There are many side gigs for farmers – one of which includes race car driver.
Mike Harrison is a modified driver who won quite a few races over the years and farms near Highland, Taylorville and Pana.
“People think that the Summernational Hell Tour is a gruel and a grind. Come farm for a year,” Harrison said prior to the Prairie Dirt Classic race at Fairbury Speedway Saturday.
Harrison has done fewer races this year than he ever has because of the unusual weather and late spring most farmers experienced.
“This year was strange with all the rain and it really hurt me as far as getting my head into the racing scene,” Harrison adds.
Harrison considers it a blessing to race at Fairbury and enjoys the fact that local residents treat him like he is from the town.
“I tell everybody that I talk to if there’s one racetrack they’ve never been to that they need to come to at least once in their life, it’s Fairbury.”
Jay Ledford, who farms with his family between Pontiac and Chenoa, also races but hasn’t gotten in the car much this year because of the late spring. Ledford races go-karts in high school and didn’t start racing modifieds until he was 25. He has won some championships at Fairbury and Farmer City.
“With the way the machinery is now with autosteer, you get a lot of time to think about the race cars when you’re driving,” Ledford admits.
Both Harrison and Ledford were interviewed my Mike Norris during The Central Illinois Farm Network’s final Fairbury Race Talk live remote of the season via Facebook on Saturday prior to the Prairie Dirt Classic.