Avon Park Mowerplex to hold national event in Marchhttp://www.newssun.com/news/010314-mowerplex
By BARRY FOSTER
AVON PARK -- The United States Lawn Mower Racing Association once again will be bringing their national competition to the City of Charm. Officials from the North American Grass Racers and Sod Slingers have inked the contract that will see competitors from all over the United States converge on the Avon Park Mowerplex.
"We're excited, we're absolutely thrilled to death," said NASGRASS President Wes Pyburn.
Noting that the March race will represent the first of the USLMRA season, he compared the planned two-day event to the "Daytona 500 of the mower racing season." Moreover, the March 8 date will set the competition in between the annual Sebring Historics and the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh From Florida.
"This is going to be the opening race of the USLMRA season, when the eyes of the racing community already are focused on Highlands County," he said.
Pyburn predicted more than 100 drivers and mowers from as far away as Maryland and Texas could arrive to race at the track located on the western end of the Avon Park airport.
"We are hearing there might even be some from Canada who could come down," he said.
Because the Avon Park Mowerplex is the first of the for-purpose mower racing tracks, Pyburn said there is added interest to come here.
"I think there is a certain prestige to be able to race in the oldest facility in the country," he said. "Plus, with the improvements we have made, this is easily the fastest track in the southeast as well."
In addition, there may be yet another appearance by longtime racer Bobby Cleveland. It was Cleveland who set a record for lawnmower speed at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Because the NASGRASS competitions regularly run on the second Saturday of each month from September through June, the national races will be integrated with the regular racing schedule. That will me that local racers will be run as part of the features along with the national competitors.
"The only real difference will be that local racers will be earning local points as well as national points for their finishes," he said.
Logistics still are being hammered out, but Pyburn said races are planned both on Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9.
Monday has been scheduled as a work day, with several truckloads of clay scheduled to be dropped off and worked into the racing surface as well as improvements to the lights, sound system and other structures planned.
The next scheduled NASGRASS race will be run Jan 11. Dubbed "Tourist Nite," a competition will be held to see which state has the most fans on hand that night.