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Story by Jack Baruth, photography and video by Murilee Martin and Jack Baruth

Tragedy struck the 24 Hours of Lemons Saturday afternoon when the #39 Ole’s Volvo struck the wall at full speed. The owner/driver, Court Summerfield, was the owner of Ole’s Waffles in Alameda. Edited to correct previous misspelling.

A former CHP officer, he was well-known and loved in his hometown, and while we can never know for sure, the officers who investigated the incident believe that he was already unconscious from a heart attack or stroke before he hit the wall. The possibility exists that he had heart health issues that led to the heart attack that killed him (visit https://cvgcares.com/conditions/heart-attack/ to know more about the cause of heart attack). To prevent such accidents at mega events, it seems essential to check drivers for heart-related diseases.

We’ll have a full Lemons story later on in the week – in the meantime, I suggest checking out Murilee Martin’s outstanding reporting on Jalopnik for updates – but here’s the short scoop.

As some of you know – and, of course, I love to remind everyone about it – I was one of the drivers of the winning Supra at the 24 Hours of Lemons at Flat Rock. I took the car to the lead, running Car and Driver down for the victory, and I set the second-fastest lap of the race, second only to my friend Ray Ayala in the “Chia Neon”. After meeting Jalopnik’s Murilee Martin at the Audi R8 preview last November, I convinced him to start his own LeMons team and, ahem, to hire a guest driver. Our “Media Superstar” team consisted of Murilee Martin, driving in “her” first race, the legendary Johnny Lieberman from The Truth About Cars, and yours truly, plus master builder Dave Schaible, Dave’s pal Wayne, and a group of fellows from “Evil Genius Racing”. Dave built us a Ford 302-powered Volvo 244 sedan, and we were off to the races.

Unfortunately, a variety of niggling issues, together with a misunderstanding of our fuel capacity, let us free-fall down the ranking to 47th of 90 by the time Cort’s accident ended the day on Saturday. We returned Sunday morning determined to honor the fallen racer’s memory by pushing our own Volvo as hard as we could. I took a 2hr 42min session, set fourth-fastest lap of the race, and before I knew it we were in 20th. After a bad session where we got involved in a lot of contact and damaged the car, we ended up putting the car in Jesse Cortez’s competent hands, and he ran up to 15th place.

Make no mistake – we could have done better, but 15th isn’t bad, particularly since I was the only guy on the team who had run a Lemons event before. Look for the Black Metal V8olvo to hit the track again… maybe in Gulf tribute colors? We’ll have a full story later on in the week – in the meantime, enjoy thirty seconds of grille-cam footage from before the heat from the muffler cooked my camera!

Random Saturday Footage from the V8olvo

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Jack Baruth

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