Road to the Enderle: Week 13 GN Traffic Report

Worthington, Ohio---The 7 p.m. session of the 31st Memorial Enderle Pull-Off will feature an unprecedented 65 Grand National competitors. And that means that every divison has two races to watch: The chase for the championship and the battle to be fifth place or better. From now until the end of the season, we'll keep you up-to-speed in this space at (The division names link to the individual points pages which are updated immediately after each event.)

A win and a fourth in Brandenburg means Jason Hootman's "Commander" will lead the field into Langford, the first New York State event for NTPA in over two decades. The Korth/Chizek "Considered Armed & Dangerous" also won in Kentucky to tighten the division race to a single point; "Deadly Force" had a pair of thirds and "Excessive Force" a fourth to hold the next two slots. Kyle Karlen's "Bad Blood" sits fifth by six points over Marcus Wettleson.

Two more hooks in Chapel Hill brought this division's number to 10 so far in 2017, but now they get a chance to cool those diesels until Wapakoneta on August 5. With a win and a fourth at Lions Motorsports Park, Travis Schlabach's "Bone Twister" now leads by five over the Ross' "Triple Bypass." The other Chapel Hill winner, the Blagraves' "Red Horse," sits third (-13), while Kent Payne's "Super Rooster" (-31) and John Raymond's "Smoke-n-Mirrors" (-39) complete the top five. Five points out of fifth, "Lock-N-Load" is locked out for the moment.

Teammates Josh (International Threat) and Terry (Extremely Armed & Dangerous) Blackbourn hold the top two positions; colleagues John Strickland (GALOT II) and Brent Payne (GALOT) the next two. Jordan Lustik's cushion with "Silver Bullet" is 16 over Jeff Hothem. They next light the fire in Monroe.

Rod Deck made his move, sweeping Meade County to pull into a solid fourth (-10 from first, +16 over sixth) with "Dream On." But as Rod will tell you, consistency wins championships, and Brad Hart's pair of thirds aboard "Don't Ask" were all that were needed to boost him back into the point lead by three over the slumping "One Bad Apple" and "Absolutely Nuts." Tony Sietsema's "Wolverine Deere" also had two nice outings in Brandenburg to build a nine-point lead for fifth over Dave Whelan..

The converse is "catastrophe costs championships." Too early to tell, but if Charles Pelletier doesn't hoist the GN trophy, he'll look to a DQ in KY with "CP Dream II" (-7) as a major reason. Mike Conny's "MAC Nasty" rediscovered the dominance of his early-season stretch, winning Saturday night. Mark Lawyer's "Rapped Up!" (-12), Kevin Schmucker's "Git-Er-Dun Deere" (-17), and Friday night winner Robby Lemke's "New Generation Plus" (-18) hold the remaining Enderle transfer slots. Danny Schmucker's "Rampage" sits five back of Lemke with the Illinois swing up next.

Regular observers of the TWD circuit are familiar with the Petros' recent dominance in Brandenburg, so of course they'd move up in the standings this past weekend, right? Well, yes, but they weren't alone. Renee Theobald's win on Friday night and fourth on Saturday. have given her the tiebreak advantage over Randy's "Kathy's Komplaint" and a five-point lead over Jessie's "Buckeye Hauler" and the Corzines' "Burn Notice," which Ashley piloted to twin runner-ups and fourth. All of this came at the expense of Bryan McDonald's "Sanity," which fell to fifth and 10 points back of the lead but still eight ahead of LeAnn Tormoehlen-May's "Thriller." Next? Renee's favorite track east of Shelby County: Wapakoneta.

