Worthington, Ohio---Wauseon moved the Grand National championship and Enderle Pull-Off invitation rosters forward, as Four Wheel Drives and Modified Minis reached the ends of their respective lines. Meanwhile, Canton's two-night Stark County Fair Pull provided the latest twist to a crazy season in Pro Stock. That division plus Super Stock Diesel, Super Farm, Super Stock Diesel 4x4, and Modified will see their winners crowned and their invitations stamped in Sandwich this Thursday and Saturday. Update: It's a done deal for "Trump" as of Thursday night in DeKalb County. Upperdate: At midafternoon in DeKalb County, there are still title and Enderle races to decide.
GN Light Super Stock
Reigning Rookie and Puller of the Year Adam Spiegelberg completed his title run on four wheels with "Detonator Black." We note that seemingly insignificant fact because his crew and fellow pullers aided in making repairs to his Case IH's left spindle assembly after his pre-restart pass sent his wheel wobbling away. Spiegelberg's second and his brother Jordan's third on "Detonator Red" (-16) earned them the top two invitations, but Jason Hootman's victory with "The Commander" (-19)---its fourth of the 10-hook season---freshed everyone's memory of who's been there and won it before. Kyle Karlen completed his steady season on "Bad Blood" (-32) with a characteristic fourth, while Marcus Wettleson brought his "Gunpowder & Lead" (-33) all the way back to an Enderle berth after leaving Tomah buried in 10th. Update: Bad news for Marcus, as he has discovered an issue that will keep him from running. Zach Linville will get the call with "Ridge Runner."
GN Super Stock Diesel
We've said it before: Why build a lead if you don't use it? The Ross Family started to do just that on Saturday afternoon in Sandwich, as a midtrack stoppage over 70' back of the winner left Colin and "Triple Bypass" in ninth and trimmed four points off its standings lead. But . But when evening rolled around, "Bypass" and Lily were ready to clinch their championship in style and did so with her third victory against, to date, zero defeats. Kent Payne's "Super Rooster" locked up its runner-up status in the division with a fifth and a third, whilst Esdon Lehn's "Diggin' Fever" and "Red Line Fever" maintained the consistent performances (third, fifth; fourth, sixth) that put them into the all-star game. Once "Lock-N-Load" was entered and "High Tech Red Neck" had scratched, the 'til-then tight tilt for that final berth was settled.
GN Super Stock Open
"GALOT II" (John Strickland) won its fourth straight title in BG, but team tractor "Get a Load of That," piloted by crew chief Brent Payne, earned the ring honors. Jordan Lustik's "Silver Bullet," Sid Broughton's "Desperado," and the Kale/Jerew "Ride the Lightning" are your other Enderle qualifiers. The NTPA office received word that "Lightning" has been grounded, and so the Linvilles' "Ridge Runner," which competed for SSO points at Tomah, has been invited.
GN Super Farm
Jon Silby and his "Crop Doctor" have their graduate degree in comebacks. Down two points to Brady Ferris' "Absolutely Nuts" to start the afternoon, Silsby drew even by taking second while Ferris got fifth. Then in the evening session, the "Doctor" matriculated its way down the track to a 323.260' on the class' second hook. Eight tractors later, it was up to "Absolutely" to decide it positively, and while Ferris made a fine run, his 322.385' fell 10.5"---and, astoundingly, three point positions---shy of Silsby's second second place of the day. Ryan Anderson's "Checkin' Out" was the night class' winner and claimed third on the year, overtaking Chris Weidinger and "Black Power" in the process. And Brook Ferris hung on for dear life to the final Enderle berth, as "Assorted Nuts" finished last and lost six points to the fifth-place finisher "Deere Traxx" but still made it into the show by a lone marker.
GN Pro Stock
Darrin Hunt went to Ohio on a mission that he completed in central Illinois. A string of mediocre performances from Kentucky through Illinois and into Ohio in a division that demands near-perfection on a nightly basis had left his once-leading "D2 Pro Stock Edition" looking up from fourth place. But Hunt held serve through the massive classes in Bowling Green and then knocked off the hometown powers in Stark County to retake the lead entering the Sandwich Fair. After Saturday afternoon, he had more than doubled his lead over his closest competitors, Mike Conny's "MAC Nasty," Mike's daughter Julia Ray's "MAC Daddy," and Jason Svonavec's "Bootlegger" But any one of the trio remained within striking distance given the strong contingent of GN vehicles on the grounds. No matter: Hunt took the second hook of the evening session to 339'---4' better than closest challenger Ray---and made further calculations unnecessary. Tim Cain's "Red Gambler" will be the fifth qualifier by outlasting fellow pullin' dad Kevin Schmucker.
GN Two Wheel Drive
It's over, and the "dream season" of Russ Nichols is complete. His "On the Edge" turned in a masterful three-win, seven top-five season to hold off Bryan McDonald's "Suffering Sanity" and unseat the defending and five-time champion Randy Petro and "Kathy's Komplaint." As fate would have it, Nichols, who has a gift for drawing low numbers in BG, had the Saturday test hook. He wisely kept it and watched McDonald fall short just two trucks later and Petro drive past far enough on the pass after that for the win but not enough to collect the points necessary to overcome the deficit. Roger Simon's "Simon Sez Chevy" and Renee Theobald's "Pretty Wicked" completed the top five. Every one of them has at least one GN win to its credit, and for the first time in a decade, every one will arrive in a different hauler. Update: Craig Corzine will drive for Mr. Simon.
