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

call Mike @ 419-564-0359

 
 

Swank on Sports / Truck & Tractor Pull News

 
 

 

 

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

 
 

 

 

 
 

Swankonsports.com Pulling Power Poll

(Just for fun, please no wagering)

(Updated July 15)

 

Modified Tractors (all weights, all limits)

 

1. Chuck Knapp                       Screamin' D

2. Adam Bauer                          Cross Threaded

3. Greg Boyd                            Green Streak Unlimited

4. Bret Berg                              Money Maker

5. Bollinger/Cozine                    Money Pit Screwed Up

 

Super Stock Tractors (all weights, all limits)

 

1. Josh Blackbourn                   International Threat

2. Terry Blackbourn                  Extremely Armed and Dangerous

3. Steve/Stan Blagrave               Red Horse

4. Travis Schlabach                  Bone Twister

5. Brian Korth                           Considered Armed and Dangerous

 

Pro Stock Tractors (all weights, all limits)

 

1. Charles Pelletrer                    CP Dream II

2. Tim Stone                            Rollin Stone

3. Rob Russell                          Work Horse Pro

4. Mark Lawyer                        Rapped Up with a Vengeance

5. Don Masterson                     Tinker Toy

 

Mini Modifieds

 

1. Adam Bauer                          Cowboy Up

2. Adam Bauer                          Iron Toy

3. Adam Koester                       Walk the Line

4. Ken Venny                            Funny Lil' Farmall

5. Adam Koester                       Beast of Burden

 

FWD Trucks (all weights, all limits)

 

1. Carmen/Tanya Foster            Foster Child

2. Ben Ellis                               Benjamin

3. Paul/Jim Holman                   4 Play

4. Ted Skelton                          The Rock

5. Justin Gearhart                      Cream of the Crop

 

TWD Trucks

 

1. Jessie Petro                          Buckeye Hauler

2. Craig Corzine                        Burn Notice

3. Randy Petro                         Kathy's Komplaint

4. Blagraves                              Wild Horse

5. Misty Nelson                        Midnight Chaos

 

Semis (all limits)

 

1. Dean Holicky                        Mother Trucker

2. Ryan DeBroux                      Playin' with Fire

3. Pat Eilen                               Just Passing Thru With Class

4. Dan Prahl                              Full Tilt

5. Chris Wood                          Class Act

 

 

 
   

Feiss Making Adjustments

Click here to listen to an interview with puller Todd Feiss

Part 1

Part 2

In the early years in the pulling there was a great deal of competition between Ford guys and Chevy guys and Chrysler guys, but not so much anymore, well if you know what is going on behind the scenes.

Puller Todd Feiss says many of motors are kind of like hybrids. “For instance, the Minor motor was originally based around a Chevrolet engine, but it is a hemi head type engine and Chevrolet didn’t do that. It is a bit of a hybrid. Now, the Chrysler hemi like we run it was always a hemi, but there is not one item on our engines that was ever produced by a major manufacturer they are all custom made racing pieces,” he said.

Feiss says there are a lot of ways to go about putting combinations together and they can all work. “There are several racing engine manufacturers out there, Bob Minor, Allen Johnson, Brad Anderson, and they do their own thing. We use kind of a combination we are using a Brad Anderson block and then we use Ken Venny’s heads on our motors. A lot of guys run the same block that we do, but they run Brad Anderson heads on them. Which are just a little bit different. They tend to turn those motors more RPM’s then we do the Venny style motors, or Venny headed motors. They are all just a little bit different. They make power in a different way. Honestly, if they are tuned and running properly they are all pretty competitive,” said Feiss.

The design of modified tractors is a lot different than it was even 10 to 15 years ago. Yes, it is about horsepower, but you have to be able to use it. Feiss says the placement of engines can be a big factor. He says theirs are way in the front. “We did it for two reasons. One, to get more weight on the front. When I ran three motors in a line, two crank to crank on the front and our back motor was turned around and set a little higher. When I really got the chassis working good that thing was hooking hard that thing would get too high in the air. Tractors tend to go left all of the time because what happens is the torque of the chassis plants the right rear tire harder than the left and it makes the machine go to the left. I got the point where I couldn’t control it. If the front got three feet in the air I could count on either having to stop or really mashing on the break to keep it in bounds, which either one of those things hurts your distance,” Feiss told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday, “We put the two engines side by side in the front with one behind to get more front end weight on the tractor and the other reason is because when you have a crank to crank situation and you break that middle blower belt that’s quite a chore. It used to take me an hour and a half to change that blower belt. We used to take one and zip tie in there some place just so it was easier to change. In a typical situation you can change a blower belt in five minutes, but on that one it used to take me an hour.”

