Worthington, Ohio---After a topsy-turvy night in Sandwich, Illinois, we have our 13 champions and Enderle Pull-Off invitees. Keep checking this space in case that roster changes; due to breakage, we already have some adjustments to report.
GRAND NATIONAL LIGHT SUPER STOCK
The owner/driver/tractor team of Mike Chizek, Brian Korth, and "Considered Armed & Dangerous" are your champions once more, but not before BG ring winner Jason Hootman and "The Commander" (-1) chipped away at their lead by a point per session at Bowling Green. In addition to winning their fourth straight title and seventh in the last eight years, Chizek and Korth also qualified team tractors "Excessive Force" (-5) and "Deadly Force" (-15.5) for the Enderle. Kyle Karlen's "Bad Blood" (-20) held onto the final transfer spot.
GRAND NATIONAL SUPER STOCK DIESEL
Colin Ross' "Triple Bypass" is a champion once more after a dramatic day in DeKalb County. Ross assumed the top spot over afternoon winner Stan Blagrave's "Red Horse" (second) and incoming leader Travis Schlabach's "Bone Twister" (third, -15) with a third-place finish; the mechanical issues that terminated Schlabach's pass proved too much to overcome, and he had to scratch out of the evening roster. When Blagrave took the class lead again that night with just a few licensed tractors remaining, it came down to counting---and re-counting---points. But no vehicles wedged themselves between "Red Horse"'s 319' and "Bypass"' 316', and so the Rosses claimed the title six wins to five. Steve Burge's "Lock-N-Load" (-41) and Kent Payne's "Super Rooster" (-46) finished fourth and fifth. Update: "Bone Twister" will not be mended in time for the Enderle, and the "Rooster" is not in good voice either. John Raymond's "Smoke-N-Mirrors" will take one of the spots. Breakage having ravaged most of the balance of the point-earning roster, Mike Beck's all-new "High Tech Redneck," which made its GN debut at Sandwich, will take the final invitation.
GRAND NATIONAL SUPER STOCK OPEN
What a heart-stopping way to win; what a gut-wrenching way to lose. John Strickland and "GALOT II" entered Wellington's Friday Night Spectacular down by a point after trading blows with Josh Blackbourn's "International Threat" (-1) at the Great Darke County Fair. To overcome the deficit, Strickland would either have to pass Blackbourn with a GN-licensed tractor in between or win the class outright. They and their two teammates qualified for the pull-off, and the teammates---Terry Blackbourn's "Extremely Armed & Dangerous" (-4) and Brent Payne's "GALOT" (-13)---pulled first and second. Up third, Blackbourn popped a charger just a few feet into his pull and made it to only 52'. Up fourth, Strickland got by Payne by less than 2' to clinch the championship. Notably, "GALOT II" and "International Threat" ended up one-two for the second straight year, and both they and "Extremely A&D" scored three wins apiece. Jordan Lustik and "Silver Bullet" (-52) finished fifth.
GRAND NATIONAL SUPER FARM
Rod Deck's "Dream On" earned its second straight division title by the slimmest of margins. In fact, there was no margin at all; his first- and second-places on the day in Sandwich coupled with Brad Hart's third and seventh with "Don't Ask" moved the pair into a tie before Deck's third win broke it. The Ferrises' "Absolutely Nuts" (-9) ended up third and Dave Whelan's "My Last Excuse" (-22) fourth, while the fifth-place race was as fluid as the one for the top: After up-and-down days by contenders Tony Sietsema ("Wolverine Deere," -43), the Ferrises' "Assorted Nuts," and Bryan Deck's "One Bad Apple," it was the Deere that would claim the final Enderle invitation by just two points.
GRAND NATIONAL PRO STOCK
Though he had to scratch from the afternoon pull-off, Charles Pelletier had banked enough points to clinch his first Pro Stock with "CP Dream II" before the evening began. Mark Lawyer's "Rapped Up!" (-17), the victor in said pull-off, assumed the division's runner-up spot, while Julia Ray's "MAC Nasty" (-18) which won the Sandwich nightcap for the second straight year, finshed third after winning it all in 2016. Speaking of past champs, Robby Lemke ("New Generation Plus," -21) and Danny Schmucker ("Rampage," -38), both of whom have celebrated at Sandwich in recent memory, completed the top five. Update: Finishing sixth was Schmucker team tractor "Git-Er-Dun Deere," and it will get the Enderle bid with "Rampage" unable to go.
GRAND NATIONAL TWO WHEEL DRIVE
With the Canfield Fair Championship Pull washed away, Jessie Petro's "Buckeye Hauler" quietly clinched its sixth consecutive Two Wheel Drive title. Dad Randy's "Kathy's Komplaint" (-5) finished number two for a second straight year, while Craig Corzine's "Burn Notice" (-8, to be driven wife Ashley), Bryan McDonald's "Suffering Sanity" (-25) and Renee Theobald's "Pretty Wicked" (-31) filled out the Enderle invitation list.
