Top dollar (in cash) for all kinds of scrap metal and we will come and pick it up at your place ..

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Swank on Sports / Truck & Tractor Pull News


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  Modern Machine is a full line machine shop specializing in aluminum extrusion work, light production to special one piece parts.  Plus, they are a chassis, driveline and planetary supplier to truck and tractor pulling nationwide.  Modern Machine, Van Buren, Indiana, contact them at 765-934-3110.  


Full Pull Tonight with everything about tractor and truck pulls is back for another season .. Click HERE to listen Sundays at 7pm


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    Click here to listen to an interview with Ricky Rose (part 1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Ricky Rose (part 2)

  From June 19, 2022

    Click here to listen to an interview with Darrick Barga (part 1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Darrick Barga (part 2)

  From June 19, 2022

    Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss, first segment (part 1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss, first segment (part 2)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss, second segment (part 1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss, second segment (part 2)

  From June 12, 2022


  Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine, Second Segment (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine, Second Segment (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine, First Segment (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine, First Segment (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Ryan Writsel (October) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Ryan Writsel (October) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Mike Conny (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Mike Conny (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Doug Thoebald (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Doug Thoebald (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss (October) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss (October) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Darrick Barga (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Darrick Barga (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Austin Boyd (September) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Austin Boyd (September) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Chad Mayhill (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Chad Mayhill (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Steve Bollinger (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Steve Bollinger (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Les Korpral (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Les Korpral (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Bret Berg (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Bert Berg (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Clay Chastain (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Clay Chastain (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Schmucker (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Schmucker (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Colin Ross (September) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Colin Ross (September) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Travis Schlabach (August) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Travis Schlabach (August) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Eder (August) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Eder (August) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Dick (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Dick (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Craig Corzine (August) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Craig Corzine (August) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Jim Holman (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Jim Holman (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Russ Nichols (August) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Russ Nichols (August) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Ryan Writsel (August) (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Ryan Writsel (August) (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Jessie Petro (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Jessie Petro (Part2)



  Click here to listen to an interview with Rob Russell (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Rob Russell (Part2) 



  Click here to listen to an interview with Carmen Foster (Part1)

  Click here to listen to an interview with Carmen Foster (Part2)


     Click here to listen to an interview with Bethany Nelson (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Bethany Nelson (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with Brandon Hunt (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Brandon Hunt (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with Brent Payne (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Brent Payne (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with Brent Seacrest (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Brent Seacrest (Part 2)


   Click here to listen to an interview with Chuck Knapp (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Chuck Knapp (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Todd Feiss (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Jeff Hothem (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Jeff Hothem (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Travis Schlabach (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Travis Schlabach (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Craig Corzine (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Craig Corzine (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Eder (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Eder (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Jessie Petro (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Jessie Petro (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Colin Ross (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Colin Ross (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Austin Boyd (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Austin Boyd (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Russ Nichols (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Russ Nichols (Part 2)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 2)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 3)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 4)



   Click here to listen to an interview with John Lancaster (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with John Lancaster (Part 2)

   Click here to listen to an interview with John Lancaster (Part 3)

   Click here to listen to an interview with John Lancaster (Part 4)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Dick (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Dick (Part 2)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Dick (Part 3)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Dick (Part 4)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Brett Berg (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Brett Berg (Part 2)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Brett Berg (Part 3) 

   Click here to listen to an interview with Berg Berg (Part 4)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Singer (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Singer (Part 2)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Singer (Part 3)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Joe Singer (Part 4)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Tim Engler (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Tim Engler (Part 2)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Tim Engler (Part 3)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Tim Engler (Part 4)



   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 1)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 2)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 3)

   Click here to listen to an interview with Larry Richwine (Part 4)

   Talks about safety and pulling sleds


       Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jessie Petro (Part 1)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jessie Petro (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jessie Petro (Part 3)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jessie Petro (Part 4)


       Click here to listen to an interview with puller Dennis Wilson (Part 1)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Dennis Wilson (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Dennis Wilson (Part 3)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Dennis Wilson (Part 4)


       Click here to listen to an interview with puller Fred Mende (Part 1)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Fred Mende (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Fred Mende (Part 3)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Fred Mende (Part 4)


       Click here to listen to an interview with puller Ronnie Reed (Part 1)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Ronnie Reed (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Ronnie Reed (Part 3)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Ronnie Reed (Part 4)


       Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jeff Shafer (Part 1)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jeff Shafer (Part 2)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jeff Shafer (Part 3)

     Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jeff Shafer (Part 4)


Schmucker One of the Best

Kevin Schmucker of Louisville, Ohio, is certainly a candidate for the Mt. Rushmore of pro stock pullers.

He, and son Danny, have won three NTPA Grand National titles, the last coming in 2014.

Kevin says he still likes pulling, but admits things are different now. “We have a lot of good friends and everybody gets a long really well, most of us do, but still when it is time to pull everybody wants to beat each other, You are always looking for ways to make them go better. It has changed a little bit from back then though. It is kind more about how much money you spend. The last five years it has really changed,” he said.

Schmucker says one of the changes in the pro stock division is many of the competitors are using the dyno to help them refine things. “There are enough places to go and there are enough dynos around. Probably 50 percent of the pullers in our class have their own dyno now. So, they are constantly testing and tuning. Even this summer when we don’t have any pulls to go to a lot of them guys are probably playing with that,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “When you don’t have those luxuries it is hard to stay with it. You know what you have to put on to make them run, but with a dyno and stuff it is easier to fine tune them.”

Kevin says they have out “Rampage” and the “Get ‘er Done Deere” only once over the years.

Kevin has been in the class since the early 1980’s and he says fellow John Deere pullers John and Mike Linder gave him some key advice. “I started not too long after John and Mike Linder started and they helped me a lot. They kind of directed me to Riverside (Engines) and Columbus Diesel. Actually, they are about the only guys that are still left from when I started,” he said.

Kevin and Danny and won four times at the National Tractor Pulling Championships at Bowling Green and 10 times at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, winning the final four times. Kevin says he really likes the indoor pull in February. “We have done as well as anybody in the pro stock class there. We have had great success there. There is a place in Illinois, Salem, that we have won 50, 60 percent of the time we have went there. I have been pretty fortunate at Bowling Green too. It seems like the big ones my wife (Debbie) says I run it a little harder when I go to those. We have been fortunate at the big pulls, we really have,” said Schmucker.

Published 8/11/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


Brabecs Were Diesel Super Stock Pioneers

Dennis Brabec of Laurens, Iowa won seven NTPA Grand National Titles in the 5,000 lb. lightweight super stock class with the AC 180 the “Country Dude” between 1976 and 1987 and later added a second AC to the team.

Dennis was inducted into the NTPA Hall of Fame in 1996.

In the humble opinion of this author the “Country Dude” is the best lightweight super stock of all time.

Dennis says around their part of northwest Iowa they had seen an AC 180 pulling an thought that would be a good model to get their pulling careers started with and then they went to work. “A local guy had a 180 and he went to the local pulls and we thought that fits the class pretty good, the light super stock. I actually used it on the farm the first fall when I bought it. We took it to Noble Harrison at Pittsfield, Illinois, in about ’73. He put a turbocharger on it for me and we brought it home and we went and started pulling from then on,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “Now a days they have dynos or have practice pulls or somebody even owns a sled. Back them we trucked to maybe Pennsylvania to try something out and we didn’t even know if it was going to work. So, that’s how we started.”

Brabec says the “Country Dude” started out with one turbo, but eventually ran three in the lightweight class. “After Noble Harrison put the one on, we pulled several years and then my younger brother Allen, who pulled with me a lot, and I decided, we put two on it. We went to a pull in Kansas, it was an indoor pull, we pulled in an people said that is not going to work. Actually, it didn’t work because we couldn’t get it started. We never had it started at home, it was a winter pull, and then we did get it started. We were quite successful for a while and then we eventually put three turbochargers on it. We came up with our own recipe and then we got really successful on it,” he said.

In 1985, the Brabec family added the “Imposter” to the team, but Dennis says it was already in the family before that. “My older brother, Ken, had the tractor first, it was a D-21, and when he was going to get out of it we bought the tractor from him. We worked into a new style tractor and eventually went to four turbochargers on it that we put on ourselves. We never had quite the success. Wee didn’t pull it as long as the “Country Dude,” but we were twice second in the grand national points in the seven. We won quite a few different pulls when we look back at it. At the time we didn’t really think we were doing that good. We one Bowling Green in the nine. We won Louisville in the seven. We won the Indy Super Pull in the seven. We were competitive, we just couldn’t keep it together in the end,” said Brabec.

Nowadays we don’t have many pull offs with the high dollar motors, but Dennis remembers a class that pulled four times. “I went to the New York State Fair one time and we were pulling the 7,000 class with our 180 and we stated on one side of the grandstand with one sled. I believe there were 54 tractors in the class. Like 27 of us made full pulls and it got down to about 15 made second full pulls. They wanted to start the modified class, so they switched that to the grandstand side and we started with a new sled on the second track. Seven us made full pulls the third time and then we had another pull off. Four times in one afternoon, the same class. Today, none of these tractors would live two or three runs in the same afternoon, they might,” said Brabec.

Published 8/10/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


Holmans are Truck Guys

The Holman brothers, Jim and Paul, from Wauseon, in Northwest Ohio, not far from Bowling Green, have been part of truck pulling for about as long as FWD trucks have been part of the sport.

They are still pretty good at it. They have won 13 NTPA grand national titles, the last coming in 2016.

Jim Holman told “Full Pull Tonight” that they were ready to pull this season pretty early, but they haven’t gotten much of a chance, of course, and that has been frustrating. “Especially in our case. We were probably ready, or could have been ready, earlier this year then we ever have. Typically, we are dynoing the engine a week before we start and rushing around to get ready. Shoot, we could have pulled in January if we wanted to,” he said.

The Holmans have been pulling trucks more than 40 years. “I think ’78 was when our truck was built and run the first time. They always tell a story when we go to Arcola, Indiana, the regional over there, that that was the first modified truck they had ever seen. I can remember one guy over from that way that had a modified truck back at that time. The one we had back then “Salt Shaker,” that was about it” said Jim.

Now there was a thought at one time to add a TWD truck to the team, but that never happened. Jim says there are more than happy to stay in the class that they are in now. “We are both kind of naturally aspirated guys. We are big fans of the pro stock drag class in the NHRA. So, we have always been into the classic muscle cars. We are big block naturally aspirated guys,” he said.

