Family-run company backs Ill. racing family

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The two teenage girls sidled closer to the green-and-white race car at the National Farm Machinery Show, checking out the car, but really checking out the hot young driver.

“Do you want to get in the car?” 20-year-old Nick Neville asked.

The teens shook their heads no, blushing from Neville’s attention, then scurried away.

But Neville’s Dixie Chopper-sponsored race car is not the only female lure for the young driver and his 22-year-old brother, Derek, who also drives in the American Speed Association Late Model Series northern division.

Neville points at the little quarter midget racer next to his car.

“He’s the real chick magnet,” Neville said of 7-year-old brother, Trevor, who hits the racetracks with the scaled-down car.

Racing family

Younger sister Danielle, 10, also races on the quarter midget tracks.

They follow big footsteps, as Nick and Derek both hold several track records with the small racers, and both earned spots in the Mini-Indy Quarter Midget Hall of Fame.

In 2006, Derek was Rookie of the Year in the ASA Late Model Series northern division. The runner-up? Brother Nick.

Enter Dixie Chopper

Parents Jamie and Beverly formed Buzz Motorsports in 2006 to guide their young family of drivers. The Mackinaw, Ill., family gained the corporate sponsorship of Dixie Chopper in 2007 for son Nick’s car.

And it couldn’t be a better fit: Dixie Chopper founder Art Evans is a former drag racer who translated his knowledge of horsepower and hydraulics on the racetrack into productive lawn cutting machines for commercial and residential owners.

Neville finished second last season in the 10-race ASA Late Model Series northern division points standings, missing first place by only 51 points.

“It’s such an adrenaline rush,” he said of racing, but added that there’s a lot of work and effort that goes into it.

“We wouldn’t have been able to race last year without Dixie Chopper,” said Nick Feb. 15 during the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., where his racer was getting as much attention in the Dixie Chopper booth as the mowers. Sponsorship for 2008 is still pending.

When not racing, Nick operates a lawn mowing business he started as a high school sophomore, mowing — or course — with Dixie Choppers he received as part of the racing sponsorship deal.

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