Feiss Motorsports runs two tractors, the “Sno’ Farmers Extreme, which Todd drives, and the “Feisty Farmer,” which gets the guidance of wife Tarry. Todd says the tractor’s design may look very similar, but in reality they are much different. “They are different more so than you would think and more so than I have been able to figure out. We kind of stepped back. We ran grand national for several years we kind of stepped back to the region this year and we haven’t run a lot of these tracks and we haven’t run at that 7,500 lbs. with just two motors much. We were struggling to figure out our gear ratio and getting our weight right. I have missed the weight set up on the “Sno’ Farmer” several times this year just because I hadn’t run it at 7,500 pounds with two motors. I had run at 7,500 pounds with three motors in the grand national, but this set up is totally different you don’t have near the tire speed, so you don’t carry the front as much. Last week in Wilmington the front end was light enough where it picked up and carried good and it made a pretty good pass. Tarry’s tractor, the red tractor, the “Feisty Farmer,” that tractor we have had longer. I don’t know what it is that is different about chaises, they look identical, but that thing is a hooking chassis. It really hooks to the dirt. She has made a couple of really impressive passes this year,” said Feiss.

Published 7/20/18

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Shafer Trying to Figure Things Out

Click here to listen to an interview with puller Jeff Shafer

Part 1

Part 2

Mt. Vernon, Ohio, native Jeff Shafer took a bit of a risk in designing a completely different two wheel drive truck for this season and he is still working the bugs out of it a little bit.

If you see “Win, Lose or Draw” she looks very much like a vintage dragster from the 1960’s and Shafer says that is by design. “I thought about this about three years ago. I had three or four pretty good fires in the ’50 Chevy cab truck. I was thinking of some safety issues back then and accessibility of working on things a little easier. The thought of this body started then. We put a T-bucket on it real quick and I really didn’t like that. This winter we made this thing come to life. I took a pretty rough ride at the end of last season. The truck was in the air a good ways and it jumped out of gear and it come down and hurt my back. It just kind of sealed the deal of making this new one and moving the seat to the back to help that issue,” he told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday, “The rules are written with a lot of gray area to it. Some people like it and some people don’t. We are going to have to make some changes to it. NTPA tech has told me they want the area filled in between the body and the back of the motor. I wanted it to resemble the nostalgic dragsters. We are going to work on that this week.”

It has been a bit if a struggle for Shafer early in the season, over the first month, and he says the new design is going to take a little getting used to for sure. “I thought it would have a better feel and it probably does, but I was really surprised at Benson the first time I went down the track how there is none of the fell from the old the mid-seat, front seat two wheelers that is going to apply to this thing at all. I am going to have to look for different things. I used to be able to feel the twist of the frame, now you don’t feel that so you have to watch for that. Rob Foster has actually driven it more times than I have. The idea behind that was he had never driven a two wheeler with seat up front and probably wouldn’t go through the learning curve. He has actually driven it more than I have so I can watch it,” he said.

At Marion, Ohio, earlier this month Shafer got a chance to drive the Wilson’s “Little American,” now owned by Kevin Dick. Shafer calls it a thrill. “I was supposed to drive one a year ago at Sullivan’s pull early in the spring and it got rained out. Kevin (Dick) asked me to drive one then and since I didn’t get to do that I think he felt obligated to still give me a ride sometime when he could. I have to say that I am not sure I am the one that deserved a ride on one of those tractors. Those are literally legendary tractors. I consider myself maybe a veteran, but don’t think I have anything to do with legendary. It was an honor and to follow up on the weekend after Willie Giberson drove the thing. He was good enough to drive for Engler and Bergs and numerous famous pullers. I was as honored to drive it after he was asked to drive and I was just honored to drive it period,” said Shafer.

Published 7/20/18

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Berg Knows His Capabilities

Click here to listen to an interview with puller Bret Berg

Part 1

Part 2

Bret Berg has been in pulling long enough to be a realist. He knows what his tractors are capable of and how to make them work the best.

Right now, Berg stands third in the NTPA Grand National modified tractor point standings and the “Money Maker” has won two of the its last three starts in that division. In the unlimited class, he is in fourth place, with two second place finishes on the year.

Berg says they have started the season okay and have kept themselves in position where a points title is possible and that is what you want to do early. “It has been okay. To be honest as they years go on it seems like the competitors, there aren’t as many as there have been in the past and the guys that are left are really serious about it. They are really good guys, hard working guys that are willing to put in the effort and spend the money to get to the end of the summer and be points champion. You can throw a points title away in the first three or four events now. Sometimes you just can’t make the points back up,” said Berg.

Berg is also running a mini modified tractor and he says for one thing that gives him a better idea of how to attack a track. “One thing with modified minis is they do run down the track close to same concept as the big modified tractor does, so it does give you a little bit more tractor time, gives you a little bit more read on the track. In Rockwell, Iowa, we ran two classes of modified, two classes of unlimited, and two classes of mini modified. When you get to the end of the weekend you feel you know the track pretty good after making that many passes on it,” said Berg.

