Topic: Death of a Camaro....

Hello everyone. 

Today was,....not a great day for us at Team sucker punch.   While doing a race (not Lemons) with our Camaro we got involved in a big crash.  I might post pictures later, but it was nightmare level.    The car is a total loss. 

Worse yet my buddy Mike Bower (who has raced in Lemons with a number of different teams over the years)  is in the hospital with a broken leg.  The roll cage held, and kept the engine out of his lap, but the firewall buckled upwards and torqued his left leg.  He goes into surgery tomorrow,  I will post updates when I get them.

So the Tiger Striped Camaro ("Frankie")  is gone.   We are not going to be able to do any Lemons races this year (first time since 2008) and maybe not even next year.

But we will be back.  I (we) met so many cool and fun people in Lemons that we will be back.

Till then take care everyone and I hope someone manages to bring cheese curds and Sprecher to the Midwest Lemons races for the judges while we rebuild.


Team Sucker Punch Camaro (Tiger striped #38)

Winner Org Choice award Were the Elite Meet to Cheat 2015

Re: Death of a Camaro....

I'm sorry to hear about your teammate's need for surgery. I wish him a speedy and full recovery.

The car can be replaced. Just sucks to hear that you have to.

If there is anything to be learned from the car photos so others can build a similarly safe or safer ride, please consider posting them as well as any "what I'd do next time I build one" thoughts you may have.

And as you well know, you don't have to be behind a wheel to continue to be part of the family.

Re: Death of a Camaro....

WRL at Road America?

I'm guessing this was a fast semi-pro cars sharing the track with Crapcan related incident?

Hope Mike is OK.

Hope He and the team have a speedy recovery.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "What's the word? Thunderbird!", "What's the Price? Thirty Twice!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Sorry to hear that. I hope your teammate mends quickly and you all get back up to speed soon.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

5 (edited by Bayley 2017-05-08 06:47 AM)

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Saw pictures of both cars. I'm amazed that the driver in the other car wasn't killed.  Sorry to hear about Mike Bower, but very happy that it was only the leg. Obviously could have been much worse.

It sounded like Saturday was a well behave group, but then somebody slipped a packet insta-red-mist into the drinking water Saturday night. I saw quite a few other cars (via FB) that were also wadded up. However, yours as a fellow Lemons racer that I've shared the track with before, seemed to hit closest to home.

Please reach out tot he community if you need help rebuilding and / or finding a seat for any upcoming races.


11(1) Toyota Celica - Team Reynolds Style
555 Furd Focus - Sideways to Victory
92 Plymouth Sundance - Unified Partnership of Pentastar Racers (good riddance!)
81 Dodge Mirada / 181 Acura Integra  - Team Sheen

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Sorry to hear about the car and the injury, I saw a picture of both cars and it looked like your cage did a better job.  Hope for a speedy recovery!

Wisconsin Crap Racers #113 E36
2016 and 2017 Cure for Gingivitis Champs!
20+ time Losers!

Re: Death of a Camaro....

We're all glad to hear your driver will be OK.

Care to share the details of what happened?  Pics?

Team Super Westerfield Bros.
'93 Acura Integra

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Sorry about this happening.  Hopefully everything will go well with the surgery and Mike will be up and about soon.

I'm sure if any of you still want to do some LeMons races there will be seats available.

Racing 4 Nickels - 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
2012 The Chubba Cheddar Enduro Class C winner
Facebook Page

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Wishing your teammate a speedy recovery.

Sorry about the car.

Silent But Deadly Racing- Chief cook and bottle washer, Former Flyin Turd Race Team Captain 
Ricky Bobby's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, Datsun 510, 87 Mustang (The Race Team Formerly Known as Prince), 72 Pinto Squire waggy, Parnelli Jones 67 Galaxie
Besmirching race tracks in the Eastern US since 2001

Re: Death of a Camaro....

I have to say when I saw the pictures yesterday it made my stomach turn. That car has been around a long time and I'm going to miss it. Hoping for a speedy recovery from the surgery. Please keep us updated. I haven't heard anything about the other driver so I'm assuming he's just really sore.

And by all means, any ideas on safety are always welcomed and greatly appreciated. It may be a bit before you guys feel like going into it but we're all here for you .