In a few weeks, Carmen Foster will be up late studying for college exams. But she already passed two big tests under the lights in Chapel Hill: Her second and third were enough to wrest the lead from Peyton Davis' "Punisher" (-3) with her home-state Monroe event next. Lisa Peterson and "Profab" are 10 behind, Carmen's dad Rob and "Simply Red" 16 back, and Ted Skelton's "Rock" 17. Then it's a half dozen more to sixth-place Larry Peterson and "Profab Geared Up." One bright spot for Davis: His "Young Gun" now sits seventh (-25) after he dialed it in for its Friday night win. And the Holman Brothers' "4 Play," with a Chapel Hill W of their own, are now tied with Donald LaBonte's "Rock" for eighth (-30).

A win and a second in Fort Recovery vaulted Josh Deeter's "Up in Smoke" to a nine-point lead in the division's inaugural GN season. Don Bowling's "Pulling for the Cure" was in the pink of health Saturday night to tie Shawn Hodges' "On Borrowed Time" for second. Matt Clemons' "Alter Ego" and Shane Kellogg's "Trump" sit fourth, both 12 behind and two up on sixth-place Carl Atley's "Lethal Weapon," whose safety-collar DQ at the Fort might be a real pain in the neck come Enderle season. But six hooks remain, including two on the big stage in BG.

Incredibly, we've hit the two-thirds point of the Semis' 2017 haul. Despite its engine failure at Tomah---from which it returned in Rockwell---Dean Holicky's "Mother Trucker" holds the lead over GN newcomers Lonny Sailor ("Holy Smokes," -2) and Brian Elithorpe ("Nikki's Nightmare," -4). So far, the Eilens' "Just Passin' Thru in Class" gets a passing grade (+2 over sixth) as does Dan Prahl's "Full Tilt" (+1); "Sawdust Man" Sonny Graese's "Stacks" is odd-man out at this time.

Piloted by Jason Hathaway Friday and Bill Leischner Saturday, "Bobcat Jr." lost a little of its lead to Hathaway's "Honkin' Donkey Gray" (-7), which posted a win and a second to Larry Koester's "Footloose" (-14). Adam's "Beast of Burden" (-25 from first, +16 over sixth) and Ken Veney's "Funny Lil' Farmall (-34, +7) are looking as much to hold their Pull-Off positions as to vie for the lead, though it's a friendly sixth-placer for Adam: "Walk the Line."  Jerry Thompson's "Hellraiser" sits seventh (-8 from fifth) as they all make their way to the Empire State.

It was Brandon once again at the controls of both "Simon Sez" and "Show No Mercy" at the Fort, and he performed identically as he did in Ionia: A win and a second for "Sez"; a win and a fifth for "Show" (-7). Only trouble is, he didn't show much "Mercy" to R.J.'s ride in the Saturday night pull-off, so they'll have some supercharger wrenching to do before Sandusky in a week and a half. Craig Corzine's "Money Pit Screwed Up" (-9) continues to be the closest contender, while Keith Wayson's "Super Bee" (+6 over sixth) and the Boyers' "Twist & Shout" (+1) try to keep ahead of Paul Koontz' "Joker" and Todd Feiss' "S'no Farmer" (-4 from fifth).

Berg's "Money Maker" and Ricky Rose's "Giddy Up" have claimed all the wins so far in 2017. Berg holds the edge in that category, three-to-two, but Rose leads by two where it matters most. The Jostock/Douglas "Spook Gone Wild," Dennis Christensen's "Pack Rat 4," and Bob Jostock's "Wild Child" round out the top five as we head into the midseason event in Monroe.

Add two Ohio W's to "Screamin' D"'s list of one each in North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, and the lead is now 16 over the Criswell/Benedict Team's "Blown Centless," which took two second places at the Fort. Team tractor "Non-Cents" (-24) got two fourths, while Wayne Purser got the run he'd been looking for with "Uncle Sam" (-32) to qualify for the pull-off on Friday. Ricky Rose was forced to go with three motors on Saturday but still earned 48 points on the weekend to stay 11 points ahead of sixth-place David Richardson and "For Sale" and 13 up on Bret Berg and "Money Maker" for the Enderle invite. It's Mt. Sterling this Friday, then a weekend to chill before the Ohio four-hook home stretch.

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