HOI Fair Goes Out With A Roar

By Marc Strauss

July 16, 2011 Updated Jul 16, 2011 at 6:09 PM CDT

Jeff McCue makes a living as a correctional officer in Knox County. But on weekends he lives in the fast lane.

McCue drag races a pick up track he's dubbed "The Bomb". And on Saturday it was blowing the competition out of the water at the Heart of Illinois Fair.

"Its a 3-second fist fight from the time you start until the time you finish," said McCue, who started racing in motocross. "Its just wild bouncing. You're strapped in and anything can happen."

One thing that happens is you get dirty, even in the crowd which was revved up for the races on the final day of the fair.

The most powerful machines entered generate over 1,200 horsepower. McCue's is a bit more modest.

"Its a 514 cubic inch Ford. Believe it or not its got 1973 station wagon LTD heads on it that you used to go get groceries with grandma."

Other drivers get down and dirty in their mud bogs. Either way its all about power.

"When you're a boy you want a big jacked up 4-wheel drive truck," said Tim Sylvia who came down from the Quad Cities. "That's pretty much what it is. We're just high-tech rednecks out here having fun and beating on trucks that we don't have to drive to work."

And they look forward to doing things they're not allowed to do on their way to work.

"You can't do it on the highway anymore so you look for some way to relax and release your pressures and just get out and play," said Larry Dixon. To me its just playing."

And it plays well with the crowd.

"Anybody who likes horsepower is going to out here just to listen to the motors running," said Rob Colson, watching in the crowd.

The noise is lous. But its music to their ears.