Worthington, Ohio---Eight Grand National divisions were at rest over the weekend leading into the National Tractor Pulling Championships. But Super Stock Diesels, Pro Stocks, and Modified Minis got a hook's worth of opportunity to improve their championship and Enderle Pull-Off qualifying standings positions at Napoleon's Henry County Fair. That annual Grand National, located 30 miles from the Wood County Fairgrounds in Bowling Green, also had classes of Two- and Four-Wheel-Drive Trucks whose regional point-earners rubbed elbows with GN visitors who were in search of a final tune that will pay dividends in Pulltown.
We're now only four weeks away from the climactic Enderle Memorial Pull-Off on Saturday, September 14. (RN Report.)
GN Light Super Stock
After a month-plus in the dark, the Lights were on for five of nine evenings spannng the two weeks with a single hook in Monroe surrounded by doubles in Brandenburg and Langford. With a Saturday night victory but a Sunday bump in New York, Marcus Wettleson's "Gunpowder & Lead" made its move back into the top five (-24 from lead, +7 from sixth), while Jason Hootman's "Commander" continued its climb after an 87-point trip around the lakes. The Spiegelbergs---Adam's "Detonator Black" and Jordan's "Detonator Red" (-9)---continue to lead the way heading to Bowling Green, while the Linvilles' sixth-place "Ridge Runner" can still capitalize on anyone's slipup.
GN Super Stock Diesel
For the second time in three weeks, Lily got the keys to the family's sedan 8,000-lb., three-charger McCormick and showed she was more than up to the challenge. As in Fort Recovery, she drew the test hook but stopped to regroup when something wasn't right. Once it was right, the Rosses' "Triple Bypass" got steered to a nearly 14' victory by Jody's daughter/Colin's sister, who remains undefeated and earned her first outright GN win. Kent Payne's "Super Rooster" ruffled the right chalk for a DQ that set him back to minus-24.5 in the standings, but he concluded the night in Henry County with an exhibition pass to recenter his program before his run at a repeat of his 2018 ring-winning performance. Esdon Lehn's "Red Line Fever" (+43 from sixth) held the lead until Lily and looks healthy heading for BG, while Napoleon homeboy Mike Beck's advantage with "High Tech Red Neck" over Steve Burge's "Lock-N-Load" for the final Enderle berth is now just a half point.
GN Super Stock Open
"GALOT II" (John Strickland) and "I" (Brent Payne) lead the way after four of six, but with exactly five regular contenders (including Jordan Lustik's "Silver Bullet," Scott Jerew and Eilene Kale's "Ride the Lightning," and Sid Broughton's "Desperado"), all are expected to qualify after the series concludes in Bowling Green.
GN Super Farm
Brady Ferris' "Absolutely Nuts" is positively on fire, having posted two wins and a third across the last three hooks in Michigan and Kentucky. Resultantly, Ferris has taken a two-point lead over Jon Silsby's "Crop Doctor," whose 56 of a possible 60 astoundingly lost him three points in the standings. Meanwhile, Chris Weidinger's "Black Power" is stealthily entering the championship conversation; his 57-point weekend in That State Up North has moved him within eight of the lead. But as is characteristic of the division, even Weidinger is only 13 ahead of sixth-place Ryan Anderson's "Checkin' Out," a former Bowling Green winner. (Guess what's next...) The Brook Ferris Sr./Jr. "Assorted Nuts" and Brad Hart's "Don't Ask" (both +4 on sixth) are on hotter seats, while Lee Butts' "Press On" and the Freezes' "Deere Traxx" (both -6 from fifth) could easily gain what they need with strong performances in big classes in Wood County.
GN Pro Stock
At the site of his third GN win a year ago, Jason Svonavec struggled to 11th in Henry County in 2019. But even though the race tightened, his "Bootlegger" continues to hold the top spot in a division that has seen three different leaders and 10 different winners across 13 hooks. It's now Mike Conny's "MAC Nasty" (-4 from lead) that most closely trails Svonavec, while Conny's daughter Julia and "MAC Daddy" (-5) slipped from second to third. Darrin Hunt's "D2 Pro Stock Edition" (-8) remains fourth but won seven points back on a night that saw Tim Ammons score his first Grand National victory with "Ultimate Harvester." In fact, Napoleon has earned a reputation as a Waterloo for the Waterloo Boys, as non-Deeres have won the green-heavy class six times in the last eight years. The 2019 edition saw a top-five consisting of Conny (third), three Reds, and an Esdon---Lemke, who drove "New Generation Plus" (-5 from fifth-place Tim Cain/"Red Gambler") to a strong runner-up finish in his second-ever national outing.
GN Two Wheel Drive
Russ Nichols' "On the Edge" is now officially on the verge of doing what no one has since Chuck Knapp in 2008---nail a Two Wheel Drive trophy to a wall that's not in Camden, Ohio. Nichols saw his lead over Bryan McDonald's "Suffering Sanity" contract from seven points to two Friday night but expand to nine when his green Ford was victorious over a field of 22. Randy Petro's bid for a second straight championship and sixth overall with "Kathy's Komplaint" (-19) will need a lot to go his way in Bowling Green; a second consecutive ring there would certainly help. Renee Theobald's "Pretty Wicked," the Session One victor, is now seven points ahead of sixth-place R.J. Simon's "Sez Chevy," while Roger's "Dodge" is in between at plus-five. And Doug Theobald's "Wicked" (-17) could still make it two bound for Urbana from the Shelbyville stable (or really three, counting the Light Unlimited) with a strong NTPC performance.
