The reason they bash the Z's is because almost all of the Z's in the races break down multiple times. But then again, nearly all makes of cars break down multiple times in the races. True $500 Z cars have been flogged so hard, or are so rusty, that they cannot make 15-24 hours on the track without something breaking. We just ran our second race at CMP this month, and finished second in the Team SOB VW GTI. Our first race we killed our brakes and set them on fire twice!!! Black Sheep Racing's Z31 was far and away faster than we were, but we ran consistently with only one black flag, where they got tagged at least twice. Last fall they were fast and with few black flags and finished in the top 5. Troy (the IOE winner) has a love-hate relationship with the judges. He actually had a penalty named after him after a recent race.
It all comes down to car control, luck at dodging the Crown Vics, Mitsubishi Diamantes, and the Mustangs with the stuck throttles (yes all of those took out other cars), and car preparation. The two fastest cars on Saturday blew before the day was over. It is a $500 crap can series, and the absolute most fun I have ever had racing anything. Where else can you get 2 1/2 hour driving stints for such a small investment in a car? So what if we have bobble head chihuahua, Pinatas, and working shaking maracas on our car? We still had a blast.
Face it, a $500 S30 is a POS. I know because I race one in LeMons. For $500 you either get a somewhat rusty shell with terrible mechanicals, or a really rotten shell with a OK mechanicals. Some of you might say you bought your Z car for $500 and it runs great, but try to endurance race it flat out and see how great it is.
I found my 260 for less than $500 and it has very little rust, but it was sitting in a barn for 15+ years and was parked for a good reason. EVERY mechanical system was completely worn out. We went through each system and did our best to repair without replacing. We finally got it running and on the track only to have the R180 diff bite the dust. We spent over 12 hours in the middle of the race converting it to an R200. I had an R200 stored at my dad's house which was an hour away from the track, but the only R200 mustache bar I have was at my house 200 miles from the track. We had to fabricate a mustache bar at 3am in the rain at the track. We got back on the track and finished the race, but it wasn't easy.
Troy's car that won the IOE in Texas was a total crap heap when he got it. It was completely rotten, so they had to do a ton of work to get it structurally sound. It has made it through 5 races, but always with mechanical issues. They finally had a good run even though they fought an overheating issue the whole first day. After replacing the water pump and radiator, they stayed cool.