The “4-Play” team has won many times at the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green and because of that success Jim says they go into the biggest pull in the world with a lot of confidence. “It gives you confidence. Even now, you go over there and you just tell yourself, you do well and this track traditionally, the truck works good on this track, don’t second guess yourself, don’t try to do something crazy to win. Just do your thing and let the truck do its thing and it usually works out pretty good,” he said.

Like the other classes in the sport the FWD trucks continue to make more horsepower and Jim says you just have to keep looking for more. “It is amazing, I can remember when we built the first engine, maybe the second engine down at Steve Schmidt’s we dynoed it and we were at 1,075 or 1,100 horse and I ask Steve, geez, do you think we will ever get to 1,200 and we rocketed past that so fast you wouldn’t believe it. We still find chunks every now and then. It seems like you couldn’t anymore. You still find ways if you keep looking,” said Jim.

Published 7/29/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


Sullivan Still Having Fun

Wayne Sullivan has not been in pulling for as long as there has been pulling, maybe, but it’s damn close. His time in the seat of a tractor dates back to the infancy of pulling and he is still on top of the pulling word today.

Sullivan claimed in title in the modified division of the Pro Pulling League Series in 2019.

Now, when he got started in the sport more than 50 years ago, he says those tractors where much different. “I was born and raised on a farm. I pulled farm tractors when I was eight, nine, 10 years old. There were some old boys out here that had “M’s” and Massey Harris’s and put six cylinder Chevrolets in them to pull wagons and haul tobacco in. I heard them say they pull them things now I guess, so I saw a tractor that had a little V-8 Chevy in it and it pulled the sled all of the way down through there like a demonstration and that was back in the 60’s and I said I have to have me one of them. I built my first one that had a small block Chevy in it and went from there on,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan says over the years your driving style has had to evolve right along with the power plants and especially the technology associated with and the kind of weight exchanger you pull today. “With the new tires you can’t hardly drive it out anymore you just have to spin the tires, spin them so hard right in the hole and try and get them going. You have to set your tractor up where you can spin them hard and still not let it get away from you on one wheel or something like that. The times are changing and to be able to say I have done it all of the way up,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “In the early sleds where different and you could feel it more then then you can now. The sled now they have them where you take off fairly easy and they let you go so fast and they throw all of the weight on the pan at once. It makes a better show for the fans because they can see how fast they can go.”

Not only did Wayne win a “PPL” title last season, but so did his grandson Brandt in the TWD division. Wayne says he gets more enjoyment out of watching his family pull, but he is going to keep getting behind the wheel too. “I get just as much enjoyment out of watching my sons and grandson pull. They put we up on the tractor. They say I am the best qualified and I say I don’t now about that. They say as long as I am healthy and don’t start screwing up too bad they are going to let me keep driving it. I would just as soon watch your kids do well and then you can stand back and tell them what they did wrong,” he said.

Published 7/15/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


Ault Grew up in Pulling

The National Tractor Pulling Championships have been going for more than 50 years now and Jim Ault has been there for almost all of them and he hopes a few more.

This year’s event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they plan to be back again next year on the third weekend of August.

Ault says he can remember going with his dad in the early days. “I can remember first seeing the “Allison Team” tractor. I stretched out my arms the whole length of the valve covers and they were huge. My dad was friends with Bob Bend and Fred Mende and the Bosses. I can remember the Bosses telling the pullers next year we are going to come out and we are going to whip all of you. That’s when the come out with their four motor tractor. I can remember that tractor being built and going down in the Bosse’s shop in Ada, Ohio, with my dad. I was just a young kid,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “The second generation if you will of our club in the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a group that went around with “Heartbreaker II” and I went with the weight exchanger to a lot of pulls. That is when tractor pulling was really gaining momentum. The guys were putting four or five engines. You had the Banters, John Heilman, Tim Engler, Bruce Hutcherson, all of them guys. I rode on the back of “Heartbreaker II” with them guys.”

Ault says when he got a little older, he was part of a group of guys that operated the sled for the Northwest Ohio Tractor Club, or blue shirts. “Our club built “Heartbreaker II” because “Heartbreaker I” wasn’t big enough to stop the tractors. They kept getting more power and they were harder to stop. The design behind “Heartbreaker II” was to pull all wight divisions, five, seven, nine, 12,000 pound and never move any weight just by shifting gears and running the box faster up the rails. As the guys started to develop more horsepower a lot of guys looked at that sled as a big, old chuck of iron that was hard to move and it took a lot of power to pull it and that is when the sleds started evolving into speed sleds,” said Ault.

As it stands right now some groups have inducted people into a hall of fame, but there is no physical structure. Ault says their aim is to change that and they have already gotten started. “We are the process of constructing a hall of fame wall in our clubhouse in Bowling Green. The family of Roger Varns has given the “Purple Monster” to our club and it’s on display in our building. That is where the “Blue Goose” is going to end up. We are trying to put together a hall of fame/museum. There needs to be something permanent and it needs to be in Bowling Green,” said Ault.

Published 7/08/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


Voreis one of the Best in Two Classes

Bill Voreis accomplished something that few can say, he was one of the best in two different classes of pulling over a sustained period of time in pro stock and unlimited modified tractors.

Voreis from Argos, Indiana, started out, like many, as a farm stock puller, but was one of the innovators in the pro stock division when it got started in the early 80’s. He says that class was competitive and fun for the fans. “We still put on the same show. If you time videos from back in 1989 with a pro stock going down the track now, same kind of time. They are making a lot more power and what not, but it is a lot more money to run right now,” he said.

Voreis admits there was certainly a rivalry between red and green guys, but it was all good natured. “The Linders are fantastic people. I ran the Ohio circuit back in ’82 and I stayed at the Linder’s house lots of times. Was there a rivalry? Sure, but did we hate each other? No. Some people say that nobody likes a winner and when you are winning a lot people get aggravated. For years and years people thought the red tractors own this and it is never going to change. Don Masterson always ran tough when the red ones were on top and then the Linders owned it for four or five years. Jerry Lagod was the one I worked with on turbos trying different wheels and stuff. I must have tried seven different turbos one summer so we could run with the Linders. Now, the John Deeres kind of own it, but Hunt runs good, there are several good running red ones. You have to have competition,” said Voreis.

The “Orient Express” had its time in the sun and then after a taking some time off, Voreis got back in the sport with what became a dominate unlimited mod in “American Thunder.” Voreis tells us how that all got started in the spring of 1998. “I wanted to get back in pulling. I took eight or nine years off to get my kids through high school and coaching them in sports and stuff and got my daughter through college. I thought I would just run the Hooiser State circuit and run the seven mod. I went down and talked to Ralph (Banter) and they had just quit in ’97. This was the spring of ’98 and I bought his old chassis. I started out it was going to be three motors. Ralph always used to joke that he knew when I got to the end because I would call him with a new idea. Ralph was an amazing man and ornery as the dickens,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “After getting around we ended up with four motors and actually won two unlimiteds that first summer in ’98 and ’99 was my first full year. When I was pulling pro stock I always watched the diesel supers and you always watched the unlimiteds because it’s a great show. All pulling is a great show, I’m not saying any class is better than the other. We all have our favorites, but when I was young, I said I would give anything to have one of them and I got the point in my life where I could have one.”

Published 7/01/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


Dick Putting “Thumper” Back on the Track

Tiffin, Ohio’s Kevin Dick has been one of the pioneers when it comes to bringing modified tractors of the past to life again, but this time the project is a little different.

He has revived the “Spirt of ‘76” and the “Little American” and pulled them in exhibition classes all over the Midwest, however, when he and veteran puller Jeff Shafer started working on the classic “Thumper” tractor, campaigned by Dan Utz in the early 1980’s, the goal was to make it a competitive machine.

They are moving in that direction.

Last week, the Northwest Ohio Tractor Pullers Club made the tough decision to cancel this season’s National Tractor Pulling Championships due to concerns over COVID-19.

Dick has quite a few memories of Bowling Green, both as a puller and fan.

He has pulled once in front of the big crowd and that as an exhibition run four years ago. “I only participated once myself in that was in 2016 when they did the legends run on Sunday. My dad had helped Gaylord Zechman and was his wrench back in the 60’s and 70’s. I have the “Spirt of ‘76”, so I have pulled at Bowling Green just that one time,” he said.

Dick clearly remembers events that took place at Bowling Green nearly 40 years ago. “In 1982 at the age of 19 with a couple of my high school friends, we had just graduated, and we decided we were going to go to the campground that year, so that looked like the “Beverly Hillbillies” going in there. That was quite a circus. I introduced them to a sport that they are still fans of almost 40 years later. We camped back there for 20 years. We still laugh at all the times we had back there,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “I think that same year, the Friday night, the 7 super stock class, there was just a bunch of carnage. Mike Smith with the “Deere Harvester” the rear tire came off and I think he jumped out of the seat. Several front ends got broken. I’m taking my buddies for the first time and they are thinking this is greatest thing ever. I didn’t want to tell them guys don’t expect this every time, this is not normal.”

When it comes to the “Thumper” project, Dick says that came about because of a conversation that he and Shafer had at Bowling Green four years ago. “It actually goes back the fiftieth at Bowling Green in 2016 at the puller’s hog roast on Tuesday night and Jeff Shafer and his wife Pam walked up behind me. We had never had a long, extended conversation. Long story short before we go through the line and got our food, we decided that the “Thumper” tractor was our favorite tractor of all time and we put it together,” said Dick.

When Utz ran the tractor, it was powered by two K.B. hemis. Dick says are currently running the “Thumper” with different engines. “It has Keith Black hemi blocks, but the class we are pulling in is basically a twin wedge engine class. I have Indy cylinder heads, which are similar to a 440 on it to comply with the rules there. There is a 36 percent overdrive on no bigger than a 871 blower,” he said.

Published 6/24/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


It Will be an Odd Season no Matter What For Feiss

2019 was very, very good or the Feiss Motorsports Team of Todd and wife Tarry. Todd won the region II SE title in the modified division and Tarry won the NW title in a tie breaker with Todd.

Between them they won 17 times last summer.

This year, however, is going to be much different for a couple of reasons.

Todd, speaking on “Full Pull Tonight” last Sunday says you certainly want to take the momentum they had last season forward, but with the COVID-19 pandemic there are a lot of questions. “We just came off probably the best year we have ever had in pulling and I think when that happens you really look forward to the next year because you think can we repeat our successes, can we do the same kinds of things this year that we did last year and with things developing the way they are everything that we do is going to have an asterisk next to it. It is going to be, this was only a half a season or a third of a season or whatever. I don’t really know how far the are going to go with it into the later part of the summer,” he said.