GRAND NATIONAL FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
Peyton Davis' is your 2017 champion with the "Punisher," finishing 14 points ahead of the Holman Brothers' "4 Play" to earn his first Grand National title. Davis' "Young Gun" (-18) won its last hook in Wauseon to clinch third, while Donald LaBonte's "Rock" and Rob Foster's "Simply Red" are your remaining invitees by just four- and two-point margins, respectively.
GRAND NATIONAL SUPER STOCK DIESEL FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
Josh Deeter's "Up in Smoke" led this division since winning Friday night in Fort Recovery, extended its lead with a victory in Mt. Sterling, and clinched it with an eventual runner-up finish in Sandwich. After consecutive wins in Bowling Green and Greenville, Carl Atley's "Lethal Weapon" (-10) finished right behind Deeter on the night and on the season, while Shane Kellogg's "Trump" (-19) used a 114-of-120-point stretch run to surge into third. Don Bowling's "Pulling for the Cure" (-27) also won at the Fort among his four top-fives. And Justin Gearhart's "Cream of the Crop" (-36) rose to the top in DeKalb County to win Enderle berth number five on the strength of a tiebreaker.
GRAND NATIONAL SUPER SEMI
Having scored a perfect 120 points in its last four hooks---including a second, a win, and a ring in Bowling Green---Dan Prahl's "Full Tilt" broke the pinball machine and is your 2017 Grand National champion. Chasing valiantly to the end was three-time titlist Dean Holicky's "Mother Trucker" (-1), who entered and left Bowling Green a point down, albeit to different leaders. Lonny Sailor's "Holy Smokes" (fifth, -9) wafted into Wood County with the advantage; though he couldn't hold on, his first Enderle berth is a pretty nice consolation prize. Also reporting to Urbana on Saturday, September 16 will be Brian Elithorpe's "Nikki's Nightmare" (-2) and the Eilens' "Just Passin' Thru in Class" (-5). Update: Unfortunately, the Eilens had trouble when loading up and will not make it. More unfortunately, both Sonny Graese and Ryan Debroux are in the process of upgrading and are not ready to compete, so we'll have to run with four for a third straight year.
GRAND NATIONAL MODIFIED MINI
Bill Leischner piloted "Bobcat Jr." to a second-place finish in Fulton County and thus got to celebrate alongside the Boers. Another Dutch chassis, Jason Hathaway's "Honkin' Donkey Gray" (-27.5), took second ahead of the Koester tandem, dad Larry's "Footloose" (-42) and son Adam's "Beast of Burden" (-44) And Ken Veney, last year's Enderle winner, locked up fifth aboard "Funny Lil' Farmall" (-47.5).
GRAND NATIONAL LIGHT UNLIMITED
As anticipated, Brandon Simon and "Simon Sez" earned their third division title in four seasons and their second in a row. His third and first won him a ring; brother R.J.'s first and fifth locked up a runner-up finish for "Simon Sez Show No Mercy" (-11). Keith Wayson's "Super Bee" and Craig Corzine's "Money Pit Screwed Up" (both -17) finished tied in points, but Wayson got the nod for third thanks to his win in Sandusky. And for the final Enderle berth, Paul Koontz' "Joker" (-33, +11 over sixth) beat out Ted Boyer's "Twist & Shout," which had to scratch from Session Two.
GRAND NATIONAL MODIFIED
Ricky Rose's "Giddy Up" completed its first-ever championship with six wins on the season including a statement 315' pass in the afternoon session at Sandwich. His second place to 2016 champ Bret Berg and "Money Maker" in the evening class established his final margin over Berg at 15 points, the same advantage with which he had entered DeKalb County following a ring-winning Bowling Green sweep. Bob Jostock used two top-fives on the day to move up to third with "Wild Child" (-35) and ahead of Dennis Christensen's "Pack Rat 4" (-36), while Bill Douglas Jr.'s "Spook Gone Wild" (-41) survived a scare by Doug Lively's "Bank Robber" for fifth.
GRAND NATIONAL UNLIMITED
Chuck Knapp won his third straight GN title with "Screamin' D" (+29) He would have clinched anyway with a legal hook but never got the ramps wet as cloudburst after cloudburst soaked the Canfield infield. Kevin Criswell's "Blown Centless" and Brad Benedict's "Non-Cents All Screwed Up" (-42) finished second and third, Wayne Purser's "Uncle Sam" (-53) fourth, and Rose's "Giddy Up" (-57), which will add an engine after the Modifieds run, fifth.
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