Riding grass mower can outrun some race cars

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With word coming that Texas Motor Speedway’s new “Big Hoss” video board will receive certification Sunday as the biggest of its kind in the world from the Guinness Book of World Records, we thought we’d pass along another record-setter.

For all of you who hate cutting grass, and particularly those who’ve resorted to doing it in style by buying a riding mower, no matter how fast or classy yours is, it’s no match to the Honda Mean Mower.

And this is on a motorsports blog, why? Well, you might say this is grassroots racing at its most unique.

After all, while you crank around your yard at maybe three to five mph, wouldn’t you like to be riding something that is so tricked out that it can hit a top speed of just over 116 mph?

You read that right, over 116 mph. Ergo, it’s the fastest riding grass mower in the world.

So says Guinness … courtesy of our friends at MotorAuthority.com.

The Mean Mower set the record a month ago at the Idiada Proving Ground in Tarragona, Spain, with a record-setting top speed of 116.57, nearly 30 mph faster than the previous mark of 87.83, set in 2010, according to MotorAuthority.com.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly a stock riding mower you can pick up at, say, Home Depot or Lowe’s. It’s got a 1,000-cc motorcycle engine that allows the four-wheel mower to reach 62 mph in four seconds.

Oh, and the MM may have only scratched the surface of how fast it can go. It reportedly was built to eventually hit 130 mph.

Oh yes, and one more thing: it can still cut grass quite nicely – at about 15 mph, roughly three times faster than your riding mower. Something tells me you might want to add this to your “gotta have” list.

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Teammates James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens earn top-fives at Barber

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For the first time this season, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcilffe and Robert Wickens earned top-five finishes in the same race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Hinchcliffe finished third in the Grand Prix of Alabama; Wickens was one spot behind in fourth.

Wickens had one previous podium at Phoenix with his second-place finish. Hinchcliffe’s best result was a fourth in the season-opener in St Petersburg, Fla., so this marked his first podium of the year.

Both drivers needed a little help from the rain.

As precipitation began to fall in the closing stages of the race, Hinchliffe asked his team on a couple of occasions if it was wet enough to pit for rain tires. He was told twice to stay out and was then called into to the pits at the optimal time.

“Solid weekend for us after coming here before – not a great test,” Hinchcliffe said. “Two cars in the top 10 qualifying; two cars, top five in the race. Pretty proud of these boys, everybody on the Arrow car.”

The rain helped Wickens’ race strategy come together.

“I was having to save a lot of fuel in that second stint,” Wickens said. “So once (Scott) Dixon starting getting close to me I was thinking ‘Oh God, I’m going to actually have to give this one up.’ And then the rain came, so the fuel mileage happened naturally. So, yeah, it saved us a bit.”

And while both were pleased with their top-five finishes, drivers are rarely satisfied unless they are standing on the top step of the podium.

Wickens’ top-five finish was hard-fought. After winning the pole at St Petersburg and starting sixth at Phoenix, he failed to advance to the Fast 6 in back-to-back races at Long Beach and Barber – qualifying 10th both times.

“I was a little gutted that we came out in a big bunch of traffic,” Wickens continued. “It made the race fun, but a little frustrating as well because of people off sequence and whatnot. We lost a lot of track position there. Both of us could have been fighting for higher steps on the podium, but we need to do a little better job in qualifying. “