Newest member - White Trash Racing
Owner of the Traveling Hat

Re: Death of a Camaro....

I've always had fun racing against your car.  I'm sorry to hear that it's gone but I'm glad your driver is relatively ok.  From the pics I saw, it could have been much worse.

Fireball Racing - #17 Yellow Escort.

14 time loser, going on 15.  In two of those, I never even made it in to the car.

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Matt, that sucks!
We packed up and headed home around noon, heard that you guys were caught up in something. I had no idea it was so bad.

Send Mike my best wishes for a speedy recovery. It was fun racing with you guys on Saturday as it always is. 

I might be able to fit you into the Celica if you are interested this year or next.

Apocalyptic Racing - Occupy Pit Lane racing
Racing the "Toylet" Toyota Celica powered by Chevrolet Ecotec.
16x Loser with the Celica. 5 times loser in other fine machines

Re: Death of a Camaro....

What Bayley said. You guys need anything let us know.  Give our best to Mike and his family.  You guys have always been a great team and we will miss seeing you at the track. Get well and get healed. We will see you when your ready.   

That was a pretty intense scene out there on Sunday. My first WRL race and it's quite a step up from lemons as far as speed and competition.

Take care.

15 races x countless $$$$ = 1 Trophy (IOE Mirada)
2014 BFE GP.
2013 MSR 24hr 2011 ECR
Every Gingerman & Autobahn since 7-2011

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Hey guys I have an update.

First the important stuff.

Mike's surgery is delayed until tomorrow, looks like he is going to need a screw and atleast one pin in his left leg.  He also broke a bone in his left foot, the good news is that his knee joint is OK and his back pain was just an old injury flaring up from the impact.

My phone and my E mail have been blowing up with people wanting to know more about what happened.  I passed along ALL the well wishes, love, and prayers to Mike.  He is pretty hard nosed but even he appreciated all the love you guys and gals have been sending us.   So do I, its nice to know how how much the other racers like and respect us.

A few people have asked me if I want the pictures of the car taken down from social media.  Thank you for the offer, but no I don't.  As bad as this crash was it could (should?)  have been a lot worse.  I have been injured a few times racing cars, I don't pretend that it can't happen.  I think we ALL need to acknowledge that this can happen, and we need to plan an prep for things like this. 

Now some comments:

What can we learn from this crash?

Looking at my car my cage held up well.  It started out life as an autopower cage,  BUT we did some serious mods to the cage to beef it up, not only for the rules but also in general to make the car safe,  Mike was just one of 5 different friends of mine that have raced in that car.  The Drivers side floor was pretty rotten when we got the car, so we added a bunch of new metal to it, I can only imagine how much worse it would have been had we not done that.  I'm going to look into adding some more metal in the drivers foot well to our next car.  That is the only lesson that I am taking away from this crash.  The engine tried to push the firewall into Mike, but the cage stopped it, the door wrapped around both bars but didn't push any further. 

The crash itself:

The reason I didn't mention the track or the series we were racing in last weekend was because I didn't want to cast a bad light on either.  We had a camera in the car when Mike crashed, he came into the kink and then CAR!!!   There was nothing he could have done, it was one of "those" crashes.   The fact that it was THIS track and THAT series...had nothing to do with it.  Nor did the fact that it was Lemons cars on the track at the same time as faster machines. 

Moving forward.

I really do appreciate all the offers to drive while we are doing another car.   Fact of the matter is I would love to do so, I'm able to do the midwest races and I'm pretty much self sufficent so yes if you will have me Id love to see how some of the other race cars preform compared to my old one.

I'm going to strip as much junk out of Frankie as I can, and I have everyone on the lookout for a new car.  I have a lot of GM stuff so that is what I will most likely be doing next.  But at this point who knows.  We will be back is all I can say for the moment.


Team Sucker Punch Camaro (Tiger striped #38)

Winner Org Choice award Were the Elite Meet to Cheat 2015

15 (edited by russian 2017-05-08 07:14 PM)

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Glad to hear your guy is fine! Well, I mean more fine than not fine.

Re: Death of a Camaro....

I know of a well sorted LeMons legal 3rd gen for sale in California.