GN Four Wheel Drive
A conservative run got Peyton Davis and "Punisher" just enough on Friday in Wauseon to clinch their second title in three years. This time, it came over the pistol-hot "Young Gun" of brother John T., who closed the gap from 11 to three. The Holmans' "4 Play" is assured of its 32nd Enderle Pull-Off invitation, and last year's second- and first-place championship finishers, Carmen Foster's "Foster Child" and Ben Ellis' "Benjammin," complete the list of qualifiers after they finished third and first in Fulton County.
GN Super Stock Diesel 4x4
"Trump" closed the deal: By virtue of a second-place finish on the infield track in Sandwich, Shane Kellogg captured his first Grand National title. Kellogg finished the season with the most wins (three) among 11 top-fives in 12 competitive appearances and both the Tomah and Bowling Green weekend championships. Todd Dugan took over for Carl Atley at midseason and piloted the former "Lethal Weapon," rebranded as "Angry Farmer Products," to second, while Van Haisley's "Rock Hard Ram" tightened the race a tick by outrunning the Trump Train on Thursday night. Shane Wurm's "Boost" and Don Bowling's "Pulling for the Cure" are also Enderle-bound.
GN Super Semi
Congratulations, Dean Holicky, who clinched with a win in Hudsonville. Your five qualifiers are Holicky's "Mother Trucker," Pat Eilen's "Just Passin' Thru in Class" (-5), Ryan DeBroux's "Playin' with Fire" (-24.5), Brian Elithorpe's "Nikki's Nightmare" (-63.5), and Jack Kielmeyer's "Jacked Up" (-104).
GN Modified Mini
Ken Veney won his third championship in a Modified division with "Funny Lil' Farmall;" Veney, a four-time class winner this season, had previously won 7,500-lb. and Unlimited titles in 2008 and 2012. That ties him with second-place Joe Eder, whose "Polar Air" Mini is the stablemate of the UNL version that got him his third NTPA title. Still seeking a championship but getting a heck of a head start on 2020 are Chase Richardson and the "Vibrator"; they picked up their third win in their last five outings. Adam Koester's "Walk the Line" and "Beast of Burden" are also in the show with eight and six top-fives, respectively.
GN Light Unlimited
Doug Theobald, Grand National Champion. The first title for the storied pulling family came in Doug's first year of competition, when by his own admission early in the season, "Everything we did went right." "Full-Blown Wicked" ended up with three victories in its rookie campaign and will be a favorite to add a fourth in Champaign County. Meanwhile, Keith Wayson's "Super Bee" had two wins of its own amid six top threes, and Jason Gibson's "Young Blood Jokers Wild" will also be in Urbana after its first season included four top fives. The Farley, Iowans will be represented as well with their "Simon Sez" and "Show No Mercy" entries, which landed fourth and fifth. Update: The Simons have had to decline their berths, and that has made room for Steve Bollinger and "Money Pit Screwed Up." and Ashley Corzine and "Second-Degree Burn."
Bret Berg's "Money Maker" had empty pockets after a disheartening DQ in the evening session. But a quick run of the numbers showed that he would retain his point lead no matter what the evening brought. So Berg let it all hang out in that night session and claimed his fifth win of 2019 to establish his final margin at eight over Jeff Rose's "Giddy Up." Rose's ride was wounded after his brilliant afternoon performance spawned his first outright Grand National win and could manage only a bump late. Bill Douglas Jr.'s "Spook Gone Wild" broke an incoming tie with teammate Bob Jostock's "Wild Child" to earn third-place honors, while Dennis Christensen's "Pack Rat 4" retained its Enderle invitation.
1997 and 2003 GN Modified champion Joe Eder clinched his first Unlimited title with a win in Lorain County aboard "Polar Air." Eder finished his sterling season by visiting the winners circle for the seventh time in 13 competitive appearances and using his four-engine bulldozer to pile up a 21-point margin over season and event runner-up Wayne Purser and "Uncle Sam." Four-time champ Chuck Knapp and "Screamin' D" (-25) took a mid-pack fifth on the final night of the regular season but will have the most Urbana experience and victories among the division's Enderle qualifiers. Ricky Rose's "Giddy Up" (-92) will do double duty on the twin tracks after qualifying fourth, and Kevin Criswell's "Blown Centless" (-131) overtook Adam Bauer's absent "Cross Threaded" for the fifth transfer spot.
About National Tractor Pullers Association
The NTPA is the sport’s oldest and most respected truck and tractor pulling sanctioning organization. Governed by a board of directors, the NTPA is managed by World Pulling International (WPI), an independently owned entity. Headquartered in Worthington, Ohio, the NTPA provides rules and regulations and the infrastructures required for organizations throughout the country to arrange truck and tractor pulls. The 2019 NTPA Championship Pulling Circuit was sponsored in part by Case IH, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Alliance Tire, Enderle Fuel Injection, MAC Trailer, Ag Protect 1, Shell Rotella, STOP-FYRE®, Cen-Pe-Co Lubricants, Columbus Diesel Supply, Heritage Iron Magazine, Stainless Diesel, Midwest Wheel Inc., the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio, PowerBore Cylinder Sleeves, Profab Machine Inc., the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin, and Riverside Engine Inc.
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