Worthington, Ohio---Almost had him.
That's what Doug Lively's competitors are saying after the "Bank Robber," the Grand National champion of 2013 and 2014, let its pursuers get a bit too proximate on the Saturday doubleheader finale in Sandwich, Illinois. Having eluded the rest of the class with top fours across the season's opening six weeks, Lively broke through for his first win of the season in early August in Norwalk, Wisconsin. When he won again in Bowling Green, Ohio, his lead was eight points, and it looked like the fight was for second.
But in DeKalb County's afternoon session, Lively took sixth to open the door to three-time champion Bret Berg's "Money Maker" and the reigning "Giddy Up" of Ricky Rose, who were four and six points in arrears. And when night came, Lively's "Robber" nearly picked its own pocket, veering toward the left sideline with engines groaning in disharmony to place fourth among the six who had pulled. That eliminated Rose (-5) but set up title scenarios for Berg, one of which involved simply taking the lead. However, the "Money" (-2) ran out with a third, the class ran out one tractor later, and so time ran out on Lively's rivals.
Finishing fourth and fifth to claim Enderle Pull-Off berths were Corey Kielmeyer's "Double Trouble" (-21) and Bob Jostock's "Wild Child" (-27), which held off the supernatural challenge of team tractor "Spook Gone Wild," piloted by Bill Douglas, Jr. All will appear at the all-star event in Urbana, Ohio on Saturday, September 15.
Since the (limited) GN Modified division began scaling 7,500 lbs. in 2003, Lively (2018, 2014, 2013) and Berg (2016, 2012, 2011), each of whom scored a third title four seasons removed from back-to-backs, are the only three-time winners. All-time in Modified classes weighing 7,000, 7,200, or 7,500 lbs., the Banter Brothers' six titles leads, with John Hileman's four placing second and the three each for Lively, Berg, and Tim Engler coming in third.