The Farmington, Minnesota, native says when you come out on the track those in the stands and those supporting you want to see wins and if you don’t you have to figure out why. “When you have 10 guys in the class and you end up sixth or seventh you are probably throwing the kitchen sink at it the next night because you don’t want to run sixth or seventh again,” he said.

There are nights when you don’t win that can be kind of good when you are chasing points like Berg, but he says you always come away not completely satisfied. “You will hear me say more times than not when we walk away from a track and don’t win, well it was a good points night, but that being said the sponsors are looking for you to be a winner and fans like to see a winner. I would say if you have 12 guys in the class you have one guy happy and 11 others scratching their heads for the next evening,” he said.

Yes, Berg, is going to run in the unlimited class this summer, but he admits that the main goal is success in the modified class. He says to be consistent in the unlimited ranks they would have to make some changes. “Our main focus has always been the modified class, but because the modified class doesn’t have quite enough hooks for me at this point we have been running the unlimited class here the last couple of years. Between the two it is almost too many hooks if that makes sense. That being said, we gain knowledge all of the time by doing that. If we were going to be a true unlimited tractor we would probably have to move up to the bigger superchargers, put 1471’s on,” he told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday evening, “We still try and run five motors. We have the tractor light enough. We run 350 pounds of movable weight right now. Most places we have enough movable weight, but we are just a little short in the horsepower game compared to the guys with four motors and 1871’s or Bauer’s five motors with the 1471’s. We have Boyds coming over now and they have 1871’s on one tractor. If we are on our game we can run with those guys, but we don’t have the advantage anymore just because we have five motors. We could change things, but I just don’t feel comfortable changing things all of the time. At this point we are probably a top four tractor.”

Published 7/13/18

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Atley on the Move

Click here to listen to an interview with puller Carl Atley

Part 1

Part 2

Carl Atley after a pair of wins last weekend in Rockwell, Iowa, has moved into second place on the NTPA Grand National circuit in the diesel 4x4 truck class.

He is just two and half points behind the leader Justin Gearhart.

Atley has had considerable success in pulling over the last three decades. He says it all started for him with a John Deere pro stock tractor. “Lethal Weapon is named after my pro stock tractor that we built in ’89. Gene Sharber built it for me. We were pro stock rookie of the year in ’89. Then we sold it to Boyds,” he told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday night, “Steve Boyd bought it for his son Greg Boyd and it was “Green Streak II.” I sat out for a while and then came back with my son and built two trucks. “Ohio Cat” has been sponsoring our truck. We have a good relationship with “Ohio Cat” we have bought a lot of equipment from them. They are a great organization to work for.”

When it comes to the power plant in his Ford truck, Atley knows who to depend on. “We have a Scheid Diesel aluminum block with their new style steel head. Scheid Diesel they are so, so, great in what they do. Very clean place, great organization. I highly recommend them if you ever need a part anywhere in the business of pulling call them first they are very honest and they will help you,” he said.

It can be a felling that is difficult to describe for someone that has never been behind the wheel of a pulling vehicle, but Atley says when it comes to knowing when to hit the throttle it is really a feeling. “Until you feel that you can not roll up on the throttle. If you try and roll up on the throttle before you feel that it won’t work out for you. You will just go away mumbling that was a dumb move and we have all done it. It has got to be early or it has got to be late. You just have to have that certain feeling,” said Atley.

He adds that figuring out the first 50 to 75 feet of a track is going to be critical when comes to what your distance is going to be at the end. “If you get a great hole shot you are going to a have a great distance at the other end. If you have a bad hole shot you are going to come up short of where you want to be. A lot times if you have a real bad hole shot you have a second try or you can drop to end of the class and make an adjustment to get it right,” said Atley.

Atley says he doesn’t want to play around in the pits. He says he wants to get across the scales so he can watch those ahead of him and make decisions relevant to his own truck. “You will always learn by watching. Sometimes being the quiet one and watching and learning is the most important thing to do,” he said.

Published 7/13/18

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Corzine Excited by Start

Click here to listen to an interview with Craig Corzine

Part 1

Part 2

 

          Going into NTPA action this weekend in Rockwell Iowa, Corzine Motorsports is part of vehicles that lead the points standings in both the light unlimited division and the TWD class.

          "Money Pit Screwed Up," which they share with the Bollingers, leads the light unlimited after a win in Tomah and "Burn Notice" shows the way in the TWD class.

          Craig Corzine from Assumption, Illinois, has a smile on his face after a successful weekend in Tomah.  "What a weekend for us we are the points leader with the tractor and the truck and the other two trucks are right there sniffing the top five, so we are feeling good about things," he said.