For Todd and Tarry their lives have been impacted a lot over the last several months by some things not connected to pulling and Todd says that has weighed heavily on their thought process when it comes to what events to attend, if any. “It is really an odd set of circumstances for Tarry and I. In our life right now, we have a lot of things going on that are outside of the pulling world that we are having to commit a lot of time to. Honestly, we have talked about not running at all this year even if they do start having events later. Rick that builds my engines is involved in a new automotive repair shop, so he is really super busy. I have been dealing with some heath issues with elderly relatives. Just things are going on in our life right now that it is almost a blessing in disguise that I didn’t have to rush around all over the place trying to go pulling. Honestly, my engines are still in a thousand pieces. We haven’t put the first one together yet. Knowing the first event was going to be pushed back into July we weren’t in as big a rush. I think we are the exception to the rule. I think most pullers are just chomping at the bit to get out there. If this were a normal year for us without so many outside distractions, we might consider going to Minnesota or Wisconsin to pull tractors. Unfortunately, I don’t think this year it is going to happen for us,” said Todd.

Todd and Tarry both knew the late Bruce Hutcherson and Todd says they new him when he wasn’t running the “hollywood” motors, as Ralph Banter would call them, but Chevys and ones without superchargers. “We used to pull antique farm tractors and we would go to events around southeast Indiana, northern Kentucky, southwest Ohio area and in the early days Bruce would pull in a lot of those events. We put on a pull in 1976 and 1977 or 1977 and 1978 at our county fair. Tarry and I kind of organized it and put the pull on and Bruce showed up. I think maybe the first time he came he actually had a twin engine tractor, but they were naturally aspirated, big block Chevys, it had a Farmall M hood on it. I have never, ever heard anyone talk about that tractor or mention that he pulled that tractor before he went to the blown motors, but if memory serves me right he did have that type of tractor at that time. We got know Bruce and we got to know Wayne (Sullivan) just from going to these local events and our event that we put on,” said Todd.

Published 6/17/20


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Richwine Learned From Legends


The pulling world lost a couple of hall of famers in last several months and Larry Richwine is proud to have know the both in Ralph Banter and Bruce Hutcherson.

Richwine says he called them both friends and he learned a lot of from both of the modified pullers. “I was very fortunate as a young kid, anxious and eager, to have met and basically worked with and be tutored by, whether if they knew they were tutoring me or not, by Dave and Ralph Banter, Dave was a great guy, but Ralph was the engineer and builder, and Hutcherson, and Wayne Sullivan, who is fine gentleman. I was very fortunate to meet those men and be friends with those men. I think that was great,” he said.

Ralph, and his brother Dave, along with a number of hired gun drivers formed one of the greatest teams of all time. Ralph passed away on February 15 at the age of 78. He didn’t drive much, hardly at all, but the was the engineer for the team and perhaps the greatest pulling innovator, at least in the first quarter of a century of the modified division.

The Banters never went with the racing engines that started to take over the sport in the late 1970’s. Richwine says Ralph had a way of making the cast iron block Chevys very competitive. “He told me everybody is putting these high dollar race motors on here. These dump truck motors if you build them good enough you don’t have to turn them hard. You just have to add another engine. A lot of the motors until the last three, four tractors were not high deck truck motors. They were just 454 or 427 (Chevy) motors,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “He would put a shorter stroke in them. I think it was the “Brown” tractor that was stair stepped that I think personally hooked better ten any tractor he ever built. He was going to turn more RPM’s to make more tire speed was his theory. He pioneered the side by side gear boxes.”

The Banter Brothers one a record 20 NTPA modified titles between 1973 and 1996. Hutcherson, who passed away March 28, he was also 78, won eight NTPA titles between 1977 and 1982, winning three titles each in 1981 and 1982, a record eclipsed by only Tim Engler in 1987.

Hutcherson and his classic “Makin’ Bacon Special” was one of the machines that turned pulling on its ear when he went from the cast iron Chevy to the Rodeck racing engines.

Richwine says Hutcherson knew where to go and he had incredible knowledge, which he was willing to share. “He was one of the very first ones to go to a Rodeck. Bruce had a big connection with D & J’s speed shop in Cincinnati. He had a good relationship with them. Bruce worked with me and I pretty much went to the Bruce Hutcherson school of clutching. He was a great guy,” he said.

Richwine is now the Director of Technical Services for the NTPA. A position that he has held for a long time. When you are in a job like that you end up making more enemies that you do friends because every time you make a decision, somebody is unhappy.

He says the flagmen have a very tough job, especially when it comes to making the call on whether a competitor is out of bounds or not. He says it’s a judgment call and there is no instant replay. “I have only overruled them a couple of times, and we are about to start my 27 th season, hopefully, but it’s a judgement call. It is not really a clear black and white, book, thing. If they touch the white line or get chalk on their tire they are disqualified,” he said.

Published 6/10/20


“Full Pull Tonight” airs live Sundays at 7 PM EDT


Holmans Tame Bowling Green Again

The team of Jim and Paul Holman and their “4-Play” FWD truck have earned more wins at the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green. Than anyone else.

Jim got another one on Friday afternoon.

Jim says there is no place like the Wood County Fairgrounds. “If you can pick a place to win that is one of the favorites because of the size of crowd and especially for us because of the kind of support we get being kind of the local guys,” he said.

Being from Wauseon, just up the road, Jim says they know the dirt and the conditions pretty well. “We have kind of a home field advantage on that one. We started pulling in Ohio on the blue clay, so that is what we know best and that is kind of where we do our best, so Bowling Green when they have a good tack like they did last week that is where we shine,” said Holman.

Reading the track in a big key in any class and Holman says those keys are different depending on the class of vehicles. “The FWD trucks and the TWD trucks our tires are narrower and smaller in diameter. We tend to like a harder, a sticky track. The big tire classes like the unlimited and mods and some of the high power super stocks they like to spin their tires, so a biting track kind of gives them trouble with 100 MPH wheel speed and the sled will only go about 30 something, so they struggle on the tight tracks and they like them looser,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “That is always the on going battle. We have always kind of pushed, okay, will all know this now why don’t you make one track one way and one track the other and we’ll all be happy, but a lot of places have to try and make a track that satisfies everybody, which is kind of tough to do.”

The FWD truck division tends to be one of the closest in all of pulling, but Friday Jim put more than 10 feet on the field. He says everything came together for him and the team at the right time. “The FWD’s it is pretty critical how you drive one of those. The first 100, 150 feet makes or breaks you, how you engage the clutch and how you bring on the power. It seems like it is only like once a year that you get all of those things to come together. Fortunately, that was my one time this year,” he said.

Published 8/23/19


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Writsel Wins Biggest Pull in the World

“Lucky Strike” has been an outstanding tractor for Ryan Writsel winning regional hook after regional hook, but its biggest win came last Saturday in the modified class at the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green.

Writsel, with three engines on his tractor, upset the field, beating points leader Bret Berg by three feet.

“There is no feeling like winning at Bowling Green. This is my fourth time to win Bowling Green. I won it three times with a TWD truck and the modified tractor. Anytime you can win it it is a surprise, at least it is to me. You do the same thing every time and try and do your best, but I always feel like I’m outclassed in the modified class because I am new. I’m not from tractor pulling. With those four engine tractors to be able to win it with a three engine tractor, that is special. It is the pinnacle of pulling,” said Writsel.

As many pullers have said over the years you have to have some luck too and Writsel says the track conditions fell in his favor on Saturday. “Something that actually helped us, and you hate to admit it, there was rain after Friday night and that got the track a little greasy, a little slimy, and the big tractors had a tough time hooking to the sled. We were the first class and everything kind of multiplied. It was kind of a three engine show because we could get enough weight on the back of them to get the front end up in the air and get through the rough stuff,” he said.

Sometimes you just know you have had a good run, but Writsel says he didn’t think he was in the lead, but the scoreboard told him different. “I didn’t think it was a fast run. It felt like a good run. When I drove off the track, I thought it was about 10 feet from Bret Berg. I watched the video and it popped it up I was three feet past him and I thought wow that is a surprise,” he told “Full Pull Tonight” on Sunday, “My dad always told me anytime you can drive off the track with the lead you have done the best you can do and how ever it works out, it works out. Robby, the boy that works with us all of time, said they are going to have to come and get that one. They were pretty confident.”

After his run, Writsel says he just watched everybody else make their pass. “The guys took the tractor back to the trailer and got it out of the way. I just went up to the puller’s stands and there weren’t very many people there and I set there with my wife and just watched the pull like we were spectators,” he said.

Writsel admits he had some butterflies in his stomach as the class came to an end, especially when Scott Tedder, the winner Friday night, came to the line. “We watched a couple of the other big tractors and they got upset. They always make great runs and you can’t count on something falling off somebody’s tractor because those guys are tough. Scott Tedder was the last one to pull. His tractor is exactly like mine other than having another engine. I knew the way my tractor stuck his was going to do the same and he was going to drive around me, a walk off home run. He just didn’t get there and I was totally floored,” said Writsel.

Published 8/22/19


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Sullivans Making High Tech Motors Work

Some say the Sullivans of Kentucky pretty much invented TWD pulling 40 years ago and one thing is for sure they are still pretty good at it with two trcuks in the thick of the “PPL” points race.

They also competed last weekend at Bowling Green at the National Tractor Pulling Championships.

Donnie Sullivan, who spoke with “Full Pull Tonight” says hard work is the key to quality pulling team. “For us there is not much work on pull night. You just have to try and hit your set up and make your best lap. We put in a lot of hours to make that 15 second pass. We have a lot of good help, a lot of good friends. My dad is retired and he just basically helps with the pulling operation. My son, myself, and several other good people, it is a tremendous amount of work to run any kind of pulling operation if you want to be successful,” he said.

The team also runs the “Kentuckian,” a modified tractor on the “PPL” circuit.

The Sullivans have been leaders in engine technology and Donnie says there are a lot of options and you can make anything work. “Most all of the engines in the modified tractors or the trucks are a hemi type engine. They are a Veney type head or a Brad Anderson or a Minor. They all have the hemi type engines. Depending on the class they have either an 871 or a 1471, some of the unlimiteds are even running screws. They are basically the same kind of engine that you will see in an alcohol funny car. We just have to tune them a little different to be able to run 12 to 15 seconds instead of five,” he told, “They make a lot of horsepower. The tuck engines will make 2,500 to 3,000 with the 14’s and tractors will make 2,000 to 2,500 with the 8’s. It’s a lot of work. You can get there with any kind of combination of engines, it is just a matter of what you like and what you are used to working on.”

