Wayne Rausch used to travel over 30,000 miles, visiting over 50 different cities with his Two Wheel Drive Trucks on the NTPA circuit as well as other circuits. As ambitious of a schedule that it was, this Dublin, Ohio native had the desire to make pulling his full-time business after his retirement from varied careers. His ardent personality helped place him among other fellow pullers in NTPA’s Hall of Fame.
Wayne Rausch grew up in the dairy business outside of Plain City, Ohio and spent 27 years specializing in the dairy and grain business with Ecraso Farms while developing one of the most outstanding registered Holstein herds in the nation. He also taught 14 years at the Ohio State University teaching dairy science courses. If that wasn’t enough excitement, Wayne also spent two years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. as a marketing specialist and spent two years as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in Kassel, Germany as a pilot. There was also a stint as a realtor.
Pulling came calling later in life for Rausch. His first effort was in 1979 where the 48-year old Wayne purchased an aspirated Mini Rod and called it “The Force”. He earned several top five point finishes in OSTPA competition during the three years piloting the Mini.
In 1982, he decided to cash rent his land to neighbors and free up more time for pulling. Wayne had originally planned to build a FWD Truck; however, the TWD Truck class was on the horizon with the NTPA, and it looked to Rausch to be the way to go. Wayne researched several facets, such as engine builder and truck brand, but also contemplated sponsorship opportunities, fan, and promoter appeal. He decided on Bill Humphrey to put together the frame and driveline, and nearby neighbor and drag racer Jim Head to prepare the engine for a Dodge Ram 50 Truck. Wayne bought the truck off of the showroom floor and took it to Humphrey to begin transformation - for the record, the truck only had 37 miles on it.
Rausch painted the truck red and entitled it the “Little Red Truck”, and he competed in the first ever, NTPA National TWD point event in Kings Island, Ohio in 1983. After his first year in the newest division of NTPA, Rausch finished fifth and sixth in the points race of two weight breaks. Rausch really helped pioneer the division for NTPA in its early years, helping establish the class.
In 1984, Rausch’s season got off to a rip roaring start by winning both classes in Tomah, Wisconsin. He capped off his second NTPA Two Wheel Drive Truck campaign by winning titles in both the 5800 and 6200 pound classes. Over his career, Wayne also amassed three Regional and Pro National titles with the NTPA and several top ten finishes in the point standings.
In 1987, Rausch added a second truck to his stable that was simply known as the “Yellow Model T”. He found similar success with the new ride on the track, and the T-bucket was actually made into a toy which was sold nationwide in stores such as Toys R Us and Target in the late 80’s, bringing more attention to the sport.
Wayne Rausch was one of the first competitors to truly market himself through the press and media, sending out packets updating those crucial to his success on a regular basis. Wayne authored various articles on sensitive issues for The Puller magazine, and was a viable participant in the NTPA Two Wheel Drive Truck divisional committee to develop rules for the division. In fact, Wayne was a long time proponent of engine limitations in an era in which engine limits were unpopular. Today’s cubic inch limitation of 575 can be traced back to Wayne’s unwavering belief that it was the right thing to do.
Wayne pulled into the 90’s and even made Tomah, Wisconsin for the 30th Anniversary. Wayne, always looking for more challenges, worked with the NHRA in merchandising. It gave he and wife Jo a chance to travel and the opportunity to be part of another motor sport that Wayne loved. Known to be well thought out and mild mannered, Wayne Rausch’s influence on pulling can still be felt today.