Whoever said that nice guys finish last did not know Jon Lorenz. Lorenz spent most of the 1980s and 1990s behind the wheel of an International Harvester “ten-sixty-six” known as “Sneaky Snake”. The very personable Lorenz drove around the perennial John Deere champions, the Linder Brothers, in the mid-80s and helped the “I-H” brand re-establish itself in the Pro Stock ranks.
Along with assistance from his son-in-law, John Wilkens, Lorenz grabbed three NTPA Grand National Pro Stock titles in 1986, 1987, and 1988. On winning his first championship, Lorenz stated, “I was totally amazed we won the title. It’s only our second year out, and I was totally amazed we lucked out so well. We’re the new kids on the block, and we had hoped just to finish in the top ten.” The next two years proved that they weren’t that lucky - just great.
Lorenz kept on winning, and as the Pro Stock division wasn’t showcased as much on the NTPA Grand National Circuit in the early 90s, the NTPA member state, O-S-T-P-A circuit provided many more wins. His legacy continues to build among pullers and fans as one of Pro Stocks best competitors.
In fact, Lorenz was thought of so much by the pulling community that he was voted into the NTPA 30 year “All Star Team” during NTPA’s 30 year anniversary celebration in 1999. “Snake” received the most votes out of any Pro Stock competitor and was named the Pro Stock division captain. Lorenz called the acknowledgment, “an honor”.
In every puller’s life stands one defining moment. A time that they treasure dearly. The Fresno, Ohioian’s moment came during his last season behind the wheel of “Sneaky Snake”. Lorenz reflected, “A few years ago at Bowling Green. I was tied with Bill Miller, and we came back for a pull-off and the crowd started a chant: ‘snake, snake, snake’. Gardner Stone came over to me afterwards and said that he never saw anything like that in pulling.”
And pulling has ever seen a competitor quite like Jon Lorenz.
Sadly, Lorenz is no longer with us. No doubt, he would have considered this an honor and privilege to set foot into the NTPA’s hallowed halls of greatness.