car on the
course. The recipient’s car is destroyed via sledgehammer on the spot. “Three
women with sledgehammers banged the car up for about 5 minutes,” said Baggarly.
“Everyone got together and flipped it over; the team then flipped it back over.”
The Peoples Curse Award winners went back on the track and finished in 17th
“There was quite a bit of smash up going on and spin outs,” said Baggarly.
“Spectators throw lemons at the cars and the track gets very slippery. The top
speed was about 60 mph but the average was 35-40 mph. Anyone who races would
have found the 24 Hours of LeMons to be intense, fast paced and competitive. It
was also about team work and camaraderie.”
The winning car was an older rear-wheel-drive Toyota Corolla. “It had super
tires and suspension,” said Baggarly. “They had very few issues and rarely
pitted. We hope to be back next year.”
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the
dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.