GRASCAR competitors turn lawn mowers into racing machines

Like Dr. Frankensteins of the garage, several people in El Reno have mutated the lawn mower into a racing machine and put it on a dirt track to see who is top turf. Paul Shepard, president of the El Reno GRASCAR Lawnmower Racing Association, said these races began back in 1998.

"Probably just a bunch of rednecks got together and said, 'Well, let's soup up a lawn mower and race it,'" Shepard said.

The group holds races every other Saturday at Adams Park, 201 N. Country Club in El Reno. The GRASCAR season begins in April, ends in October and equates to about 14 races a year. The association holds an awards banquet each November to close out the season.

All in all, these motor-monsters can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.

"Thirty-five doesn't sound fast until you get on top of one of these mowers," Shepard said.

Shepard got into GRASCAR in 2003 when he saw a newspaper article about it. He and his friend went out to the track, watched the races and started putting together his own racer.

Rodney Hartley began participating after he saw his friend's enhanced mower. Hartley said he likes it because it's an inexpensive hobby. Not needing a lot of money to get a lawn mower into racing condition, the work can be done in a person's garage. Also, he said there aren't many other things he can compete in for $15.

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"CJ Macklin

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