Story by Darren Heartwell
Mike Conny had an amazing season in 2016 to clinch his first Grand National championship. He finished first and second with his powerful John Deeres “MAC Nasty” and “Mr. MAC Daddy” in the very competitive Pro Stock division. Mike reflected, “This is a season that started eight years ago when my daughter [Julia] and I started pulling tractors. We always respected the Pro Stock class. For this to happen this year is a feat that may never happen again. Next year is a new challenge, it’s very difficult to repeat.”
The team started out in the Super Farm class and made the transition to the Pro Stock class. They debuted one new tractor late in the 2015 season, but this was their first full year running two new Pro Stock tractors. The team had a dominant season in 2016 winning 13 of the 19 hooks between “MAC Nasty” and “Mr. MAC Daddy.”
The season started on a strong note as Tim Shipley piloted “MAC Nasty” to a win on Friday night in Benson, North Carolina. Mike parked “Mr. MAC Daddy” in the top spot on Saturday night to make it a clean sweep for the team. After Hutchinson, Minnesota was rained out Friday. “Nasty” finished third on Saturday night. Tim earned the win in Session Three at Tomah, Wisconsin, and Mike drove it to a fifth in Session Five.
A new event for Pro Stock tractors, the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, provided another spectacular weekend for the team. Tim Shipley won both hooks at the Super National event aboard “Daddy,” and Mike was second both nights with “Nasty.”
Mike won with “Mr. MAC Daddy” in Mount Sterling, Illinois to take the points lead with that tractor, and either one or the other MAC Deere would lead the rest of the season. Mike parked “MAC Nasty” on top at the next event in Salem, Ilinois. Josh Shipley was behind the wheel to take his first win of the season with “Nasty” in Sandusky, Ohio, while Tim won the next night with “Daddy” in Napoleon, Ohio.
Mike finished ninth with “MAC Nasty” during the first hook in Bowling Green, then won the Saturday night hook at the National Tractor Pulling Championships with that tractor. He won the next points hook in Hudsonville, Michigan with “MAC Nasty” to pull it within three points of “Daddy.” “Nasty” finished third on Wednesday night in Hudsonville to take over the points lead with four hooks remaining.
In Wellington, Ohio Tim finished second with “Mr. MAC Daddy” while Mike finished sixth with “MAC Nasty,” resulting in “Daddy” moving back into the top spot in points. “Daddy” won in Canton, Ohio with “Nasty” second to give “Daddy” a three-point lead going into the final two hooks.
The afternoon session at Sandwich, Illinois was bittersweet for the team. Mike Conny finished second with “MAC Nasty,” but the motor in “Mr. MAC Daddy” blew up, leading to a 23rd place and spotting the “Nasty” tractor a 10-point advantage going into the evening session. Remarkably, the team was able to install a new motor in the “Daddy” tractor in two hours to compete in the second session, where it finished ninth to secure second place in the point standings. Meanwhile, Mike clinched the championship with a victory in DeKalb County aboard “Nasty.” He put another exclamation point on the season by winning at the 30th annual Enderle Pull-Off.
Mike would like to acknowledge his crew chief Tim Shipley along with Josh and Russ Shipley at Top Notch Machine and Shipley Tractors, Bill Humphrey at Humpco Machine, Wimer Turbo, Columbus Diesel, and “our driver, Fester McClish, for hauling us to and from pulls for the last seven years, along with our sponsor, MAC Trailer.”
Mike thanks his family: wife Dawn; daughters Julia, Rachel, and Angelina; sons-in-law Tate Ray and Chad Raber; and his grandsons Braxton Ray and Lane Raber.