          "Burn Notice" got a couple of second place finishes in TWD classes in Tomah after being passed by trucks late in the class.  Corzine says it can be good to be number one hook, but usually it is better to be toward the end.  "It all depends on the track and the dirt.  Number one the track kind of sits a little bit between classes.  It may get a little extra roll, so the track is tight and that is what we need for a TWD truck, especially and you just have that option if you are not happy with it you can turn that pull down or come back last or anywhere in the class.  Tomah is a really good track, but it can not go back together just like you would like it too, as tight as you would like it too with sun still up.  Especially these places we go, a Tomah, Wisconsin, a Bowling Green, Ohio, where we have so many in the TWD class that the track can really change an that can be for the good and it can be for the bad.  More times than not it is better to towards the end if the class starts in the daylight because that moisture comes up and the track gets a little better,  Your winners, especially in the truck game, are towards the end of the class," said Corzine.

          When it comes to "Money Pit Screwed Up" Corzine says they knew they had a pretty good tractor and now it is about taking advantage of it and so far they have.  "When we built that tractor we thought we would be on the higher end of the horsepower, but as we all know horsepower is a great thing to have, but you have got to have a combination.  Man Simons are great pullers and they have been running the class since it started.  We came into that deal thinking we are going to be right towards the front and we did.  We had high expectations I am not going to kid you.  We got our wings clipped a couple of times.  We do a lot of talking and thinking on the rides home between pulls in the haulers and it took a couple of those rides home," he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, "Guys like the Simons and Keith Wayson those guys have been running that class for so long they have a lot of experience.  It took a little bit to put the thing together.  I think we are there, but there is always room for improvement, but I think we are in a pretty good place.  You can't back off we have great pullers in every class.  You can't get off your game or everybody will drive right by you."

 

 

Published 7/06/18

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Nichols a Gambler

Click here to listen to an interview with Russ Nichols

Part 1

Part 2

 

          Russ Nichols from Lore City, in southeast Ohio, has a couple of top ten finishes in the NTPA's tough two drive truck division this year and a win on the OSTPA circuit, but he hasn't been as consistent as he has wanted to be so far.

          He blames himself.  "The truck is performing, the problem is the driver.  We have had some pretty good runs, but yet we are not consistent, that is my problem.  The truck is doing good, but the driver is inconsistent," he said.

          Nichols says when you are coming out of the hole and lighting the engine it is a very precise process.  "If you are a half second too early on the throttle or too late on the throttle and you are 10 or 15 feet off.  It is just hard to feel that you know to know when it is go time," he adds.

          When it comes to track position he says it takes some experience to read the tracks they face around the country.  "The big tractors like a little more firm and some moisture to have the big tires get a hold.  What works good for them doesn't work good for us.  We are looking for a different spot on  the track than what they are running.  It's a challenge and it all about that dog gone throttle," said Nichols.

          Nichols is a puller that hits the track a lot, not matter what the circuit.  He says he just wants to learn.  "It's fun and I am sort of new into the TWD class, so I want to go everywhere and everyday, just ask (his wife) Kelly.  She says you don't have to go to everyone of them.  When you are know you want to go learn and be better every time.  That is what we are trying to do.  We want to get as much experience as we can because it is tough out there.  There are a bunch of good, good trucks out there," said Nichols.

          Nichols won last season at Bowling Green and the National Tractor Pulling Championships, likely this biggest event anywhere in the country.  He says he kind of took a chance.  "I am a guy that gambles on the sled setting.  Last year, at Bowling Green we went somewhere that nobody else went and it worked out that day, but we did it here a couple of weeks ago and it was the wrong thing to do," he told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday, "Sometimes those gambles make you out a hero and sometimes they don't.  That is just the way it is sometimes it works and sometimes it looks like you are not very smart."

 

 

Published 7/06/18

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Red Horse off the Flying Start

Click here to listen to an interview with Stan Blagrave

Part 1

Part 2

 

          There have been six hooks so far this season in the diesel super stock class on the NTPA Grand National circuit and the Blagraves from Texas have won four of them.

          That has given them an 11 point lead on Travis Schlabach, but there are 13 more events to go.  There next chance to get out on the track will be next weekend in Rockwell, Iowa.

          Stan Blagrave was a guest on last Sunday's "Full Pull Tonight" here on Swankonsports.com and he says they really couldn't be happier with the start they have gotten.  "We are tickled to death.  We kind of have a new set up this year and not knowing what to expect when we started out the year, but it is working good and I guess we will milk it to it quits.  You just take it one pull at a time and hope it stays together," said Blagrave.

          He says its seems whatever they have done this season has turned to gold for the team.  "We have had years when you can't do anything wrong and we have had other years when you can't doing anything right.  I wouldn't mind having something in between this year," he said.

