Local Sports

Fast times at lawn mower racing

AVON PARK - The North American Society of Grass Racers and Sod Slingers (NASGRASS) hosted its inaugural Snowbird National race in partnership with the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) that brought in approximately 60 racers from other states.

In total, more than 90 drivers participated in 12 different race classes.

"The public response was overwhelming," said NASGRASS President Wes Pyburn. "We had around 700 spectators on Saturday and ran out of parking space."

Both Saturday and Sunday consisted of two races per classification. The first being a heat race of 10 laps to determined starting position for the 20 lap main race.

In the JP classification, Joseph Paccione and Ty Garrett swapped first and second place finishes in the main races on Saturday and Sunday.

Paccione edged out Garrett by thee hundredths of a second on Saturday night to take the checker and Garrett won handily on Sunday for first place.

The IMOW class consisted of 11 drivers in which the top three drivers on Saturday night finished within a second of each other.

Tina Paccione led the pack followed by Matt Strine and Avon Park's Kerri Bryant.

Dawn Filos, who traveled here from Bel Air, Md., won on Sunday, beating local racer Buddy Pippin by less than a half a second for the victory.

In the GP-K classification, Ty Garrett won on both Saturday and Sunday by default as he was the only racer in that classification.

That was not case in the GP classification as 15 drivers competed. Local NASGRASS drivers crossed the finish line in first in both races as Sean Kennedy edged out Wally Bender on Saturday by less than a second, but finished second himself on Sunday to another NASGRASS driver, Pat Sullivan.

Wally Bender would earn a first place finish in the AP Class as he squeaked past Kevin Nipper in the Saturday race. Nipper returned the favor on Sunday.

Jason Nutbrown became the first driver of the weekend to win both races in the same classification. He accomplished this in the SP class as he squeezed past Matt Strine by a tenth of a second on Saturday and Wally Bender by a second on Sunday.

Pete Sullivan then swept the CP class by comfortable margins in both races.

In the BP class, James Maurice could not follow up his Saturday victory with one on Sunday as he was not able to finish the race. Instead, Shane Shellnut in the 88 National Guard mower crossed the finish line for the Sunday win.

Jason Nutbrown and Kevin Nipper finished first and second respectively in both the Saturday and Sunday races in the FX class.

In the FX-S class, Wally Bender and Andrew Maurice battled in both races with Bender skirting to wins both days by less than a second.

Local driver and NASGRASS president Wes Pyburn won both Saturday and Sunday in the FX-T classification by comfortable margins with the highest average track speed of 34 miles per hour.

The GP Twin class was the final race of both days. Cody Fitsko brought home the checkered flag on Saturday as local driver Jeremy Miller beat his father in the second race by two seconds for the win on Sunday.

Next race is scheduled on April 12 at the Avon Park Mower-Plex. Start time 6 p.m.