Road to the Enderle: Week 14 GN Traffic Report

Worthington, Ohio---We are less than six weeks away from the 31st Enderle Memorial Pull-Off, and with it the largest Grand National session in the event's history. Thirteen divisions and 65 competitors will thrill fans as part of truck and tractor pulling's all-star season finale on Saturday, September 16.

In this space for those next six weeks, we will track the developments in the two races that matter within each division: The battle for the title, and the chase to stay in the top five and get that coveted invitation to the most lucrative single day in the motorsport. (The division names link to the individual points pages which are updated immediately after each event.)

The Chizek/Korth Team swept Langford ("Excessive Force" and "Considered Armed & Dangerous" achieving a win each), and the result was "Considered" assuming the point lead for the first time this season. Jason Hootman's third and fourth with "The Commander" (-3) kept him within striking distance heading into the final two hooks in Bowling Green. "Excessive" sits at minus-5 for the title, while the third A&D Team Light Super, "Deadly Force," is 11.5 back and 14 up on sixth. The race for the Enderle is likely between Kyle Karlen's "Bad Blood" (+8.5 over sixth) and Larry Phillips' "Extremely Insane."

A second place in Wapakoneta by Travis Schlabach's "Bone Twister" has pushed its lead to 10 over the defending champion "Triple Bypass" of  Jody and Colin Ross. The Wapak-winning "Red Horse" (-12) of the Blagraves has put itself within striking distance, especially given how the Texans like that northwestern Ohio dirt. But you'll recall, "Bypass" had a BG weekend for the ages last season. Kent Payne's "Super Rooster" (-32, +14 over sixth) looks safe for Enderle at the moment. On either side of the line are "Smoke-n-Mirrors" (+4 over sixth) -n- "Lock-N-Load" with five hooks remaining.

It was a Thursday and Saturday of give-and-take throughout this division.Current leader "GALOT II" got a fourth in Monroe and a second and 30 points in Salem. Terry Blackbourn and "Extremely Armed & Dangerous" (-1 plus two wins) won in Monroe and got sixth in Salem. Josh Blackbourn and "International Threat" (-1 plus one win), a seventh and third; "GALOT" (-9), a second and eighth. The result is a race within reach of everyone with five hooks in the Buckeye State to go. As for Enderle, Jordan Lustik's "Silver Bullet" has the edge over Jeff Hothem's "Fully Loaded" (-13 from fifth). But both tractors sustained damage at Salem; we'll have to see who can get their setup dialed back in first.

Rod Deck made his move, sweeping Meade County to pull into a solid fourth (-10 from first, +16 over sixth) with "Dream On." But as Rod will tell you, consistency wins championships, and Brad Hart's pair of thirds aboard "Don't Ask" were all that were needed to boost him back into the point lead by three over the slumping "One Bad Apple" and "Absolutely Nuts." Tony Sietsema's "Wolverine Deere" also had two nice outings in Brandenburg to build a nine-point lead for fifth over Dave Whelan..

Still too early to tell, but if Charles Pelletier does hoist the GN trophy, he'll look to a huge rebound weekend in Illinois. There, "CP Dream II"'s first in Mt. Sterling and second in Salem, combined with Mike Conny's struggles with a suddenly mortal "MAC Nasty" (-11) erased the effects of C.P.'s chalk walk in Brandenburg. A pair of top fours put Robby Lemke's "New Generation Plus" (-15) in contention, as did Danny Schmucker's Saturday win with "Rampage" (-16). Injector issues zapped "Rapped Up!" (--21, +7 over sixth), putting Mark Lawyer on the hot seat for Enderle. It's Kevin Schmucker's "Git-Er-Dun Deere" and Tim Cain's "Red Gambler" (-13 from fifth) who he'll be fending off in Sandusky and Napoleon.

With a name like "Thriller," a walk-off win ought to be expected. Indeed, LeAnn Tormoehlen-May's Chevrolet delivered on the final pass in Wapakoneta, and the 30 put her within three points of an Enderle berth. A week after victory in Kentucky had made it the point leader, Renee Theobald's "Pretty Wicked" (-8 from first) is now the truck on that fifth-place brink. Jessie Petro's third in Auglaize County with "Buckeye Hauler" put him on top of dad Randy's "Kathy's Komplaint" (-1) in this constantly shuffling division. Craig Corzine's "Burn Notice" (-4) and Bryan McDonald's "Suffering Sanity" (-7) hold the other transfer spots going into the NTPC.

