The National Tractor Pullers Association made its sophomore journey to Langford, New York's Tractor Pull Grounds and the newly named Northeast Nationals. The label is not all that has changed about this event, as the national pulling used to be concentrated on Sunday afternoon following a festival and jamboree on Saturday. Now, it's two solid days of pulling, as the Association brought five divisions to the Buffalo area---Light Super Stock and Super Stock Diesel Tractors, Four-Wheel-Drive Trucks, and Mini and Multi-Engine Unlimited Modifieds.
The Light Supers were the lone Shell Rotella Cup class among the five and were set to make their fifth and sixth of eight scheduled appearances on the tour presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts. The early Session One lead belonged to the Armed & Dangerous Team's "Deadly Force" (322.7') on possibly the best pass of that third-year tractor's career. Brian Korth piloted three entries in the class and "Deadly" was the second to appear with ground to make up in the point standings on its teammates "Excessive Force" and "Considered Armed & Dangerous."
Five hooks later, the Nationals crowd witnessed three new leaders in four tractors. First, Adam Spiegelberg made a bid for his second win in as many weeks with "Detonator Black" (326.5'), but that chance died when home-state hero Jason Hootman's "Commander" (329.9') got by him by about 3.5'. The Langford track was still able to contain Hootman but not Marcus Wettleson's "Gunpowder & Lead" (337.6') whose new chassis may now be considered dialed in. Wettleson was matched with Korth's "Considered" (333.1') to force a pull-off.
There, Wettleson set the sled in the middle, but the dirt had other ideas, tugging him leftward and dangerously close to the left sideline by 290'. The brake stab that saved him also cost him at the end, and "Lead"'s tenuous lead was set at 318.9'. That opening was all Korth needed, as he directed his tractor rightward from the beginning and stayed out of trouble to clinch the Session One victory (324.4') and the lead in the weekend's O'Reilly Hardest-Working Puller total-distance contest.
In Session Two---well, wait a minute. Larry Phillips requested and received permission to make an exhibition pass after Saturday's class had concluded, feeling he had an electrical issue to solve. On Sunday, his "Extremely Insane" was shockingly good, following a 336.6' with a 337.2' to earn the Langford win just a day after finishing last among the GN competitors. Spiegelberg had set the leader cone in pull-off territory (338.5') on the fifth hook of the class and came tantalizingly close (335.5') to national victory number two. A nifty consolation prize for the Weyauwegan was the O'Reilly Hardest-Working Puller Award, for which "Detonator Black" blew away the competition by over 16' combined.
Coming in third was Kyle Karlen's "Bad Blood," which qualified for the pull-off by a couple of inches but could not return. Korth's "Deadly Force" (328.1') was the best of the first-rounders and of the A&D Team, whose other two tractors were an uncharacteristic seventh ("Considered," 311.3') and eighth ("Excessive Force," 310.6'). Wettleson's (326.2') new-chassis experiment was successful once more. But the weekend's big winner was the man who placed sixth, as Hootman's "Commander" assumed the GN and Cup leads by one point over "Considered Armed & Dangerous." '
Two hooks remain in each of those series over the National Tractor Pulling Championships' weekend, August 16-18 in Bowling Green, Ohio. That five-session Super National will mark the Cup finale for all 13 of the NTPA's Grand National divisions.
During the week off that leads into the NTPC, we'll take a look back at the first eight weekends of Cup competition. Watch this space for that recap.
(photos by Adam Draudt/MAD Pulling Pics)
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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