M.O.R.A. races wow at Mount Pleasant Speedway
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Cheers matched roaring engines and dust clouds on Friday at the Mount Pleasant Speedway during the Kevin Fedewa UMP-Mod Memorial Races. Among the many types of full-sized racing cars, the Mini Outlaw Racing Association cars, or M.O.R.A. cars for short, stood out from the pack for their small size and fast speeds.
"It’s so much fun, a lot of people think it's stupid that we drive in circles, but if you get out on a highway and you stomp down on the gas pedal, you can only go as fast as the speed limit tells you," said Kent Strong, 24, of Riverdale. "And out here, you try to go as fast as you can, as clean as you can. Just the thrill of winning, knowing you are the fastest car out there."
Strong has been racing cars since he was 16 years old, and was the M.O.R.A. winner of the night's Heat and Feature race.
After coming to grips with the fact that he couldn't financially support himself by racing pro-stock cars, Strong found an opportunity to try his hand at M.O.R.A. racing. This is his fourth year he has been competing in the races, racing alongside his brother Luke Strong.
Luke took second in the feature race of the night.
Spectators arrive to the Mount Pleasant Speedway early for the Kevin Fedewa UMP Mod Memorial races Friday night. Among the many types of race cars are the MORA race cars. A racing club from northern Michigan, the MORA cars are built using snowmobile engines and can reach speeds close to 90 mph. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
Jerry Ruemmler waves the checkered flag as racers speed into the last turns to the finish line during their heat races Friday night at the Mount Pleasant Speedway. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
Kent Strong, left, of Riverdale, races against brother and fellow competitor Luke Strong in the MORA race car sprints Friday Night at the Mount Pleasant Speedway. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
Stadium food and laughter fed the masses at the Mount Pleasant Speedway Friday Night for the 2nd Annual Kevin Fedewa UMP Mod Memorial Races. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
After taking a lap around the track, friends and family members of Kevin Fedewa release balloons into the night sky during the 2nd Annual Kevin Fedewa UMP Mod Memorial Races at the Mount Pleasant Speedway on Friday. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
Kent Strong, #33, overtakes brother and fellow competitor Luke Strong, #41, during the last lap of the Feature MORA race at the Mount Pleasant Speedway Friday evening. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
Holding the checkered flag high, Kent Strong poses on the winner's podium after placing first in the Feature MORA race Friday evening at the Mount Pleasant Speedway. Racing since he was sixteen, Strong has been racing MORA cars for the past four years. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
Kent Strong, winner of both MORA races Friday night, sets his trophy on top of his car's spoiler. Taking first tonight in both the Heat and Features means he closes the gap between him and the overall first place racer Doug Roush. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
A race fan since her first race at age 6, Heather Harris of Mount Pleasant, loves coming to the races, "I think more people should come." Harris cheers for all the racers, but particularly the girls. Watching 16 year old Automotive Stock 4 racer Tasha Decker, car #D7, win her feature race, she laughs, "Can't beat it when a chick beats 'em on a full moon!" Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
#33 has always been Kent Strong's number: even growing up, his basketball number was 33. "When I first started going to the races, I knew one guy and he was number 33. And that kind of drew me to that number," said Strong. Though he raced under #22 last year, this year he was able to change it. Strong finished first in both his Heat and Feature races Friday night at the Mount Pleasant Speedway. Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer
M.O.R.A.'s are cars built using snowmobile engines, with a max speed around 90 m.p.h. They have lower set bodies with open tires.
A unique feature of their design is a large back spoiler with wings, displaying the racers' numbers and names. The M.O.R.A. club, from Northern Michigan, competes all over the state and holds 12 races each season. The races start in mid-April and continue until the end of August.
"They are easy to work on and I'm able to travel. I'm not racing at one track every week," Strong said.
While Strong enjoys the Mount Pleasant Speedway's track, he wishes more people would come out to the races.
"It's good racing, for what cars are here," he said. "It kinda sucks that the car count went down so much in the past couple years, because it's a fun Friday night track to come to."
Mount Pleasant Speedway opened 27 years ago and the M.O.R.A. racing club have been competing there every year.
The next big race is on July 4th at the Speedway.