"The Punisher" brought it over three sessions in Michigan and New York, earning a win and 87 points and flipping a three-point deficit to a 19-point surplus. Ted Skelton's impressive 82-point performance over that span with "The Rock" put him into a solid second place, while previous leader Carmen Foster's eighth, 10th, and scratch with "Foster Child" (-24) cost her two positions. But Norwalk, site of Foster's first national win last season, is up next. Also picking up 87 points from Monroe to Langford were the Holman Brothers, and as a result their "4 Play" is only a point behind Lisa Peterson's "Profab" and Rob Foster's "Simply Red" for fifth.

Josh Deeter's "Up in Smoke" continued to rise during its fine weekend in Illinois. A win in Mt. Sterling and a sixth in Salem on two tracks that were new to the division extended its lead to 11 over Don Bowling's "Pulling for the Cure." Shawn Hodges' "On Borrowed Time" sits 17 back and seven up on sixth place, which is currently occupied by the Haisleys' "Off Constantly." In between are Matt Clemons' "Alter Ego" (-18, +6 over sixth) and Carl Atley's "Lethal Weapon" (-21, +3), two trucks that know how to win in Wood County.

We'll crown a champion in less than two weeks, but the way the big rigs were set on kill Saturday night at the Celebration on the Pond, you'd have thought it was going to be decided there. Dan Prahl's "Full Tilt" (-3, +5 from sixth) boogied its way to 382' and solidified its grip on an Enderle invite with its second straight win. After a 379' of its own, Pat Eilen's "Just Passin' Thru in Class" is tied with Prahl, a handful ahead of Sonny Graese's "Stacks." With a fourth place in Morley, Lonny Sailor's "Holy Smokes" (+1) retook the point lead for the first time since Hutchinson. Dean Holicky's "Mother Trucker" and Brian Elithorpe's "Nikki's Nightmare" are tied for second.

The day-night doubleheader in Langford saw no dominant performer, as the two finish orders were well scrambled. "Bobcat Jr.," strong all season long, picked up a win in the afternoon and a fourth in the evening and departed the Empire State with an 11.5-point bulge. The "0.5" is because Jason Hathaway's "Honkin' Donkey Gray" (second) and Ken Veney's "Funny Lil' Farmall" (-36.5, fifth, +13.5 over sixth) had to pass on the afternoon pull-off. Larry Koester's "Footloose" (-19) and son Adam's "Beast of Burden" (-27) are safely in the top-five; Zach Zimmer's "Well Oiled Machine" (sixth) is hoping to get there with eight more passes to make beginning in Erie County on Friday.

It was Brandon once again at the controls of both "Simon Sez" and "Show No Mercy" at the Fort, and he performed identically as he did in Ionia: A win and a second for "Sez"; a win and a fifth for "Show" (-7). Only trouble is, he didn't show much "Mercy" to R.J.'s ride in the Saturday night pull-off, so they'll have some supercharger wrenching to do. Craig Corzine's "Money Pit Screwed Up" (-9) continues to be the closest contender, while Keith Wayson's "Super Bee" (+6 over sixth) and the Boyers' "Twist & Shout" (+1) try to keep ahead of Paul Koontz' "Joker" and Todd Feiss' "S'no Farmer" (-4 from fifth). Remaining: Three hooks along U.S. 6: First Sandusky on Friday, and then the Lights' Bowling Green debut.

The north-south route into Bowling Green, I-75, was occupied by two hooks of its own this past weekend: Monroe and Wapakoneta. And with them now in the rear-view, Ricky Rose's "Giddy Up" (+4) maintains its lead over Bret Berg's "Money Maker." The Minnesota triple won in Michigan and took fourth in Ohio to add two points to its lead. Dennis Christensen's "Pack Rat IV" (-18) gained a little with a third and a fourth; Bill Douglas Jr.'s "Spook Gone Wild" (-18) lost a little with a sixth and a seventh. The battle for fifth is between the green quads owned by Bob Jostock ("Wild Child," +10 over sixth) and Joe Fintak ("North American," sixth).

Chuck Knapp's "Screamin' D" has won in North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Ohio (x 2), and Illinois, and its lead over the Criswell/Benedict Team's "Blown Centless" is now 19. That team is chasing Chuck with two tractors, and the other one, "Non-Cents All Screwed Up" (-25, third), got within 2' in Mt. Sterling. Quite the fight for fifth is developing among Wayne Purser's "Uncle Sam" (+10 over sixth), Rose (+9), David Richardson's "For Sale" (sixth), and Berg (seventh, -12 from fifth). It all can change in BG, where anything can happen (and usually does).

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