          The reason for the their success?  Well, Stan says they made some major changes to their turbo set up.  "We changed our compete turbo system.  We are not running anything similar to what we ran last year.  It took some time to kind of put it all together," he said.

          The Blagaves had some good success last year and Stan says it can be stressful to decide to make changes because it can go either way.  "When you have something that is working decent it is real hard to change something to try and go better because there is a 50 percent chance you will go the wrong way.  We have been there and done that.  We have made changes and went the wrong way.  This year we have made changes and so far they have been good.  It is tough to make those changes," said Blagrave.

          Ackerly, Texas, were the Blagrave's call home, is south of Lubbock is west central Texas.  That is quite a way from, well, all of the NTPA events.  Stan says that can make things difficult travel wise.  "It really does. We farm cotton at home and you never finish farming cotton.  It is kind of a year round deal.  So, it is really hard to stay gone that much," he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday, "After Hutchinson (Minnesota) Steve flew home and me and my wife stayed up here.  We will go home after Tomah.  It is hard for both of us to be gone.  Later in August it is a little easier for both of us to stay gone.  It has been real dry at home, so we don't have any crops, so that was one reason that both Steve and I was able to make it out."

 

Published 6/29/18

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Vintage Pullers With Expanded Schedule

Click here to listen to an interview with Kevin Dick

Part 1

Part 2

 

          There are a group of guys that are preserving the history and tractor and truck pulling and the National Tractor Pulling Legends are pulling all over the Midwest.

          In fact, they will be in Oquawka, Illinois on Saturday, Wapakoneta, Ohio, on July 3, and Marion, Ohio, on July 6.

          Kevin Dick of Tiffin, Ohio, has two tractors in the series, which is an exhibition not a competition, one of Gaylord Zechman's old tractors and the Wilson's "Little American."

          He says they do have some rules they have established.  "The tractor should have been built and competed in 1980 or before and the FWD and TWD trucks are 1985 and before because I don't believe the TWD trucks were sanctioned before 1982 or 83," he said.

          He says they have been together for seven or eight years now and they have a great time.  "Mostly is was the doing of Mike Ott and a little of Gary Grimm.  Gary has the "Sassy Massy" turbine.  He built that in the 70's and never sold it or dismantled it like a lot them had been, parted out or whatever, like a great majority of them.  Mike Ott found the Bosse's four engine tractor that they built in 1972 in a junkyard and he thought that we would restore it.  They just started making exhibition runs in 2010, 2011, somewhere in that era," he told Full Pull Tonight on Sunday night, "I joined up with them in 2014 after I found a tractor that my dad originally helped build in 1973, 1974 for Gaylord Zechman, that tractor won the Farm Machinery Show in 1977.  It was just luck that we found it and I restored that.  We are having a great time running them."

          Dick says if you come out to one of their pulls you are going to find a lot of different kinds of vehicles.  "We have two tanks.  Mike Ott also has a tank that was run by the Keck brothers out of Monroe, Michigan.  Carl Sweeney has a three turbo charged tank.  He has an John Deere G that he build in '68 or '69 and it has a 392 Chrysler hemi in it.  I have a blown hemi and a Ford.  Steve Swartz has a pair of 440 Chryslers.  So, we have a ton of variety from different areas in the country with different engine combinations.  They all weight a different amount of weight, so purely and exhibition," said Dick.

          Dick says they are always trying to hook up with pullers that are in to the thing they are into.  "There are a couple of the out in Illinois that had allisons in them that were build back in the day.  We would love to have those guys come and pull with us.  There is a guy in Indiana that found the first single engine upside down F-30 "Loud Mouth Lime" and is restoring that, so that is another one hopefully on the circuit next year," he said.

 

 

Published 6/29/18

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This Year a Learning Year For Writsel

Click here to listen to an interview with Ryan Writsel

 

          The first two pulling seasons for Ryan Writsel and his modified tractor "Lucky Strike" have been good ones, in fact, damn good ones.

          He says this year is going to be a little harder he thinks.

          In the modified class at the region level it seems there are a number of different setups and Writsel says he have to known what works for you.  "That is the worst part, you watch somebody else and it kind of messes you up, especially like with the truck classes when the driving is so critical.  The modified tractor with those big 30" width tires it is not near as critical as the small tire, truck classes," he said.

          Writsel also has experience pulling FWD and TWD trucks.  He says that he and his dad Jeff, and their team, have learned their TWD truck "At It Again" and the tractor are two very different animals.  "Totally opposite.  Anything that the truck likes the tractor does not like and anything to tractor likes the truck does not like.  The first year was very hard.  Last year wasn't near as bad because we had been to some tracks," he told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday, "Those big tires, they are 30 inches wide, and the get right a hold of track, and when you are on a narrower TWD or FWD tire they want to spin easier, you have to finesse more.  The setup is a lot less critical with the tractor.  When you are trying to avoid the real soft stuff with the truck that is kind of what you are looking for with the tractor."

