K&N sponsored lawn mower racer Katie Jones, 14, said she likes the speed and the noise on the track
Dawn and Lauren Filos of Bel Air, Maryland are too young to drive cars, so their dad takes them to compete in the lawn mower races
Kevin Penne and Mike Miller have each been around lawn mower racing since 1993 and are both Triple Crown Champions
K&N sponsored lawn mower racer Ken Jones competes in the AP portion of the IMOW class at the STA-BIL National Lawn Mower Racing Series in Delaware, Ohio
Father and daughter Ken and Katie Jones competed at the 17th Annual STA-BIL Challenge of Champions Labor Day weekend
Lawn mower racer Allen Minaker is known as LawnMonkey on the lawn mower circuit and said lawn mower racing is his redemption
“It’s an American cultural phenomena,” said Bruce Kaufman, President of the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association. “No one races for money, but our riders go for the glory, a trophy and bragging rights.”
Mike Miller and Kevin Penne can brag, they’ve been around the sport since 1993 and are each Triple Crown Lawn Mower racers. Triple Crown champions have the most cumulative points, win the Challenge of Champions and the Nationals all in one season.
After 17 years of growth, lawn mower racers now have the option of selecting one of 43 local chapters along with participating in an 18 race series. “When I saw my first lawn mower race the machines were going about 26 mph at their fastest,” said Miller. “I knew I could more than double it and I did. K&N air filters give me excellent filtration and additional horsepower.”
Penne’s current $15,000 ride started off as stock and only had 13 horsepower. “I’ve modified every single piece of my lawn mower,” he said. “I have billet connecting rods which are akin to having an insurance policy inside the engine. I have also used K&N my entire career and now I get 37 horsepower. I've won seven national championships with K&N.”
Even though Miller and Penne are at the top of their game, there are a lot of classes in lawn more racing. Some people can get in the sport with as little as $50 for a used mower. The bottom line is you will run as fast as you are willing to spend. Riders reach speeds of 60 mph depending on track conditions, some have been clocked at 80 mph.
There is a regulation book and blades must be removed before any competition. Drivers have to wear a helmet and neck support and every mower must have a kill switch. “It’s kind of like kart Racing, kind of like snow mobile racing or quads,” said Miller. “But really lawn mower racing is its own little sport and there is nothing else that drives like it.”
Lauren Filos of Bel Air, Maryland has been racing lawn mowers since she was 8-years-old along with her sister Dawn Filos. The girls are 11 and 14 and their father takes them to as many races as he can. The family also travels with K&N products on their lawn mowers.
K&N sponsored Ken and Katie Jones, a father and daughter race team set up a K&N table at every lawn mower race with K&N filters and information. Katie is 14 years old and in the Junior Prepared Class. Ken races in the AP portion of the IMOW class. “Nothing else protects our engines like K&N,” he said. “K&N gives us more air and more horsepower.”
Allen Minaker of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin is known as LawnMonkey on the Lawn Mower circuit. “This is so much fun,” he said. “We are all close friends and are like a family out here, but we are deadly competitive on the track. Everyone helps each other because we want the challenge at race time.” Minaker said he has to get air in and out of his motors and K&N helps him with additional horsepower on the dirty and dusty track.
Minaker has raced lawn mowers for seven years. “At one time or another most of us have raced something else,” said Minaker. “I’m a drag racing fan and if someone approached me with a big drag racing deal tomorrow I would say no. That is how much I love this sport. It is my redemption.”
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