Sullivan says the key to the explosion of power has been the better superchargers that have come on the market. “There are a lot of good superchargers out there. That is where all of the horsepower is coming from in the last five years. Everybody has the same sparks, magnetos and this and that. The superchargers get better every year and they get more expensive every year. You have to kind of stay in front on that and make the horsepower to try and stay competitive. We have been lucky to work with the guys from “SSI” and they have been good to us and they work with a lot of good pullers,” said Sullivan.

It is a hemi world, no question about it, and Sullivan says over the years there has been a lot of refinement in the engine. “It is still off that original concept it just people have tweaked the heads and the blocks now are all billet, the heads are billet, back in the older days they were cast and it has just gotten stronger and tougher where you can basically beat on them more and they will take a little more punishment. It is the same concept, it is just getting better parts and better technology,” he said.

Published 8/21/19


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Nichols Wins GN Title

It came down to the last two hooks of the season, at the biggest pull in the world, and Russ Nichols earned his first NTPA Grand National Title in the TWD truck division.

That broke a nine year winning streak for Petro Motorsports.

He clinched it with a second place finish at the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green on Saturday.

Nichols told “Full Pull Tonight” going into Bowling Green that they had been fortunate this season to get three wins. “We have had some really, really good runs. Sometimes the luck has just went our way. We will take that when we can get it. Hopefully we can continue to the roll here for two more hooks and we’ll be good,” said Nichols.

And he did just that.

When you have a good vehicle, Nichols says it helps to have a little luck on your side. “It helps when everything else is working and you have luck too. It goes together quite well,” he said.

Russ, of Lore City, Ohio, ended up beating Bryan McDonald of Maryland by nine points to win the championship.

When it comes to Bowling Green, Nichols says when you have more than 50 trucks in the class the blind draw that determines the order is a big factor. “It is definitely the wild card for the two wheel drive trucks. There are so many numbers and if you get the bad luck of the draw. You are on the front end of the hook and you need to be late. There are all of those other trucks in between you it can be bad. So, it is truly a wild card. Just hopefully you get the right number and the track goes your direction. That is sort of Bowling Green,” said Nichols.

Ironically, Nichols was the number one hook in the class on Saturday and only Randy Petro and “Kathy’s Komplaint” was able to get past him and “On the Edge.”

Nichols says with all of the pressure you are under, you have to make sure you have everything in order when you get to the starting line. “We go back through our notes and see what we did in those years. We look at the hook number that was there, the weights, the gears, the tire pressure, what pair of tires we had on. It does help. It is so easy to get worked up when it is your turn. You just have to stay calm and read the dirt when it is you turn. It is not always the easiest thing to do,” he said.

Published 8/20/19


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Schmuckers Part of Competitive Pro Stock Class

This year’s NTPA pro stock class is a competitive any class in pulling this summer.

It’s a cliché in sports because it is used so often, but on any night it seems anyone can win and that includes the Schmuckers from Louisville, Ohio, with Kevin winning at Chapel Hill, Tennessee, and Danny topping the list at Salem, Illinois.

Kevin says he is a fan of the balance. “It is really kind of fun this year. It is really balanced. You can’t do anything wrong. If you have the weight right and the gear and you get crooked. You have to do everything perfect because somebody is looming right there to beat you. I think we have had nine different winners this year. I think Darrin Hunt is the only one that has won more than once. Danny finally got one (Saturday) night and I got one the Saturday before. So, yeah it is a lot of fun. It is fun when it is balanced and everybody is competitive,” said Kevin.

At one time you almost had to be green if you were going to be competitive, but Kevin says he thinks strong red tractors make for a better class overall. “It is good to see. I am a John Deere guy through and through. Nobody wants to go to a pull and see 10 John Deeres and no red ones or no other colors. Darrin Hunt is really running strong this year. Tim Cain is running good. Jack Maize over on the “PPL” side is leading the points. Actually, people probably think I don’t like that, but that is not so. I hope those guys do well, it is good for our class,” he said.

With the wins the last two weeks, Kevin says they are starting to put things together here in August and that always seems to be the case with them. “I think we always do. I think we start slow. We are always trying stuff. Your goal is always to have them running strong by about now because the big week is coming, Bowling Green, that is what everybody shoots for. We feel pretty good,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We got mine to run earlier in the year and we had some bad luck, we threw a rod out of it at Maryland in tuff conditions. We got it back and it won last week. Danny’s has been giving us a lot of trouble, but I think we finally got it figured out. We were in a pull off in Salem, Illinois, and it made two of the better runs it has made in a couple of years.”

Bowling Green, the National Tractor Pulling Championships, are coming up next week and Schmucker predicts it will be a wild pro stock class this year. “It is going to be good this year because the “PPL” there are a lot of guys over there that are running really strong. We had a couple of them come to Chapel Hill and they were right in the mix. I think they were second and third and we were first and fourth. It is going to be fun. That class, I imagine there will be 30 or 40 of them. There are people that go there that don’t go anywhere else the rest of the summer. It is going to be crazy,” said Schmucker.

Published 8/07/19


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Wicked Team Learning A Lot

2019 has been an exciting summer for Doug and Renee Theobald and the “Wicked” Pulling team out of Shelbyville, Indiana.

With a new light unlimited tractor called “Full Blown Wicked” they share first place in the NTPA grand national standings, plus their two trucks, “Pretty Wicked” and “Wicked” stand in the top seven in the TWD standings.

Doug says driving and working on the tractor has been a whole new experience this summer. “It has been a new learning experience the whole year. Every run has been a little different and you try to find something else we can take to the next pass and basically try and keep the tractor happy because it certainly requires a lot of attention,” he said.

One thing that is different from the trucks is the level of maintenance required by “Full Blown Wicked” according to Doug. “The maintenance level on the tractor is significantly more than the trucks. There are a lot more things that seem to rattle loose. So, there are a lot of those kinds of things that you need to keep track of. There are different types of superchargers (Screw blowers) and that requires some different thinking to figure out what makes those work,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “The big tires are a lot different, tying to retrain your mind about what kind of spot on the track that wants compared to what a truck wants. Every little thing seems like it is different.”

Now, the last four hooks for “Full Blown Wicked” have been a second, a third, a win, and a third. Doug says that momentum leads to confidence. “I think that totally relates to confidence in the decisions you make and confidence in the driver and how you tune and set up. When you start feeling like you are on to something it just makes it easier to keep moving forward. When you are frustrated you tend to second guess yourself all of the time and it hard to get back on the good side of that,” said Theobald.

There are two hooks left in the class and both are at Bowling Green and Doug says it is going to be nerve racking, but exciting. “Like there isn’t enough pressure there already. Obviously, everybody wants to do well there. It is pretty exciting for our first year to be doing that well and to have that opportunity. It has been fun running with Keith Wayson and going back and forth with him. We will finalize it here in a couple of weeks and see how it turns out,” said Theobald.

The TWD trucks have come together too. Renee has two wins with “Pretty Wicked” which has pushed her into fourth place in the standings. Doug says there has been a learning curve there too. “We started out the year with a new chassis for her. It took a few runs to figure out what it liked and what made it happy. We have a better handle on the combination there. It has done really well the last few weeks and made a big points drive,” he said.

Published 8/07/19


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Tarry Feiss Likes Competition

If you are around Tarry Feiss much, you find out quickly that she is a competitor. The good ones always are. They hate losing more than they like winning.

Tarry, and husband Todd, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, natives, got their starting in pulling with economy mods in the Hoosier State.

Tarry says that was a good place to start. “The economy tractors is where we started and I felt like it was very fast at the time compared to my farm tractor I grew up with. The economy tractors were fun. I love the competition. The competition was really close. You never knew on any given night who was going to win. At that time it was a track reading thing. It was a weight thing, weight on the front, weight on the back and track conditions. The motors were all pretty much the same. You just put the full throttle out and at 100 feet the engine caught up with you. We did quite well and we learned to be track readers and that is crucial,” she said.

Of course, Tarry also pulled TWD trucks, but she said it was always difficult for her and Todd to figure out what the truck wanted in terms of track position. “That is one thing about the track that we just didn’t get a handle on. We were so used to reading tracks for tractors. Everybody said it is opposite of the tractor. How do figure out what the opposite is? What kind of condition is that? We just could not figure that out. I did okay in the truck. I was in the top 10 in the grand national for a year or two and that was fun, but we just could not get it consistent because we just couldn’t figure that track position. The tractors, that is what we know. We have done if for so long it is ingrained in us with what the track should look like,” said Tarry.

Everybody has favorite events and there are lots of different reasons. Yes, success is one of them, but Tarry says not the only one. “It is funny the things that important when you pull tractors. May favorite places are places that we can plug in, we might have running water, the food is great. Those kinds of things are what comes to my mind at first because it makes life easier as a puller if those things are happening. Of course, the tracks that you do well at are your favorites. The tracks that you don’t do any good at are your least favorites. There are a couple of guys that work on the tracks, for instance Jim Miller. When Jim Miller has worked on a track it turns into a track and we can make that work,” she told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “Urbana last year was our kind of track. It was tacky, it was great. We were ready to go and had a power outage and we were crushed, because we knew that that track was going to be amazing. Ionia, Michigan is an awesome track for the tractors. Hudsonville, Michigan is a good track. Wilmington for us almost always has a good track.”

Like husbands and wives, the Feiss team has their arguments about what to do. Tarry says communication is key when it comes to making the right decisions. “Todd and I have radios. We have headset radios and radios in our helmets. We really don’t talk to each other a lot except when we are getting ready to go and he says to me, well I put three weights on the front of mine, how many to do you want on the front of yours? I’m going to go down the left side or the right side, what do you think? We will argue about that a little bit. At Marysville (Saturday) night we argued about weights. He is used to his old “Sno Framer” Tractor, which was a different set up and with this tractor he just will not take enough weight off the front. It needs to get up in the air more and he is learning that, but it takes him almost the whole season to figure that out. He went off the track Saturday night and he said take a weight off and I said are you sure you don’t want to take two off?,” said Feiss.

They pull in same class, but Tarry is bot going let Todd get away with anything. “I like to give a run for his money. I like it when we are in a pull off, so I can say let’s split it?,” she chuckled.