          Writsel plans to start his season on Saturday night Preble, Indiana.  He says it is going to be a tough year for the two time defending regional points champ.  "We are going to start out with new tires and try and see if we can progress with those new tires.  I think we are going to have some more pullers this year.  Todd Feiss and Tarry they are going to be running all or most of the region and state circuits.  I think I will learn a lot from them.  You are going to have be a little more savy with them.  The Jerews are going to be out more.  Austin Berry, we are going to run into him, with his new modified tractor, which was a Feiss tractor, a Scott Tedder tractor.  You have to try and get better.  I think this year is going to be a pretty big learning year for me," said Writsel.

          Writsel would like to get back the NTPA's season ending pull and wants a win with the tractor at the National Tractor Pulling Championships.  "The number one goal is to get the Enderle Pull Off and hopefully win it.  If you are there you might as well do the best you can do.  That is kind of my number one goal.  Obviously, I would like to do really well at Bowling Green with my tractor.  We were lucky enough to win it three times with my two wheeler.  I sure would like to win there with my mod," he said.

          Ryan says it pretty clear he would be nowhere in pulling if not for his dad.  "I don't even know when dad starting pulling.  He graduated high school in 1968.  I was born in '77,  He had a FWD truck n the early 80's and he sold that truck in about '87 and I was heartbroken.  I was 10 years old and I cried the day it left.  He set out about three years and then got back into it.  I was kind of old enough then to be part of it.  Dad and I have been pulling together as long as I can remember," said Writsel.

 

Published 6/22/18

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Gearhart is Humble

Click here to listen to an interview with Justin Gearhart

 

          Early in the season, Justin Gearhart of Kingston, Ohio, south of Columbus, is the NTPA leader in the super stock diesel FWD truck class, but he knows he has a lot to learn.

          He won both of the hooks early this month in Benson, North Carolina.

          He says it was a big surprise to the team.  "We definitely weren't expecting to do that," he said.

          There are a lot of diesel trucks on the highways today and there are a lot modifications to the pulling trucks whether they are dodges, like Justin's, or Chevys or Fords.

          Gearhart explains what they do with suspensions.  "Mostly it is all the suspension stuff that we have to modify.  We have zero rear suspension, it is all in the tire.  The weight of the sled puts all of that stress back there.  You really don't want any movement.  The front suspension we have a lot heavier axles and stuff to control it," said Gearhart.

          The class was rained out on Thursday night in Tomah, Wisconsin, with 10 entries in the class.

          The dirt is different in Tomah than in North Carolina, but Gearhart says he doesn't change his approach much from track to track and event to event.  "We play with the air pressure a little bit.  I don't really play with any of the other suspension to much.  We drive our truck so much with the throttle and we kind of have it now where I like how it transfers.  I try to apply the throttle in the proper place on the track to get it to transfer as hard as I want it to," he said.

          This just Gearhart's third year in the class and he says he wants to learn as much as he can before he hooks to the sled.  "I don't like to go first because I don't have the same experience as a lot of the guys in the class.  I like to watch the sled and see where the box is coming up, where the box is topping out then you can kind of get a gage on track position if you get a couple of trucks in front of you," he told Full Pull Tonight this past Sunday night, "I don't  know quite as much as lot of the guys.  I have only been in this class three years and there are people that have been pulling it like 15 years."

 

Published 6/22/18

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Winning Points Titles is What is About

Click here to listen to an interview with Jim Holman

 

The Holman Brothers “4 Play” FWD truck has won 12 NTPA Grand National titles beginning in 1989 and Jim Holman says that is their goal every year, including this season.

Paul earned a win on Saturday night in Benson, North Carolina, but Jim says they weren’t as consistent as they would have liked to have been. “We were kind of feast of famine last week, but our class is so close that they kind of flip from one night to the other. So, the point standings are all really tight right now. Even though we got the 14 th I think we are in fifth place in the points and only six out of first. So, we can recover from that and it is a long season and we have a long way to go,” he said.

Jim says he let the RPM level get too low in his run on Friday and that cost him big time. “Friday night, we had the truck over geared a little bit and the other thing was when I ran they were running the unlimited class on the track next to me and I discovered years ago that I drive with my ear and I don’t watch the tac when I start to move and you can’t hear our poor naturally aspirated motor when there is five blower motors running right next to you,” he told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday night, “So, I couldn’t hear the motor and the clutch locked and I let the motor dip about 1,000 RPM below where it should have been, so it bogged off the line and it cost me a ton. In our class you have to have your pencil sharp every time, you can’t make a mistake like that or you are going to be shuffled to the back right now.”