GN Four Wheel Drive
In boxing, they call it a combination. Might it have been a knockout? Too early to say for sure with three to go, but the Davis brothers---Peyton, your Monroe and Langford Sunday winner, and John T., your Saturday first-time victor in NY---are punching awfully hard right now. Peyton's "Punisher" leads John T.'s "Young Gun" by nine, which in turn leads Carmen Foster's "Foster Child" by five. But Carmen well knows that a championship can turn on a strong BG, and so do the Holmans ("4 Play," +19 from sixth) and Ben Ellis ("Benjammin," +3). Barry Cobb's "Hit Man" surged into sixth on the strength of two seconds to climb the "Rock"s of Donald LaBonte and Ted Skelton.
GN Super Stock Diesel 4x4
Did "Trump" get tired of winning? We don't think so, but it has now been four hooks since Shane Kellogg's last triumph in Rockwell, and the race is beginning to tighten.Todd Dugan's "Angry Farmer Products" (the erstwhile "Lethal Weapon") is now just seven behind after Dugan's first GN W came in Mt. Sterling. And the rest of the field is spreading the wealth around: Van Haisley's "Rock Hard Ram" (Fort Recovery S1 win, now +10 from sixth), Justin Gearhart's "Cream of the Crop" (Fort S2 win), and Don Bowling's "Pulling for the Cure" (Salem win, now +8 from sixth). Still winless is Shane Wurm's "Boost," but like "Cure" it's also up eight points on Erik Stacey's "Smok'n Ya HD" for the final transfer spot with BG and Sandwich to go.
GN Super Semi
Tied through Hutch with two wins apiece, Dean Holicky's "Mother Trucker" and Pat Eilen's "Just Passin' Thru in Class" Petes are separated by one place point from their lone trip down Rockwell's track. That night, it was Ryan DeBroux's "Playin' with Fire" that became the season's third winner, but it trails its fellow K-Whopper, Brian Elithorpe's "Nikki's Nightmare," by six for third. Jack Kielmeyer's "Jacked Up" is hanging in fifth after an on-again, off-again three events thus far. The Pond got a little deeper in soggy Morley, so BG and Hudsonville are all that are left, and we'll have a champion in just over a week.
GN Modified Mini
Chase Richardson and his "Vibrator" won for the first time this season in Napoleon, and given that his last regular-year victory came in neighboring Fulton County, we reckon the college roundball coach has gotten very fond of Ohio's northwestern corner. Richardson is doing his best to track down the four-win "Funny Lil' Farmall" of Ken Veney, who placed second to extend his standings lead to 15.5 points. "Vibrator" overtook Adam Koester's "Walk the Line" (-18.5 from lead, +20 from sixth) when the latter placed fifth and earned a bit more space back to fourth in the standings when Joe Eder retook the reins of "Polar Air" (-21.5 from lead, +17 from sixth) but got trapped close to the left sideline. Koester's "Beast of Burden" was fourth and "Footloose" was sixth in the class to remain 16 points on either side of the Enderle cut line, while Richardson's teammate C.J. Graczyk and "Cash Crop" (sixth) are gaining experience and have four hooks left to make a run at Urbana.
GN Light Unlimited
We're down to Bowling Green to determine a champion. Division rookie Doug Theobald's "Full-Blown Wicked" took first and third over last weekend in Illinois to tie 2015 champion Keith Wayson's "Super Bee" for the lead, while Jason Gibson's "Young Blood Jokers Wild" held a consistent fourth to assume the third spot. All three are now locked into the Enderle and may be joined by any two of the following: The Simons' "Simon Sez" (+40 from sixth) and "Show No Mercy" (+30), Steve Bollinger's "Money Pit Screwed Up" (sixth), and Ashley Corzine's "Second-Degree Burn" (-40 from fifth).
Bret Berg's "Money Maker" has rung the register three times so far across Tomah and Maryland and leads the division by eight. Jeff Rose's efforts in the seat of dad Ricky's "Giddy Up" have resulted in three seconds and two fourths, while the Jostock-Douglas Team's "Wild Child" and "Spook Gone Wild" and Dennis Christensen's "Pack Rat 4" remain safely ahead of part-timer Lane Bollinger's "Top Gun" (-46 from fifth). BG times two and Sandwich times two will conclude the 10-hook season.
In front of a hometown crowd last Saturday, Joe Eder posted the sixth win in seven outings with "Polar Air," and the margins haven't been small lately: 29' this time separated Eder from four-time champion Chuck Knapp's "Screamin' D." But when the Unlimiteds opened the NTPA portion of the Langford program on Sunday, Eder along with several others took wild rides on a track that suddenly seemed possessed. Even with his season-worst fourth, Eder gained on Knapp whose transmission jumped out of "D" and whose engines screamed in disapproval to finish seventh. Rebounding from his Session One sixth was Wayne Purser's "Uncle Sam," whose Session Two second drew it within two of Knapp and 23 of the leader. All three are now assuredly Enderle-bound, while Ricky Rose's "Giddy Up" (+45 from sixth) and Adam Bauer's New York-absent "Cross Threaded" (+37) have to hold off the Criswell-Benedict entries through three more hooks in eight days.
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 2018 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, 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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