Published 7/29/19


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Conny and His Team Working Hard, Reaping the Benefits

The MAC Daddy tractors owned and co-driven by Mike Conny currently stand one and three in the NTPA grand national point standings in the pro stock tractor division.

“MAC Daddy” and “MAC Nasty” both have two wins since a rough start and Conny says they are putting things together. “It has been a good season. The first hook of the year at in North Carolina we got a little bad luck. We got a rough call on us that put us out of bounds. Both tractors came out of North Carolina in last place in the points. Since then we have really worked hard and now we are running one and three in points. We have had a little luck and a good maintenance program by Carlton Cope and the team here and we are back in the game. We have 10 or 11 hooks left. If we have a little luck, I think we will be alright,” said Conny.

He says you do need some luck, but you can be a lot luckier if you work hard at what you do. “The other night in Kentucky we had a pretty good draw there. We were second hook and we had some really good tractors running behind us at the end of the class that just couldn’t get out and reach us. Those guys are not usually not 15 feet behind us. You got to have a little luck when you draw the numbers,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “Also, there are some things that can break on your tractor that has nothing to do with the maintenance program, such as cams and stuff like that that can snap on you. If you don’t have a good maintenance program and keep your nose the grindstone and work really hard you will never have an opportunity to win. I will say that.”

Carlton Cope has been a longtime pro stock competitor and Conny says he has been very important to their team this summer. “We tried to it ourselves with some neighbors last year and we struggled. You have to be around that pro stock stuff when you are pushing the kind of power that we do it takes and experienced person. Without a doubt we are in the game this year because we have a good team. Carlton is leading the charge. It takes someone with a lot of experience in this game,” he said.

The “MAC Daddy” tractors are John Deeres and there was a time when you almost had to be green to win, but Conny says that is no longer the case. “Hunt and Tim Cain they can win any night. They have done a really good job, Tim Cain especially. He struggled there for three years or so, but he has got his International running really well. The red tractors are back in the game. They have learned over time. I think we had a little head start with them with these big block John Deeres. Bowling Green will be interesting. There will be some red ones and green ones and it will be anyone’s game out there,” said Conny.

Published 7/29/19


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Writsel Settling in

Ryan Writsel and “Lucky Strike” are the defending champions in the NTPA Region II modified class, but this season has gotten off to a late start. Still “Lucky Strike” is a contender every time its on the track.

It was a very wet spring in Ohio, but Writsel says defending that points title was really not a goal from the beginning. “Our main occupation is as a grain farmer in Central Ohio. It just turned out that we didn’t start planting until May 24 and that tricked down to June 6. I didn’t have the tractor together then. My kids were playing ball. Just a lot of stuff going on. I actually intended not to run a full points circuit. The decision to do that and everything multiplied it just wasn’t time. We have to take care of the home front first,” he said.

Writsel says they had to make some adjustments right away with the tractor, but they have been able to do it. “The very first night we put a new set of tires on. We put on two new G4SSI-Superchargers and we were just way off that night. Our tires didn’t work for us and we just didn’t run good. We were test hook that night and dropped and made two runs that night. We went home and we changed the tires back to our original set and got our fuel right,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We ended up getting the job done one night. We are kind right where we left off. We are doing good. That first one was tough, but we are doing okay now.”

Writsel picked up wins last week in Washington Court House, Ohio, and Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

Speaking of it being wet this spring and summer, Writsel says that can help it being a better pulling track and he says pullers have to be aware of that too. “It changes the tracks because natural water in the ground and in the tracks is a good thing. It is not something our tracks officials have to push into the ground in a matter of a day or a couple of days to get it right. In theory it should make the tracks a little better because it just kind of more natural. This year has kind of been that way. We just have to compensate for it,” he said.

Writsel spent a lot of years pulling FWD trucks and TWD trucks. He says the current “Lucky Strike” likes different things in tracks that the trucks. “When we had both trucks we wanted the track to be a little more firm, not like concrete, but you want it hard, that way you don’t spin a tire, it just takes off. With the modified tractor you have such wide bar, a 30 inch wide tire, so you have five feet of tire. If you go to a pull and the sled going back to the starting line is sinking in a half inch to an inch that is going to be a really awesome tractor track. It gets a hold of it better for some reason. We are looking for it to be a little softer, not soft, a little more forgiving track,” said Writsel.

Published 7/22/19


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“Triple ByPass” Showing the Way This Year

Colin and Jody Ross have been stomping on the field in NTPA diesel super stock class this season, in fact they have been unbeatable, except for Mother Nature.

Colin says the work they did in the off season has been a big difference for them this summer. “Yeah, we are really excited. The tractor has been preforming great. It looks like all of that work we did on the dyno in the off season is really paying off and everything is firing on all cylinders right now, so we are definitely happy with the performance of the tractor and just how everything has been unfolding so far. Hopefully we can keep that momentum rolling into August here and see how it goes from there,” he said.

Ross has talked highly of the work they did on the dyno this past off season and he believes that has led to better durability for “Triple ByPass.” “I just think the durability side of things. I don’t think it’s really hard to make good horsepower, but it is extremely hard to make good horsepower and make laps with it. That was kind of the biggest issue we had just getting some durability out of our program and stuff like that,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We really focused on that this winter and try and fix all of those little gremlins that has caused us a win here or there. Just fine tuning everything that way you are not going to the track making three, four or five runs before you finally get it to run the way to run with the water and stuff like that.”

Colin and his dad are seven for seven this season in the class, including a win on Friday night in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, with must of the major competitors on hand. “These pulls here later in the year we want to do good because we are closer to home. Down at Chapel Hill on Friday night, I wasn’t really nervous because I kind of knew what to expect. I knew what it was going to do. We had a really good idea of what to expect temperature wise and pressure wise on the motors. When you have that kind of confidence in your equipment you have so much more confidence in yourself. I really like where we are at this year,” said Ross.

Their lead in the point standings is just 16 over Kent Payne and Colin knows that this race if far from over with nine hooks to go beginning this weekend in Ft. Recovery. “There are so many tough tractors in this game. You have to stay on your toes. They are always trying to tweak and do better and we always are too. Our mindset is to do the best we can and when we pull off the track that is the best and let the cards fall where they may,” he said.

Published 7/22/19


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Hothem Doing Well and Having a Good Time Doing it

Jeff Hothem loves pulling and it shows in everything he does.

He is one of the very best when it comes to interacting with fans and getting involved in promoting the sport. Check out their site at

Like everyone else, he and his “Fully Loaded” alcohol super stock have had problems getting on the track due to the wet weather. “We are almost at the halfway mark and we have pulled three times. Until this past weekend Mother Nature was four for five on winning pulls. We got rained out at Ft. Recovery, which is a two day event on the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, and we got rained out up at Michigan. We were able to pull once in Wilmington, and we were able to do very, very well there. Ended third in the points overall at Wilmington. We did go down to Benson, North Carolina and got rained out on Friday, but where able to pull Saturday. We have been trying to do a little here and there, but it really doesn’t feel like pulling season yet because we haven’t done anything,” said Hothem.

He says when you put a lot of work in the off season it is frustrating when you can’t get hooked the sled and he knows it is frustrating for the fans too. “It’s just a disappointment because we work all off season trying to improve and better everything. Spend a lot of time doing this and that with the dyno and putting money into parts and getting parts into the tractors. We want to go out and put on a good show for the fans and when you get rained out it is just a bummer,” he said.

When it come to the “Fully Loaded” tractor he says they are creating a lot of horsepower and when you do that is creates stress on parts, so he says you have to make sure you are taking care of it. “The block we are using now for the “Fully Loaded” machine is a 466 John Deere block. Out of the factory that would be 135, 140 horsepower. We are putting out 4,500 now. The stock RPM was like 2,580 and we are pushing 5,000, 5,500, 6,400 RPMs. We have doubled and sometimes tripled what the stock mechanisms where designed for. There is not a whole lot of stock in our tractor except for the block and that has been fabricated, so that is technically not stock and that was the only thing left that was stock on the tractor. It is quite a different game than it was in the day. That is why you have to watch how many passes you put on it because you are going to hurt a lot of stuff,” said Hothem.

He feels to is very important to promote the sport and he does what he can to bring more people to events and especially new fans. “We have got to get the sport out there. I try to do everything I can to promote the sport in the most positive light and not just for the attendees, but for those that don’t attend. We are very active in social media. We try to get out there. There are other motorsports in the world that you can go too. They charge anywhere from $50 to $75 to $125 depending on what seats you get. That attendance is starting to dwindle away a little bit and I think now is our chance to promote the sport of truck and tractor pulling,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We can get adults anywhere from $20 to $25 at most events, sometimes as high as $40. Kids tickets are usually cheaper. It is much more economical and probably just as much fun for a family to come and to watch our sport. We give freebees away. We have keychains and ball caps and Blaster t-shirts that we give away. I enjoy signing stuff of the kids. It’s a lot fun.”

Published 7/17/19


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Martins With Good Weekend in Hagerstown

Tractors with the Martin team out of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania enjoyed a pretty good finish at an NTPA Grand National event in Hagerstown, Maryland on Saturday night.

They finished one, two.

John Martin feels the team has put together a pretty good start to the season this summer. “This is the first year in a while that we have run the grand national circuit with two of the tractors. We had a third place finish up at Hutchinson, Minnesota and some pretty decent finishes at Tomah and Benson. I think we have had a pretty good start to the season,” said Martin.

Josh cut his teeth in pulling pretty much. He says he got started with 30 series, two cylinder, John Deeres. “Started pulling tractors 27 years ago. I was 10 years old when I started. I have a brother that is 10 years older than me, he is Robert Jr. He started pulling antique tractors and then I got into it. Dad got into it some and then we just started moving our way up through,” he said.

Typically, the pro stock class is one of the most competitive in pulling. “Our class has gotten very, very close. If you mess up one little thing you are falling back. You need to be on top of your game every night with everything. If not, somebody is going to be driving right by you,” he said.

Martin says you can learn about a track by watching others, but in most cases what you know about how your tractor reacts will suit you best. “We try to watch a little bit of where people place the sled, but sometimes doing you own thing is a little better. We keep record of every pull. Where we have the weights, what gear we go in, tire pressure, everything,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We look at the track and compare it to a place we have already been, look back at our book, and what we did at that place. If it is a place we have been going for years, we will look back the year before and that really helps us a lot.”