Some fans call pulling dirt racing and Holman says ground speed is the big key. He says you have to get as far ahead of that weight exchanger as you can. “You are trying to put as much power down as fast as you can and get as much speed early when the sled is light, so speed is really the name of the game. Most of the time the guy that wins had the most ground speed during the run. Not every time because some vehicles will stay hooked at the end. They will drag the sled and stay hooked and get several feet that way, but most times your winner has got one of the top two or three ground speeds in the class,” he said.

Jim says winning that points title is a big goal, but being from Wauseon, Ohio, right down the road from Bowling Green, winning there too is huge. “You always have the goal of winning the points title. That is number one. Another big goal is to qualify for the Enderle Pull Off. People take a lot of pride in doing that. With Bowling Green being so close to us, and it being the biggest event, we always want to win Bowling Green. If you are pulling the Grand National level if you don’t start the year with the aspiration of winning the title I have to question what you are doing. I guess it has to be fun then. We are competitors and we want to win a title every year,” said Holman.

Published 6/15/18

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Tires Can Make the Difference

Click here to listen to an interview with Travis Schlabach

 

Iowa’s Travis Schlabach and the Blagraves of Texas traded wins in Benson, North Carolina, earlier this month and they share the points lead in the diesel super stock class on the NTPA Grand National circuit.

Schlabach, from Marengo, Iowa, almost won the points title in 2017, but had some bad luck on the final weekend and lost that title to Jody and Colin Ross of Pennsylvania.

Schlabach told they were kind of surprised they were that competitive last year. “We just want to be competitive every weekend and be close and be up in the hunt and try and keep up. There is a lot of good competition in the class, especially on the top end. It is going to be a struggle. Last year, we were a little surprised that we went into the last pull of the year with the points lead, but fell victim to some motor problems that cost us,” he said.

When it comes to points titles it is not only what you do on the track, but off of it too. Schlabach says maintenance is becoming a bigger factor in the diesel super class. “It is just a hobby for us, so nights and weekends we are still working on the pulling tractor. I’m sure it is the case with all of the classes, but I can only attest to the diesel super stock class we are pushing everything to the extreme. The engine dynos that have come out have found every little bit of horsepower, so we are pushing everything to the extreme. There is a lot more maintenance and breakage at the Grand National level than what there would be at your local levels,” said Schlabach.

Pulling is a horsepower game, but there is a lot more to it than that. Schlabach believes tire technology just might be the difference in the future. “We can make more horsepower and then we start breaking parts. We are going to hit our limitations and at some point we are going to spilt a block. With the new Hypermax blocks they have held together better than the old factory blocks, but at this level it is coming. I don’t think we are quite there yet. The question will be are we going to get to the point where we build too much horsepower for the tires that we have,” he told Full Pull Tonight last Sunday night, “I feel you see that a lot in the pro stock class where they have the 24.5 tires and they are struggling getting it hooked up to the track and they guy that builds more horsepower isn’t necessarily going to be the winner because he can’t utilize it. You will see that in the unlimited. They are struggling getting that power to the track. I think we are getting close, but somebody will come up with a different tire compound and that will change the world again.”

Schlabach says he kind of dreamed about becoming a diesel super puller, but really he was going to try pro stock after spending a couple of years as a super farm puller. “I have a good friend of mine here in Denny Healy built a super farm tractor. Years ago, he used to work on Kevin Hustlebuss’s super farm tractor called “Mr. Bone.” He started building his own in his garage and I jumped in with him and just helped on the weekends and nights and really enjoyed that part of it. I would do that for probably five, six, seven years. I went pulling and got to know the people. Then Kevin’s kids got to the age where he couldn’t tractor pull and I bought Kevin’s tractor from him and was in the super farm for two years. We just always sat around and said wouldn’t be nice to have a diesel super. Originally,ake a I was going to build a pro stock because I didn’t understand the diesels and hadn’t been around them, but there just weren’t any pro stock pulls in Iowa at that time so we decided to go diesel super. We jumped in to it with both feet. We have come a long way and we have had a lot of good help. We have worked hard at it and kind of pieced things together,” said Schlabach,

Published 6/15/18

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Good Start to the Season for “Green Streak” Team

Click here to listen to an interview with Greg Boyd

The “Green Streak” unlimited modified tractors lead the standings in the Pro Pulling League Champion Series point standings in the modified division.

Steve Boyd’s “Lucas Oil Green Streak” leads and son Greg Boyd and his new “Lucas Oil Green Streak Unlimited” stands in second.

“Full Pull Tonight” had a chance to speak with Greg after his victory and second place finish on back to back days last weekend at the Barga’s Ohio State Benefit Pull at Ft. Recovery, Ohio.

He says it doesn’t get much better than what they were able to put together last weekend. “They had a nice track and a nice crowd and we are thrilled to death. The big tractor got its first win. To get a first and second and turn around and get a second and third the next night it is hard to get much better than that,” said Greg.

