The last of 2023’s very best were identified at the NTPA Grand National circuit’s final regular-season event, the DeKalb County Fair Grand Nationals in Sandwich, Illinois.
On Thursday night, Erik Stacey of Winchester, Ohio won his first Super Stock Diesel 4×4 Truck title with “Smoknya” in a head-to-head showdown with fellow contender Nick Gillett’s “Top Shelf.” The two arrived in Illinois tied for the division lead, and Stacey’s third-place finish was enough to edge Gillett, who landed in fourth.
Then on Saturday came the trophy presentations for four big-tire divisions. Kent Payne needed only one run on the day for his “Super Rooster” to clinch his first Super Stock Diesel championship. After a fourth-place finish in the afternoon session established an insurmountable lead, Payne scratched from the night session to set a 17.5-point concluding margin.
In Super Farm, Russ and Greg Freeze withstood a two-win assault from challenger Ryan Anderson by posting a fourth and a third aboard “Deere Traxx” en route to their own first GN title. The Freezes led from the opening bell in Benson for a dominant campaign in a division that features close competition.
In Pro Stock, Brent Meyer and “Injected Funds” realized the ultimate goal of their dream GN rookie season. Meyer held off Brandon Simon’s “Loud & Heavy” for his inaugural championship with 10th and 9th places in the doubleheader.
And in Modified, Brandon Simon first caught and then passed incoming leader Tommy Owens with a Sandwich sweep. Simon’s four-engine “Simon Sez,” competing in the 7,500-lb. class for the first time in 2023, bested Owens’ “Ramblin’ Rose,” which has now been runner-up for three consecutive seasons.
All 13 Grand National champions will be recognized during opening ceremonies at the 36th Enderle Pull-Off on Saturday, September 16 in Urbana, Ohio and at the NTPA’s Convention and Awards Banquet on Saturday, December 2 in Dublin, Ohio.