Apocalyptic Racing - Occupy Pit Lane racing
Racing the "Toylet" Toyota Celica powered by Chevrolet Ecotec.
16x Loser with the Celica. 5 times loser in other fine machines

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Sorry to see you guys suffer that crash, good luck in your search for a new car and I hope your driver heals quickly.


LemonAid - Changing kids lives one lap at a time.

Re: Death of a Camaro....

As others have said, sorry to hear about the crash and I hope your driver recovers quickly.

19 (edited by Fishah 2017-05-09 11:20 AM)

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Matt, this is terrible news!

I was watching the WRL preview video and thought it was cool to see that you guys were getting out there.

Really stinks to hear that your driver took such a beating, but I'm glad that the injuries weren't worse. That kink is no joke.

Your car will live on in the memories of many, that's for sure. To date, the battle with your car at Road America in 2013 is my favorite LeMons memory. Racing 3-wide into turn 5 for a win was beyond epic.

Nothing last forever, and your Camaro certainly treated you well. I'm sure whatever you come up with next will be better, stronger and faster.

13x LeMons Loser
Class B winner - 2013 Road America (#33 Festiva - We Are Not Really From Iran)

Re: Death of a Camaro....


Re: Death of a Camaro....

Matt - Sucks to see a fellow Wisconsin team sidelined.  I hope your boy heals up fast and can still enjoy the summer.

When I was checking out the WRL forum for the RA race, and saw some post "We are running the kink like the big boys" my first thought was Yikes that sounds dangerous!

Sorry it was you guys that wrecked.  Hope to see you out at the track again soon.

If it doesn't have 2 doors, 3 pedals, and 5 lug nuts per wheel - It isn't a real race car

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Really sorry for Mike and your team about this. Definitely keep us updated on his surgery and recovery - wishing him a speedy get better.

Could someone point me towards where the pictures are posted? Interested to see what happened - this being a chance to increase personal and group knowledge base on cages and crashes.

10X+ Loser - Delinquent Racing - '86 TRUMPACO Merkur - '17 Sears Pointless, '16 Pointless, Vodden, Arse-Sweat, Button Turrible, Arse-Freeze - 2015 Vodden, Arse Freeze. '96 Ford Taurus SHO Skunk - '17 Vodden (Hope for the Future award - not me, the rookies), '15 Pointless. Button Turrible.

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Update on Mike.  He had his surgery and is doing well.  He (as you can imagine!) just wants to get this over with and get back to his normal life.  He cussed me out over the phone so I think he is going to be OK. 

That being said now that I know he is going to be OK I will drop a picture

Rest in peace Frankie,  we loved you and so did many of the other racers.

Team Sucker Punch Camaro (Tiger striped #38)

Winner Org Choice award Were the Elite Meet to Cheat 2015

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Glad to hear Mike has reached the swearing stage of recovery. Always a good sign.

Thanks for posting the picture. My reasoned reaction... Holy S**t. Looks like both the engine and the front left wheel/suspension tried to join Mike in the driver's seat. Despite the broken leg, I'd say the cage did pretty good.

This does bring up the question to me, what can be learned from this about roll cage footwell protection? I Googled that and didn't come up with much. Mainly some extensions going forward off the main hoop just above the footwell floor to prevent a side impact intrusion.

10X+ Loser - Delinquent Racing - '86 TRUMPACO Merkur - '17 Sears Pointless, '16 Pointless, Vodden, Arse-Sweat, Button Turrible, Arse-Freeze - 2015 Vodden, Arse Freeze. '96 Ford Taurus SHO Skunk - '17 Vodden (Hope for the Future award - not me, the rookies), '15 Pointless. Button Turrible.

Re: Death of a Camaro....

Yeah, my car has what you describe, but they're more for side impact foot protection. Two bars coming from each front post, landing on a spreader plate on the outboard side of the footwell to form a triangle.

I think to protect against engine intrusion, you'd want a bar or two coming down from near the center of your dash bar, landing as far forward on the trans tunnel as you can reach. But I'm not a professional cage builder or safety inspector.

Command Pilot/Flight Director, Escape Velocity Racing
Index of Effluency, Heroic Fix, Class C Trophy, now hopelessly gunning for Class B.
Currently 1-2 vs. Team Fairlylame in the Class of 1964 Championships