Published 7/17/19


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Cope Helping Out Mac Daddy Team

Carlton Cope has had his share of success with pro stock tractors over the years and now he is helping with the “MAC Daddy” team of owner Mike Conny and his daughter Julia Ray.

Cope said that Mike ask for his assistance in setting up his tractors and things kind of took off from there. “Mike Conny came to me and wanted me to work in his tractors, on the engines, and kind of get him them on target. When they can’t go, I guess I signed up to drive a little bit too. When him or Julia (Ray) can’t come along,” he said.

Cope also pulled Robbie Lemke’s “New Generation Plus” last weekend in Hagerstown, Maryland. Cope says one you have been on one of these pros you know how to react. “Probably the biggest thing to know where the switches are and make sure your belts and everything are right. Once you bring them up there, they are all kind of the same. If you have done it long enough, you know what it is telling you,” he said.

When it comes to the engines, Cope says Conny bought some new parts and they went to work on putting things together. He says they were prepared when the season started last month. “Mike had purchased a dyno and bought some new parts and built four fresh engines. Put them across the dyno and make sure everything is right. We are more prepared, maybe, than we were in the past. Trying to keep everything the same, all of the engines, and it has worked out pretty well so far. There is still a lot of work too,” said Cope.

The two tractors currently set in second and fifth place in the NTPA grand national point standings. Each has a win this season.

When it comes to the dyno, Cope says there are some positives and negative when it comes to putting and an engine on one. “There are definitely two sides of the coin. They are hard on an engine because they are under load. There is no slippage, you are direct to the crankshaft. But you can learn so much on them and save so much on them too,” Cope told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We are one on there a couple of weeks ago and had a water leak on the water injection. We saw it right away on the dyno. If that engine would have been in a tractor and you pulled it, you would not have seen that water leak and probably burned the engine up. So, it saves a lot too.”

Published 7/17/19


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Feiss Team Doing Some Good Things

The season is young and there have been some challenges, but the summer is off to a pretty good start for the Feiss Motorsports team, concentrating mostly on the NTPA region II level.

Todd Feiss says his tractor, the “Sno Farmer” has laid down some good runs, while the “Feisty Farmer,” driven by his wife Tarry, has had some issues that they hope they have solved. “The Sno Farmer” has been really consistent and making good passes. We really didn’t change much on it over the winter. Just kind of left things the way they were. Towards the end of last season, we had it working pretty good. That tractor has a lot of good parts on it and it seems to go straight down the track. I have won several events already this year. Had one bad outing, I just picked a bad spot on the track the second night at Arcola. If the driver doesn’t make a mistake the tractor has been working pretty good. Tarry’s tractor on the other hand, we have been having “mag” issues and ignition issues. We are getting it sorted out. Her tractor did better than my tractor did last year on the whole season,” said Feiss.

The two tractors were built with the light unlimited class in mind, but they don’t run those classes much anymore. Feiss says to run in the modified class they did have to make some changes. “I think the critical element is where you add the weight and how you add it. I am at the age where I don’t like throwing around 100 pound weights, so I made a bunch of 300 pound led weights and I use a machine to set them on and off. You can’t just stick them anywhere, so we made special brackets to hold them in different places on the tractor. Gear changes and the weight changes are the main thing,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “Tarry’s tractor is set up where we are running a direct gear right now in the 7,500 mod. If we run the grand national mod with three motors we will have to put a gearbox in there and speed up the gear ratio. My tractor on the other hand we run a gearbox in it in the regional mod with two motors. We will take that gearbox and turn it around to overdrive it rather than underdrive it.”

The frame for the “Feisty Farmer” was originally with Bill Vories and the “American Thunder” tractor and Feiss says they had to stiffen the chassis a little for light unlimited class.

Yes, it is about horsepower, but there are a lot of other elements such as the chassis, and Feiss says tires are big deal too. “We are at a crossroads right now personally with tires. There are some tires out there that seem to be working better than what we are running. We are running the Firestone 2000’s and they have been working really well. Now there are some guys that are running the Mitas tire, especially in the “PPL” mod tractors. Some good friends of ours switched from the Firestones to the Mitas and they gained 10 to 15 feet on a pass. I am a little worried because one of our main competitors, Ryan Whitsel, just put a set of Mitas on his tractor. He hasn’t run with us yet, but I am very curious to see what happens with that. It is not in my budget right now to buy four brand new tires, but we will see how it works out,” said Feiss.

Fiess says they are going to concentrate on running the region circuit and try to not miss any hooks. He says they will be at the National Tractor Pulling Championships. “I am sure we are going to go to Bowling Green. Really not set on what class we are going to run. If we had our top motors running, we might run the mod class, but I think we will end up running the light unlimited there. We might run another one here of there, but right now it looks like Bowling Green will be the main one we hit,” he said.

Published 7/09/19


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Rule Change in Affect for NTPA Light Pro Class

The season started with a win for Tom Shafer and the “The Boss” light pro stock tractor on Friday might at Marion, Ohio.

He says there is always some nervousness with that fist hook. “It is nice to start the beginning of the year with a win, especially after the long off season of trying to get everything figured out and dialed in. Some of the rain storms and some of the pulls got cancelled. We had a pretty decent crowd show up as far as tractors. Anytime you come out on top in this class you are doing something right,” he said.

Shafer has been pulling his red one for a while now and he says he isn’t afraid to gamble a little when it comes to placement of the sled. “I have seen some tracks where everybody is going on the left side and I see a curve where the roller and the blade tractors have gone over if so many times and there may be a little hill and that is enough. If you go over that the wrong way you are done. You are going to start bouncing. Your back tires might start wobbling a little bit and you aren’t going to go very far. I go with my instincts,” he said.

In the last couple of years, the NTPA has started to divide region II into geographic regions and Shafer says that’s a good thing. “In 2012 there were only 16, 18 hooks that year. Then in the 2013 season there were 33 hooks and ’14 there were 32 hooks and ’15 there were 33 hooks. Those three years we went to almost everyone of them. We finally started slowing down there in ’16 when we realized it was a long schedule to hit all of those. There are more hooks for us than anybody else in the whole pulling organization. When they split it, we decided that was perfect for us. We are on what they consider the east side. We plan on hitting every one of them that is on the east side,” said Shafer.

There is a little controversy when it comes to the light pro stock class and Shafer says it all revolves around turbo size and should there be limits. “Last year, in the winter, the NTPA sent out a letter to the guys that are the executive guys for the light pro class and basically said they wanted us to come up with a turbo limit or they were going to do it themselves because they had heard that the tractors up in Wisconsin were making these great big horsepower numbers and they were scared the class was going to get out of hand. About 20 years ago they wanted to do that same thing to the pro stock class and when they finally did it they had so much feedback they dropped it and they regret that decision. They were trying to keep our class from going that far. It could happen that you build yourself right out of the class with so much horsepower and you are going to tear it up and you are not going to be able to pull,” said Shafer.

He says, in his opinion, they had to do something as far as limits, or the NTPA was going to do it for them. “They gave us all summer to talk about what we wanted and we went to the Enderle meeting and a few heated discussions about it because a lot of guys didn’t want it, but a few more guys apparently did want it. The last day to submit the rule, the NTPA had not put in their number. Me and Mike Palmer decided we were going to put it what we had all pretty much agreed on. The NTPA never said anything about putting a turbo limit on there. Some of the older guys are mad because they say if we wouldn’t have done anything they would have done nothing,” he told Full Pull Tonight Sunday night, “I was getting some inside information that they wanted to limit the intake wheel and that is where your horsepower comes from on the new turbos that they are coming out with today. They already have a super farm class and they already have a limited pro class and we didn’t want to be regulated on that intake wheel like they were. So, we went with the exhaust side, a 4.5 limit, that is what we submitted, and that is what they passed. There are a few guys not very happy about it and a few of them aren’t pulling the NTPA because of it. We have to get through this year to see how it ends up, but there might be another rule change coming up this fall to eliminate it.”

Published 7/09/19


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Payne Concerned About the Future of his Class

Tractors in the GALOT pulling stable have dominated action in the NTPA’s open super stock class, but there really hasn’t been a whole lot to dominate and that is concerning.

There are only six hooks in the class with two left at Bowling Green.

Brent Payne says there has been a lack of vehicles and limited opportunities. “It has kind taken off a little slower than we like. The tractors are running good and drivers are doing well, but just the lack of vehicles participating in our class and the farm world being a little upside down with the weather too. It has not taken off quite as quickly as it did in the past,” he said.

There are some that are competing with the “NTPA” and others with the “PPL” and Payne says right now that isn’t working. “There are a lot of reasons, expense, two circuits with a limited number of vehicles. Two different places at one time, that is the biggest thing. There are enough tractors, but they eventually need to get together in one side and support one side together. There is some talk along those lines, but no agreeance yet, but we will get there,” said Payne.

Payne has been around pulling a number of years and he questions some of the decisions made by the “NTPA” that has affect the open super stock division. “They decided to eliminate the use of four wheel drive V-8 engines in the super stock class. The alcohol class was the only one allowed to use them. For whatever reason several years ago they opened it up for that. Was it a mistake then? Absolutely. At this point I believe they should have left things alone because we need the support. They have got their reasons,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “Maybe their reason is more guys will come back out if they are not fighting against those bigger machines. I think there are a lot more factors involved right now keeping them away, money and purse and stability in the schedule. We don’t see them coming back out. There are some rule changes, but for the better or worse I’m not sure yet.”

Payne says his shop in southwest Ohio has some other projects that they are working on, including a mini they want to put on the track. “We have in the works right now a new light super stock. We have been working with for a year now and full real comfortable with that. We ran it a couple of times last year in one chassis. We just need more front end weight, more movable weight for that setup. We have a mini rod project we are working on right now and it should be completed in the next two or three weeks. So, hopefully we are getting on the track here real soon. It is going to be as different as a mini can be and still have a V-8 and sparkplugs,” said Payne.

Published 7/02/19


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Nostalgia Big in Pulling

The National Tractor Pulling Legends is keeping pulling from yesteryear alive and on the track.

Kevin Dick, one of the founding members of the group, says they pull tractors that were around during the very beginning of sanctioned pulling and they look like they did then. “Most of our tractors pulled in the 60’s and 70’s. Most of them are original. Some of them have been restored and had to get updated pieces and parts. They are 1980 and older. Most of them pulled in Ohio with the NTPA. There are some iconic vehicles that won at Louisville, Bowling Green and the Indy Super Pull and the like back in the day. We restored these have a little series 10,12, 15 of us and do exhibition pulls. A lot of people come up to us and share their memories,” said Dick.

