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Lawn mowers go from turf to track

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rather than traditional race cars, some have used tractors in competitions.
Rather than traditional race cars, some have used tractors in competitions.

Some people with used tractors aren't content to have them just for their lawns.

A recent report from Philadelphia television station WPVI featured the high-octane world of lawn mower racing. Some of the machines can go as fast as 70 mph, though races on smaller tracks probably top out at 30 to 35 mph.

Tom Lavalette is the president of the Pennsylvania Lawn Mower Racing Association, which is one of 38 lawn mower racing associations across the country. Lavalette told the television station the lawn mowers have their blades removed in order to keep the racing safe.

"Couple of hundred dollars and you can build a prepared mower that's competitive," Lavalette said. "Actually, we spin enough RPMs off the rear tires, we don't need blades to cut the grass."

According to the PLMRA's website, lawn mower racing has been around for at least 30 years. The group is part of the larger United States Lawn Mower Racing Association, which has been in existence since 1992.

Racers, according to the USLMRA, do not take part for purse money. Rather, smaller prizes - like lawn ornaments - may be awarded. Despite that, drivers still get one of the best rewards of all - the ability to brag about winning.

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