When driving something 40 mph that's only meant to go 5, anything can happen.
"Sometimes it's hard enough just to keep it together," said Wayne Moses.
That's every day in the world of competitive lawn mower racing, said Moses, who's been racing mowers for almost a year now with his team, What Ever Racing, out of Clover.
And for five bucks a head, a family can watch local racers sling sod on a dirt track right off Jim McCarter Road in York.
Never miss a local story.
Every other Saturday, spectators come in cars and trucks - OK, mostly trucks - back up to the racetrack at Phat Bottom Speedway, drop their tailgates, flip their cooler lids, and climb into their truck beds to watch the show.
Riders cling to their steering wheels, zooming down the straight-a-ways, sliding into curves, leaning over on two wheels.
In the trees, the sound of the revving, sputtering motors rings out like a bulldozer thrashing 10 tons of sheet metal.
The cacophony doesn't blend well with the rural setting. But grazing calmly in a nearby pasture are horses that wouldn't be there if it weren't for the races. Owners Kenny and Kelly Hart invest what they make from the races into rescuing abused and neglected horses - one of Kelly's passions.
At first, Kelly Hart, who teaches at Blue Eagle Academy in Clover, thought the track was a bad idea. When only one lawn mower showed up for the first race, Kenny was worried she was right.
Eventually, it caught on, Kenny Hart said, and now, they average 130 spectators and 15 competitors racing for "trophies and braggin' rights."
Phat Bottom's races haven't seen many women on the track, but Hart knows of two who are interested.
'The Poor Man's NASCAR'
Around 10 teams make up the local racing circuit, but it's growing month by month. Local racers also travel to other tracks in the region.
Moses and Chris Blevins are dedicated lawn mower racers.
It's Saturday, July 31, and they're getting ready to compete. Moses, 42, dons a red jumpsuit that complements his red racing mower. He works around cars and knows that adding aluminum fly wheels and push rods can make a motor go faster.
Lawn mower racing takes a little bit of knowledge, said Blevins, 39, a lieutenant with the York County Sheriff's Office.
That might include simply knowing what a fly wheel or a push rod is, or how to get a lawn mower to "bite" the track to keep it from sliding off the track and plowing someone's motorcycle - something Moses actually witnessed at a track in Kings Mountain.
Blevins wears a wig of crazy, white-and-orange hair that looks like he stuck his finger in an electric outlet. Sometimes the hair actually lights up. This year, he's doing well. Last year, Moses was the man to beat, Blevins said.
When asked how their team got its name, Moses said no one could come up with a name, then someone hollered "Whatever!" and it stuck.
Moses and Blevins are teammates, but they'll fight "tooth and nail" against each other on the track.
They love lawn mower racing because of the adrenaline rush - and they know adrenaline, what with Blevins being a law enforcement officer, and Moses having jumped out of airplanes for 12 years in the Army.
They've been racing at Phat Bottom almost since the opening of the speedway. This month, the track celebrates its first anniversary, but the sport has been around much longer.
"It's kind of folklore that lawn mower racing started in England with two fellows sitting in a pub arguing over who's mower is faster" until they went out back and raced, said Aaron Crowl, national president of the American Racing Mower Association. He believes people have been lawn mower racing in the Midwest since the late 1950s.
Phat Bottom Speedway is one of 40 local chapters belonging to ARMA, which has more than 700 members nationwide and sets the rules for the sport.
All agree that the economy makes it a great sport for everyone.
"It's the Poor Man's NASCAR," Moses said.
'Anything can go wrong'
Kenny Hart first built the racetrack to run go-karts, but after he saw lawn mower racing on ESPN, he changed his mind.
"All you need is a lawnmower and about $100 to get started," he said.
And there's a class for every mower.
If your hat flies off while you're mowing the yard on a day so still the bugs fall out of the sky, then stock class might be for you - just remove the blades, and go.
But if you're into the mechanics, there are classes for modifying everything from the body and wheels to the engine. Sometimes mechanics squeeze 65 to 70 horsepower out of a 25-horsepower engine, Crowl said.
Hart said he has had a racer - on a lawn mower, remember - clock 100 mph on his track. Now the racers want a drag strip.
A group of dedicated fans ignored the rain and came out to the races on July 31.
There for the first time, Brittney Akers, 14, said with a grin that she came "to watch rednecks chase each other on lawn mowers" - and to see if anyone would wreck.
Her friend Kayla Dyszelski, 15, said it was "interesting ... watching grown people on lawnmowers."
They'll be back, they said - maybe even to race.
Robert Wormy of Rock Hill hasn't been to the track but once, but he's no rookie when it comes to using lawn mowers in ways that don't involve cutting grass.
"You can pull a trailer through the woods a lot better with a lawn mower than with a four wheeler," he said, adding that he used to devise ways to pop wheelies on his mower.
Doug Adams watched the race with that wide-eyed, serious look of a soon-to-be lawn mower racer.
"In the car you have a roll cage," he said, but not here. "Anything can go wrong."
"I came out here, and I said, 'I have to do this.'"
That's when he bought himself a mower.
Mechanic Danny Blevins, Chris Blevins' father, turns wrenches for What Ever Racing. On this Saturday, Moses hit the pit twice after losing two belts. Danny Blevins came to the rescue.
He said lawn mower racing gives mowers a new life.
Danny Blevins pointed to two mowers sitting in the grass near the track - one he "pulled out of the bone yard" and the other he "dug out of the weeds."
Now, they're both winners, he said.
"How much fun can you have on a Saturday afternoon and be a redneck?"
When: Catch the races every other Saturday. The next race is Saturday, Aug. 14. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. Races start at 6:30 p.m.
Where: 2610 Jim McCarter Road. From Clover, take S.C. 321 toward York and turn left on Jim McCarter Road and drive about two miles. The speedway will be on the left. Look for the checkered flag. Coming from the Alexander Love Highway in York, turn onto Lincoln Road (or take the Lincoln Road detour). Turn left onto Jim McCarter Road. The speedway will be about a mile on your right.
How much: $5; children under 10 free
More information: 803-554-1886