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Have Golf Carts; Will Race

Thursday, 13 July 2017

At just about any major drag racing event anywhere near the Carolinas, chances are pretty good at least a portion of the Longhany family from Wade, N.C. near Fayetteville will be there in their family compound.  These International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) competitors love racing, but more than that, they love creating the family compound anytime all of the schedules sync up allowing everyone can be together – race cars, families and kids….lots of kids.

“We have I think 13 race cars total,” Eddie Longhany said.  “Dad started racing back in the 70s; he got us started a long time ago so it’s in our blood.  My wife, Stephanie Rainer, races Top Sportsman; My Dad races, and both my brothers race.  When everybody gets together, it’s like a whole Longhany community of kids and race cars; it’s fun.  We cook out; the kids all love to play, and they love racing.  I have two, my brother Mike has four, and (my brother) Jeff has two; they all love racing and playing together.”

It’s a safe bet a custom golf cart or two will be parked in the “Longhany community.”  Eddie’s company is Victory Lane Golf Carts, and it’s become a big business over the years.  

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“The golf cart business funds our race team, and Dad works with me doing golf carts,” Eddie Longhany said.  “I’m 42 now; I’ve worked at Budweiser, I’ve rolled beer, I’ve done roofing and factory work – I’ve done everything.  I bought a golf cart off Craig’s List, and I fixed it up. I wasn’t trying to sell it to make any money on it. I used it a little while, and I sold it so I thought I’d try it again.  I rotated two or three out every couple weeks, and I was making more money doing golf carts than I was at work. Now it’s turned into a big, big business.  I got in it at the right time.  I have a good reputation, and I think word of mouth works.  I have repeat buyers and people trading in carts that have bought them before.  So I think the business has helped itself through reputation.

“Golf carts come off three-year lease, and I buy 30 or 40 at a time.  We strip them all the way down to the frame and do a custom rebuild, put custom lift kits on them, custom paint them, put on new wheels and tires and do the seats, long tops, radios.  We sell to people going camping, people that use them in their yards or at the beach, doing utility work.  A lot of farmers buy them.  It’s mostly normal people that go on vacation; they take a golf cart with them instead of renting one.  They’re $400-$500 a week to rent, so they’re buying them for $4,000 or so and have them forever.  Our custom-built cart comes with everything brand new, lifted, battery operated for $4,250 so I’m about $1,500 cheaper than the bigger dealers.

“I have four employees down in Conway, S.C.  We build them down there, and then they come up to my shop when they’re done.   I contract a lot of that work out because it makes it a lot easier on me and Dad so we can concentrate on sales and people coming by for batteries.  We sell a lot of batteries, and we do all the lift kits, wheels, tires and accessories.”

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The golf cart business funds an expensive family hobby – drag racing.  Eddie Longhany estimates he and his brothers have won about 50 races over the years, and Eddie has an IHRA Super Stock Championship to his credit.  The payoff for all of the hard work, on cars and carts alike, is the feeling that when it all comes together. 

“When everything jells, everything’s working, and nothing’s breaking, it’s the best feeling,” Longhany added.  “I love it.  I love racing; I love winning. When everything we’ve worked on comes together, it feels so good when the win light comes on; the easy part is driving. You just have to focus; everybody’s used to going down the track and feeling the speed and the G-Force, but when you’re focused and the car’s right, and the win light comes on, that’s why everybody’s here.” 

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 July 2017

 

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