The Boyd’s have had great success at the Ohio State Benefit Pull winning at all three sites Ansonia, Greenville and Ft. Recovery.

We are just four runs into a 17 pull schedule for the mods on the “PPL” circuit and Greg says there is going to be a learning curve for especially his tractor this season. “Especially for our team this year. We brought dad’s tractor back and it is pretty much the same as it was last year, a few small adjustments and changes to it, but my tractor is a totally different tractor, a new design for us. The first full chassis that Full Pull Motorsports and Bob Barbee has produced. So, we have a lot of learning to do with it yet. It is a totally different combination,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “We have two forward rotation motors and two reverse rotation motors. It is going to take us a while figure it out. We have a lot of nervousness with that thing, but it is starting to come around really well.”

He says the reason they have arranged the hemis in the way they have on the “Lucas Oil Green Streak Unlimited” is to get those rear tires to lock in the ground and get it farther down the track. “What we are trying to accomplish there is to counteract the torque a little bit. Not have quite as much twist and keep the back tires in the ground a little bit better,” he said.

Their next run will be Saturday night in Wilmington, Ohio, at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.

Of course, those that have followed pulling know that Greg used to drive John Deere pro stocks. He says the aim is the same, but the way you drive the two kinds of vehicles is much different. “They are very different to drive. The goal is the same, you want to get going fast, but they are very different as far as driving them. The pro stock you want to slip that clutch and try and match it up to the track, while the modified tractor you don’t have a clutch pedal it is all throttle,” said Boyd.

Published 6/08/18

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Petro Has High Goals for the Season

Click here to listen to an interview with Jessie Petro

The Petro Family, either Jessie or his father Randy, has won the TWD NTPA Grand National title nine straight years.

That kind of consistency is almost unheard of in the pulling world.

Those are the kinds of things that only the Banter Brothers or Esdon Lehn do.

“Full Pull Tonight” had a chance to speak with Jessie Petro last Sunday about 2018.

They just started with a couple of classes at GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson, North Carolina, which included a win for Jessie and the “Buckeye Hauler” on Saturday night. Randy with sixth with “Kathy’s Komplaint” on Saturday, while Joey Frasur and “Runnin’ Block” took the number 12 spot. On Friday night, Randy was fourth, Jessie fifth and Joey eighth.

Jessie told us he was pretty pleased. “We had a solid weekend. The trucks made good runs I felt like. Saturday night we didn’t make bad runs we just needed to go a little bit farther with a couple of them to have real solid finishes. We have had to battle to rain a good bit here and there, but that is to be expected in the early part of the season,” he said.

The Southeastern United States has been pretty wet this spring and Petro says you have to understand what the weather is doing not just the day of the pull. “There is no substitute for Mother Nature’s force of water onto a piece of dirt. Like anything it depends on what kind of dirt it is. If it is sandy it can take a lot more. The amount of rain, or lack of rain, that an event site gets for the week to 10 days prior to the date of the actual competition is going to affect the track for sure,” said Petro.

TWD trucks in one of the closest and most competitive classes of them all and Petro says you can’t afford to make mistakes. “The first night at Benson I think the top 10 trucks were within 10 feet. There are so many variables that take place with the track changing and the weather changing and stuff like that affect the outcome of your run. It pretty crucial with everybody and the quality vehicles and the experience that everyone gets. It’s a lot harder to do well and make a mistake,” he said.

If my count is right the Petro family is running seven trucks on the NTPA Grand National and regional circuit and the Pro Pulling League circuit. Petro says with all of those trucks and all those set ups you can always find something you want to do different. “It is kind of addiction to some extent even as your building you will go through as say I wish we would have done it like this on the next one we are going to do it like this or that, so I think that is part of it. It is an ongoing process. We just got done building one five weeks ago and there are already things that I would have liked to have done a little different. I have an idea for the next one to do it a little different. I think you need to be region specific and even series specific as far as what circuit you are going to run to have different characteristics built into it to be able to adapt to the different conditions you see,” said Petro.

What about goals? Petro talks about winning, but more about consistency between all of the trucks in the family. “We want to do as well as possible. Obviously, we have had a lot of success over the years. One of my main goals is to try and be consistent across the board. That is probably my main goal is to have all of the trucks finish well more so than winning every night,” he told Full Pull Tonight, “With the way pulling is going with the floating finish lines and things like that sometimes it is going to be hard to drive around that really good run from time to time and night to night. If you can land a truck in the top five or six every night that is a really good goal on a national circuit. We would love to have several trucks qualify for the Enderle and if we can get the two trucks that are running full time on the “PPL” in the top 10 that is a lofty, but an attainable goal.”

Published 6/08/18

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