Racing down the muddy track

Friends race each other to finish line in fair’s truck contest.
Friday, July 23, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:05 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Holly Burnett and Ian Diegelman raced down the muddy 125-foot long track, the roaring of their trucks drowning out the cheering of the crowd.

“Blue Angel,” Burnett’s shiny ’87 Chevy ripping through the muck, came in second, right behind Diegelman’s red ’78 Dodge, in the first class of mud races at the Boone County Fair on Thursday night.

The 17-year-old Burnett said that being the only woman driver in the stock class makes the races more fun, but, she would like to see more female drivers.

“I think it’s more fun, because the guys get mad when you beat them,” she said.

Her truck sports a bumper sticker that reads, “This Ain’t My Brother’s Truck.”

Burnett said that, right before the light turns green, she gets so nervous her hands shake. But, once she hits the pedal, Burnett said she doesn’t think about anything but driving.

This is Burnett’s second year of mud racing. Last year, Burnett won first in the stock class and Diegelman took second.

“It was fun. I liked it a lot,” said Burnett, who got into the sport after her brother began racing. “But you can’t win all the time.”

Burnett and Diegelman, who are both from Chillicothe, have known each other for awhile. Diegelman is best friends with Burnett’s older brother, Clint. Diegelman said the race was more fun because of their friendship.

When he’s racing, Diegelman said he gets “all pumped up.” The 22-year-old started racing five years ago. He decided to try it out because he likes driving fast, he said. Diegelman said the trucks in his class go as fast as 50 to 60 mph.

First through third place finishers in each of the six classes are awarded a trophy, as well as a portion of the prize money collected from the entrants’ $20 fee. All of the money collected goes to the racers.

Ray Terran, 42, participated in the rail class, which consists of highly modified trucks that can be fueled with nitrous oxide. Terran said that a real rail class usually only has mud dragsters, but the Boone County Fair allows trucks like his to compete.

Terran, a five-year mud racing veteran, rolled his truck several times last year. This year, he jumped back into the driver’s seat with a new truck — and he won.

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