In the pits before an event, Dick says there are a lot of stories flying from people that were around when these tractors competed or wish they were. “It’s a lot of fun going around and hearing the stories. Most of the are 45, 50 years old and up or pullers in their 70’s and say I remember competing against this tractor. I remember seeing that at the Ohio State Fair or Ft. Recovery or Indy Super Pull or Bowling Green or wherever. People that I would have never met or never had the opportunity to speak with come up and we have similar memories about similar events and it is kind of fun to relive those,” he said.

Dick pulls a tractor built by Gaylord Zechman and he also has brought the Wilson’s “Little American” back to the fans. Earlier this summer they got Dennis Wilson back on the track. “We got him back in the seat at Ada, Ohio, on June 7 for his first hook in think since 1983 or ’84, he wasn’t 100 percent sure when his last hook had been. He did a pretty good job. Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is wrong. We got him down the track in pretty good shape and Dennis would probably get a little upset with me, but I think he had a little sparkle in his eye after that run,” said Dick.

Dennis expected to be at the controls on Wednesday evening during a show in Wapakoneta, Ohio. The “NTPL” also has the Lloyd McVey’s original “Super Banana” and the Bosse brothers four engine Ford.

Dick says when it comes to the “Little American” it has been a labor of love. “We found it over in Indiana. It was actually still competing in the Indiana Pulling League. They have a big block fuel injected class over there, but you have to have a tractor rear end and it has a Cockshutt. I guy by the name of Tony Roush had it and I was able to pry it away from him because he wanted to go to a tube frame,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “Back in the day in had a Ford SOHC engine in it, which is similar to a Ford hemi. Number one they are extremely hard to find and number two they are extremely expensive if you do find them. I ran it two years with a 604 cubic inch, fuel injected Ford in it and then last year I found another Chrysler hemi and it looks similar to way it did in the past.”

Published 7/02/19


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Some Changes for Berg

2019 is a year of change for veteran puller Bret Berg of Farmington, Minnesota.

He has a brand new chassis and he is gong to concentrate this season on running the Pro Pulling League circuit.

Berg says some things that took place last summer convinced him that he needed to a new chassis for the “Money Maker.” “Last year at Tomah, right at this time, we had a pretty severe rear end failure that actually broke a couple of the tubes in the chassis, twisted the rear end out of the chassis. We had a two week span, one weekend off last year, between Tomah and Rockwell and during that time frame we ended up putting rods in five motors because we had over reved it and putting a new rear end together, basically cutting the chassis in half. We went back down to the good boys at Modern Machine in Van Buren, Indiana, and they helped us out getting the chassis spliced back together and ran that tractor the rest of last summer and had very good results with it. With that being said, the old rear end we had in it was becoming harder and harder to find parts for and we wanted to try a new rear end. So, we kind of let it be known out chassis was for sale,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We went out and won the Enderle at the end of last year and I think we had six or seven wins across the season. Craig and Ashley Corzine bought the chassis and that is their new light unlimited tractor. We put a new one together and went to Louisville. We stiffened that chassis a little bit. We are going to go run the “PPL” stuff this summer. They are a little bit heavier weight class and unlimited overdrive on the supercharger.”

Berg did travel to Tomah, Wisconsin for am NTPA event last weekend and he won on Saturday with a new set of tires. “We had a new set of Pro Puller tires on this weekend that we were excited to try. Friday night, I was okay with them, but not impressed. Obviously, Saturday we won with them on. Changed some air pressure in them and the tires really seemed to come to life. The tractor laid down a pretty good pass with the first hook in the class. I think that helped us some too,” he said.

Of course, the Pro Pulling League pulls at different sites than does the NTPA and Berg says that will be a learning process for him and his team. “Some of the places I have been to years ago. All of the places on their schedule I haven’t been to in the last 10 years. Transfer machines have changed a lot, the tractors have changed a lot, we are on a different tire now, so we are going to have to go in our notes and look at tracks we think are similar and try and compute a setup that will work in that situation,” he said.

When it comes to running the “PPL” circuit, Berg says he was looking for a new challenge. “I just feel at this point it was one of the things on my bucket list that I wanted to go over and try that circuit for a year or two and run against some different guys and go to some different places. I always say if you want to be the best you have to run against the best. Obviously, there are very good tractors on both circuits. I just wanted to get out of the fishbowl we were in and try something a little different. The guys on the “PPL” run really, really hard and we are going to take a crack at them and see if we can run with them,” said Berg.

We want to thank Bret Berg and his family for helping to support “Full Pull Tonight” each Sunday.

Published 6/24/19


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Big Weekend Puts “Foster Child” in FWD Race

With a win on Thursday night and a top 10 finish on Saturday, Carmen Foster and “Foster Child” set in second place in the NTPA FWD truck point standings, just a point out of first.

Carmen is in her fifth year as a driver and she says she is becoming better at understanding how to drive the powerful trucks with the four little tires. “When I first started that was my biggest thing, I had no idea what I was trying to do and no idea what I was looking for and then about my second season I finally got the hang of it,” she told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “Now, every time I don’t do so good I think that didn’t feel the way it should have. It is definitely all in the feel of the seat.”

Foster adds that coming out of the hole is a big key when it comes to your finishing distance at the other end of the track. “It is always difficult because you can’t go too fast and you can’t go too slow, sometimes it will bounce. There is just a lot that goes into it,” she says.

With so many trucks at a pull like Tomah, Foster says the two runs they were able to put together were outstanding. “It was a great weekend and everything is still together, so that is a plus. We are just looking forward to the next pull,” she said.

Carmen, and her dad Rob, have always been FWD pullers, but she admits there are some thoughts about some other ventures. “Dad and I have always wanted a mod, but we fight to get in the driver’s seat and dad doesn’t want two of them, so I think we are just going to stick to FWDs for now,” said Foster.

Published 6/24/19


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Ross Ready For Tomah

Colin Ross and his dad Jody finished second in the season long point standings in the diesel super stock class last season with the NTPA after winning the title in both 2016 and 2017. They want it back.

It all starts this weekend in Tomah, Wisconsin… weather permitting.

Colin Ross told “Full Pull Tonight” on Sunday they have done a lot of work to get “Triple Bypass” ready to go. “We spent a lot of time on the dyno after Louisville. We made like 21 or 22 dyno runs trying to get everything done we wanted to achieve. I think we have everything, so we will see how it works Friday and Saturday night up in Wisconsin,” he said.

When it comes to the dyno, some teams say they don’t put much stock in it, but Ross says for them it has been a very effective tool. “We try to simulate what it is going to do on the track. We find a lot of issues that will occur on the track. We have solved a lot of those issues. Just trying to see where we are at. It’s a horsepower sport. You always want more horsepower. It is always your friend nine times out of 10. Also, what we have been getting into a lot is just trying to have some durability with it. You have to be consistent, you have to make laps, you have to make the pull offs and all of that,” he told, “So, we really try and find durability with our set up. How can we make the horsepower number we want, but also make it live and not have to work on it every night. It gives you a lot of an indication of where you stand. It is a pretty neat tool. It is not enjoyable going to the dyno, it’s stressful, it’s a lot of work, but in the end when you get a win or something like that it sure does make it all worth it.”

When it comes to making decisions about weighting and placement of the weight exchanger, Ross they like to make up their own minds on what do because it’s about them. “Our classmates all have the same chassis. Us, Blagraves, Travis, Lock and Load even Kent Payne has a pretty similar chassis. It’s an Engler chassis and all of them are relatively the same. You can kind of get and idea on a guy’s front end weight. Honestly we don’t like to do that anymore because I think it screws you up. People can hang weight boxes under there that has 300 pounds in it and you don’t know that. It might have 300 pounds or they might have taken it out. There is a lot of games that could be played there. We don’t like to focus on that because I just think it gets us out in leftfield. We like to weight our own tractor and just look at our own stuff and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing,” said Ross.

He says every time they head for an event their goal is to win, but the ultimate goal is to be on top at the end. “Every time we leave Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, we go to win and that’s our mindset. That’s what we want to do, but there are also times that you have to think and play scenarios in your head. We were the last hook in the class, we just made the pull off, there are only two tractors, this is the first night of a two day event. Do I really need to run it again? This motor is hot, is that one point really worth it? When you get into later August that’s different,” he said.

Published 6/17/19


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Veteran Puller Eder Having a Good Time

When Joe Eder starting pulling there was no internet and the only way to find out what happened was to attend an event or wait a couple of months. Now, the pulling world is a whole lot different, but Eder still enjoys what he does.

Eder now competes in the mini and the unlimited modified divisions with his “Polar Air” tractors out of western New York state.

He says he likes where he is at right now. “I have been at it a long time. This will be our 31 st year of pulling. Started out many years ago with an econo mod. Just kept working our way up through. Went to grand national and wouldn’t go back anywhere else. I just love it out on the road and being with all my good competitors, how strong they are and how good they make me,” he said.

The unlimited class is very competitive now and Eder says all of these guys are good. “We have been at it a long time. We have seen a lot of things come and go. We are not winning as much as we used to years ago. One thing the competition is tougher. We have a lot of good money in the sport now. A lot of guys coming to the sport bringing pretty big billfolds. I am corporate sponsored with “Polar Air” and they help a lot, but boy takes a lot of money and just a lot of work to get one of these things down the track week after week. That has changed the sport tremendously, but it has made it very competitive. It is awesome for the fans to see such a competitive class when you can take 10-12 tractors and put them down there eight, 12 feet of each other with different combinations. That’s what make our class so awesome and so competitive,” said Eder.

Eder says you have to run your stuff pretty hard if you expect to be near the top of the list when the class is over. He says he has been pulling a long time, but he is still learning. “You have to run them hard, but you like to get away from the multiple runs. I really respect Johnathan Mears and Larry Richwine. What a hard job to get them guys to hit the sled right Vaughn Bauer and Richard Love, those guys, that is the hardest job in the whole pulling is to set that sled and put us at a 330, 328. I like to make a good 330 foot run and the farthest guy wins. That’s they way I like to do it,” he told “Full Pull Tonight” on Sunday, “Multiple runs, especially mini rods, it seems now we are struggling to keep tires together. We have a new tire here that we are working with now. I crashed in Benson, North Carolina. It is the first crash I have taken in a long time that it actually hurt. It is one of those deals where we are learning. It’s a good tire, it weighs more and hooks up better. We are going to have to learn that system and try and be safe.”

