This past weekend, we attended the first-ever HooptieCon at Northern California’s Sonoma Raceway. HooptieCon is an automotive festival that mishmashes “many crapheap events” catered to the car lover with a sense of humor and a limited budget. It’s like Coachella, except with more motor oil and fewer females.
Some of HooptieCon’s events included hits such as Radwood: “the 80s/90s car show that blends period-correct dress with automotive awesomeness,” the Concours d’Lemons: “celebrating the oddball, mundane, and truly awful of the automotive world,” the Great Engine Heat BBQ Cook-off: “where the secret ingredients are blow-by and ptomaine,” and Crapcannes: “drive-in movies for drivers.” This is not a weekend that takes itself seriously.
The main event was the 24 Hours of Lemons, the endurance roadracing series for cars that cost $500 or less. The 24 Hours of Lemons has become a staple of enthusiast culture in the US, and is full of absurdity and shenanigans. The racecars are bought and track-prepped (roll cage, racing seat and harness, kill switch) for $500 or less, so a Lemons race is full of barely-functional junkers that participants modify and decorate as they see fit.
What results is a racetrack littered with ridiculous machines, each less track-worthy than the next. For your enjoyment, we’ve compiled some of the best (worst) that graced Sonoma Raceway for the 24 Hours of Lemons at HooptieCon. Take a look at the racecars from the event that believes that “racing is for all idiots, not just the rich ones.”