Story by Darren Heartwell
Jim and Paul Holman earned their 12th Grand National Championship in 2016 with their legendary “4 Play” Chevrolet. Paul started pulling in 1977 and Jim in 1980, and they have always pulled Four-Wheel-Drive Trucks.
The brothers began pulling together in 1986 and moved to the GN circuit in 1987. Jim stated this 12th title “ties us with Esdon Lehn (“Red Line Fever” Super Stock Diesel) for second most [titles in NTPA history], which puts us in good company. [Speaking] as a fan, he has always been one of my favorite pullers!” Paul added, “If we retire tied with Esdon, I would be okay with that. He probably has the same respect for us that we have for him.”
The season kicked off in Benson, North Carolina. Jim was in the driver’s seat for Session One, finishing fifth. Paul drove in Session Two and finished in second place. The Friday night session in Hutchinson, Minnesota was washed out by rain, but Paul finished third on Saturday night to put the team in the points lead.
The first hook at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin on Saturday night was rained out as well. Paul drove the truck to the team’s only win of the season on Sunday afternoon. Jim and Paul stated that this is where they figured out a nagging problem with the engine that has existed for many years.
At the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, the team finished fifth and third to maintain the points lead. They finished second in Monroe, Michigan and fourth in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Session One in Norwalk, Wisconsin saw the team finish outside the top 10 for the first time all season, in 13th, but they were back in the top five with a fourth-place finish in the second session.
Their points lead was down to one going into the National Tractor Pulling Championships. “4 Play” finished third and seventh in Bowling Green to extend their lead with just three hooks remaining. Jim finished third in Session One in Hudsonville, Michigan and Paul 11th in Session Two.
The final event of the season was in their hometown of Wauseon, Ohio. The team finished 15th but clinched the title by three points.
Paul commented, “Consistency is what won it for us.” Jim added, “I paid more attention to the points this year and didn’t worry as much about wins.”
The Holman Brothers are the only team to have qualified for 29 of the 30 Enderle Pull-Offs. They celebrated the 30th annual by taking the win at the All-Star event in Urbana, Ohio.
Jim and Paul would like to thank their Mom and Dad, Howard and Jeannette, for their support through the years: “Dad is our biggest fan!” They also want to thank their wives, Beth and Michelle. Paul and Michelle have one daughter Allison, and Jim and Beth have one son Craig, daughter-in-law Jennifer, and three grandchildren, Addie (6), Bryce (4), and Kaylee (1).
The team would also like to acknowledge Ed, Beverly, and Jeremy Miller along with all the employees at M.E. Miller Tire, Cen-Pe-Co, Tooman Roofing and Painting, Dave Visner at Visner Engineering Development, Steve Schmidt Racing Engines, and F&W Auto Supply.