When it comes to the mini, Eder says it another chance to get on the track. “A lot of guys goof around and say it makes a good engine stand on wheels. If they break the big tractor, they can pull the motor out of that quick, but it seems with our circuit we can go out and have two hooks and the mini rods and the unlimiteds seem like they follow each other quite a bit. In my case it is probably more than I can handle, but I enjoy it. We have been pulling for so long I just feel like we have accomplished a lot. We are just excited to be out there and make our sponsors proud. We don’t have to win every time. We keep the guys honest and get down the track,” said Eder.

Published 6/17/19


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Theobald and New Full-Blown Wicked off to Quick Start

The freshman season for Doug Theobald and the new “Full-Blown Wicked” couldn’t have gotten started much better with a win in the opening light unlimited class in North Carolina.

The class was supposed to have four hooks in the first two weeks of the season, but three have been rained out.

Theobald beat R.J. Simon in a pull off to win a class in Benson, North Carolina.

Theobald says things couldn’t have gone better. “I don’t know if we could have scripted that any better. Going out the first time there are a lot of things that you are kind of unsure about. You hope that all of your planning and work is going to do everything you hope it is going to do. It couldn’t have worked any better,” said Theobald.

The tractor was tested twice and Doug says it was up to the task both times. “It was virtually back to back passes. We were next to last hook. R.J. (Simon) got out and joined us in the pull off. So, we came right back and basically just fueled the thing up and went out an hoped for the best. The second pass was as good if not better that the first one. Could asked for anything better really,” he said.

Theobald says “Full-Blown Wicked” has been in the minds of the team for a while and it takes a while to put things together. “For actually doing it, it has been about a year and a half process. I have always wanted to have a mod tractor. My dad started out with a tractor and ran the 5,000 pound class. That is where I really got hooked on the sport. When the light unlimited came back that seemed like a place maybe we could have a fit,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “Over the course of the years we have kind of been talking about it and a few things came about to make it conceivable. For the last year and a half we have gathered parts. Then Modern Machine redid a chassis that we had bought from Keith and Ricky Long. Basically, we started that process an different things came about that let us put it all together.”

There are opportunities to run the tractor in other classes other than the light unlimited and Theobald says that is a possibility. “We have some things put together that we can probably try that at some point. I think for the time being we are going to try and focus on this tractor for this class and not try to overwhelm ourselves as far as trying to do too much. Obviously, still running the two trucks and running the tractor is a fairly large undertaking in itself. It is a possibility,” said Theobald.

Of course, Doug’s wife Renee has been a very successful TWD competitor and Doug says don’t be surprised to see her in the seat of the tractor too. “That is definitely the plan at some point. It just depends on how much we get done. Our plan was the get it set up where to maybe run the tractor on the region hooks in the mod class. It takes different superchargers. If we can get things put together to do that she will probably drive. She definitely wants to drive. I don’t think that is going to be an issue to convince her,” he said.

Published 6/10/19


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Nichols Gets Win in Opener

Ohio’s Russ Nichols began the long TWD NTPA Grand National season with a win in North Carolina and he says he is continuing to learn what he needs to do to be successful.

Nichols says “On the Edge” won the class and she stayed healthy. “We did do some minor changes over the winter there and they seemed to work really good. We are chasing a tune-up a little bit, we are getting that pretty close now. We have about four runs on it now,” he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, “We went to Benson there for three years and we came out of there the three previous years broke on the first night. So, we were really, really excited to get out of there not broke and win.”

He says they had learned their lessons from past experience and were able to put them to good use. “We were breaking the same part. We now know after so many runs that, hey, we have to change that part. Once it happened there a couple of times, we sort of got it figured out. That is just the way the ball bounces,” said Nichols.

Over the off season, Nichols says they added to new supercharger to the truck and it has been a big boost in its performance. “The big thing we did is we got a brand new blower from S.S.I. and wow that thing is really working. There are a couple telltale signs that it is making more power and one of them is fuel. We are burning a tone of more fuel and that is coming directly from the blower. We did some other minor tweaks, but nothing major really,” said Nichols.

There are a number of trucks in the TWD class that run as team and Nichols says that puts some more pressure on him because he only has one chance to get it right. “Back a couple of years ago I thought I did better on some sleds and I struggle on the others. I am starting to figure out the others and what they take. That is the tough part, was it the sled that night or was it the dirt we were on? That is always hard to focus on what is the important part tonight. Is it the sled or the dirt and adjust accordingly. That is a tough deal, especially when you are a one truck team. You have to be on your “A” game, you can’t mess up, because you only have one shot at it,” said Nichols.

Nichols says their goal is to win the national title, but he knows how extremely difficult that will be this summer. “That’s tough, there are a lot of guys out here that have been doing this for 20 or 30 years, way longer than I ever have. The goal is to be on top. If we can make the top five. That is a goal to be top five, yeah we want to be higher, but we know the season is long and those guys have more experience. We will settle for the top five,” he said.

Published 6/10/19


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Corzine Says Time to Refocus


Rainy weather and the need to stay home and tend to their farming, stopped the Corzine-Bollinger team from traveling to the east coast and beginning the defense of their points title in the light unlimited division.

However, all is not lost, there are other goals to accomplish.

Craig Corzine told “Full Pull Tonight” on Sunday that they understand it will be very difficult to defend that title having to start way behind. “Things would just have to go unbelievably well. The down side of the light unlimited class is the numbers are lower, so you don’t have as many opportunities to gain big points versus a class like the TWD class where there may be 25-30 grand national licensed vehicles in an event and anything can happen. If you miss an event who might need a small miracle, but at least not everything is out of the window, but for us in the light unlimited we are going to out of it because of the way things are, but we are still excited to kick off the year. As everybody knows we are building the new tractor, or have built, we just have a few minor details to finish it up, the one that Ashley is going to drive. After the points title last year the “Money Pit” tractor we thought she deserved some new engines, so we got some fresh engines and put on it,” said Corzine.

“Full Blown Wicked” the new tractor out of the Theobald stable won the opening event in the light unlimited class on Saturday night in Benson, North Carolina. The class goes again this weekend in North Dinwiddie, Virginia.

The Corzine-Bollinger team has a new tractor too for the class to be driven by Ashley Corzine. Craig says they purchased a chassis from Bret Berg and went to work. He says the design is very similar to what they have. “It is very, very close. We had talked about building a second tractor for two years and at Bowling Green last year things did not go well for Bret Berg and Bret’s chassis was built very similar to “Money Pit” other than Bret likes a forward roll cage design. Bret was on his way home from Bowling Green and he called me and we had decided that we were definitely doing the second tractor and he said I think we can help each other out here,” Corzine told, “He said I want to build a new tractor and do a few changes to help myself in the big unlimited and this year old chassis I would be interested in selling to you and I thought maybe that would be a really good fit for us. The frame rails are identical, the motor mounts are very, very similar, the gearbox in very similar, other than this gearbox is set up already to have a third engine put on it. Our thought is maybe in this light unlimited class maybe that forward roll cage would stiffen that up just a little bit and it may help it … and it may not, if may be too stiff, we are not sure. We are always anxious to try new things.”

Perhaps out of the points race, Corzine admits their approach to each individual event is going to be a little different that it was last year for example. “You tell yourself no you just go out to win every event, but the reality is there is a difference. You find yourself when you are in a points chase of doing things maybe a little more conservative. Going out, hey, we want to try something, but we don’t really want to screw up bad and wipe ourselves out of the points deal. Ashely said it very well Thursday night. It was she and I and Trent DeClerk, who has been a huge part of helping us build this tractor, and of course Steve Bollinger. We were all have a team meeting. She looked at all of us and said guys the pressure is off. Now, we can just go and we can enjoy it and just go to win every event and what happens, happens,” he said.

What about running other classes with the tractors? Corzine says that is something they are going to try and do. “That is the goal. When we started with “Money Pit” I was guilty as anyone that we can build a tractor to go out and run in any class and that is pretty hard to do. This light unlimited is such as specialized class that things really need to be “A” number one, not that they don’t for any of the other classes, but it is pretty hard to get a tractor light enough to have enough front end weight to then be tough enough for the big class, but we are going to give it a shot. We are going to try down the road, whether it be this chassis of Bret’s, or the “Money Pit” tractor we are going to attempt to get four engines on one where we can run the light unlimited and the big unlimited. That may be a steep mountain to climb, but that is our goal,” said Corzine.

Published 6/03/19


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Hunt Starts Year With Win

Darrin Hunt and the “D2 Pro Stock Edition” Case/IH turned away a solid field on 16 pro stock tractors to win the opening hook of the NTPA grand national season in Benson, North Carolina on Saturday night.

After the stellar season last year, including wins in Chapel Hill, Tennessee and the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Hunt says he was very pleased with their performance on opening night of 2019. “It was really good to end the season with a win in the Enderle and do some work on the tractors and go through Cloverdale and the farm show and come out and start with the first pull of the season and get a “W” definitely starts stuff out on the right foot for us. We couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Hunt had the test hook Saturday night and he then had to watch 15 more before he could celebrate the win. He says they were kind of fortunate, but there were also pleased with the setup. “Friday night there at GALOT we were test hook and we laid a pretty good pass down and they reset the sled on us and we got rained out that night. We were feeling pretty good about our setup that night. Anytime you go anywhere with two tracks it is always the tail of the two tracks. We have never pulled at GALOT before and we didn’t really know what to expect. They actually changed the classes around,” he told, “We were supposed to be the first class again and the switched us over to the last class and that allowed us a little more time to watch the class and see what it does. It doesn’t happen very often where you get to put that first pass out there and it stands up. We just got lucky. A blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again.”

Hunt did not go after the points title last season with the NTPA, but the win on opening night has him thinking what this summer come be like for the team. “It is hard to answer that coming out of the first pull leading the points. I didn’t think for sure we would be in that position. Definitely blessed and lucky to be in the position we are right now. When the season first started, I had in my mind I wanted to run the four Shell Rotella points hooks. So, luckily two of those are bang, bang right out of the gate here for us. We may go and try our luck at Hutchinson and we may set back and reassess and se where we are at. If we are in the lead, I am not going to rule anything out, but it is hard for us to commit to that much travel with the stuff we have going on at the dealerships and the farm as stuff like that. I guess it is to be determined, but obviously if we have the lead coming out of the first three or four hooks or we are reasonably close that might be something we could entertain,” said Hunt.

Published 6/03/19


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