Friday, February 24, 2012

Ten Storylines that I took away from Louisville!

I had reflected on the top ten storylines of the NFMS for the last several days and decided that rather then try to fully put all of them in a full order, I would just list the top 10 storylines from my perspective!  Hope you enjoy and as always thanks for reading.  

Neil Gettinger Wins NFMS-  Personally this was the performance of the entire event for me!  I am not discrediting any of the other awesome achievements but I believe Neil Gettinger truly took the Lessons he Learned in 2011 and applied them to his tractor.  The fact that his tractor carries the name “Lessons Learned” may illustrate that Neil was predicting the future of things to come.  This was one of the most dominating and impressive performances that I can recall in my entire time attending the NFMS.  A deep congratulation’s goes out to the Connersville, Indiana based team for one phenomenal weekend in Louisville.  Pulling fans are now on the edge of their seats to see if Neil and his son Bud can parlay this momentum into a Championship in 2012! 

Age versus Jacob-  Young Jacob Fuqua did a great job in his debut at the NFMS.  The young driver used the option to his advantage and dodged bullets to make the finals.  I am not sure Jacob knew when he qualified that he would be paired against generations and generations worth of experience.  Jacob being a young college student, found himself in the finals with seven other competitors who all had eclipsed  fifty years of age.  In the end age and experience triumphed over youth and enthusiasm!  Next year the youth movement in pulling will look to turn the tables and regain their space in the finals. 

Light Supers put on a whale of a show-  I have already pointed out that of the four preliminary sessions; I felt the Light Super Stocks were the best class.  The variety simply doesn't hurt as brands of plenty were represented in the class.  I would have loved to see Mike Happe get a shot in the pulloff as well, but the track crew made the decision of a full pull and Happe was on the outside looking in.  Brian Korth truly has figured out the art of indoor pulling, as he walked away with a 1-2 sweep and the three peat!  The introduction of Brice Terry (Hy-Strung D-21), a much improved Happe (Red Menace IH), and a continually developing Mike Wilhite (Blue Blazes NH), make this class one that I am going to be very excited about in the future!   

Crowder steals the show, in a much improved D4x4 class-  The 2011 NFMS proved one thing to me:   Haisley's were ready to pull in Freedom Hall.  The rest of the class however left much more to be desired.  As the first green flag dropped for a Diesel pickup in 2012 however, it became very apparent that these guys had gone back home and done their homework.  The breakage was left to a minimum and the efficiency of the class was much more precise.  Watching Kent Crowder come from the bottom of the class to claim the win pepped the crowd up and provided the approval the class was lacking in 2011.  Welcome to Louisville Diesel Pickups.  I firmly believe you left a lasting impression on those in the stands!  

Jeff Writsel brings his broom-  This sly old fox bested a group of his peers and he made it look quite easy.  On Thursday Night, many folks including myself had written the two wheel drive class off to a track that seemed to be backing up.  Enter the “At it Again” C-Cab and Orient, Ohio's Jeff Writsel.  Writsel used his Rhino Hemi tuned by Jeff Shafer to easily distance himself from the pack.  As a fan sitting on the sidelines it was clearly illustrated what a Louisville sandpile visit meant when Jeff's son Ryan all but jumped into the cockpit on top of his father!  Folks Thursday was just an appetizer for the main course, as Jeff was "At it Again".  The driving display that Jeff put on in Louisville was quite remarkable and deserves to be commended!  
Unlimited Super Stocks are the class of the eventI am going to try not to be redundant when highlighting this class as my recap featured a story and this article highlights two of the competitors of this class already.  With that said, I want to congratulate the entire class of Unlimited Super Stocks on a job well done.  As I stated in my Farm Show Recap, I have felt this class was growing stale over the years with the exact same tractors and drivers battling for the victory.  In 2011, the introduction of Mike Chizek’s “International Threat” made a huge impression with a new motor configuration and solid results.  The “International Threat” tractor was one of the six finalists on Saturday Night but the head turners were Neil Gettinger, Sjors Zienstra and the perennial favorite “Silver Bullet” of Jordan Lustik.  As the announcers worked the crowd as a test of loyalty it was awesome to hear the rush each individual tractor received.  The crowd was invested in this class and feeling the horsepower these guys were bringing to the finals in a battle of brands.  Congrats Unlimited Super Stocks for giving us one solid show! 

Pro Stock title goes home to Ohio-  Saturday Afternoon's qualifier featured Danny Schmucker grabbing the victory over fellow Buckeye Mike Linder.  Listening to John Linder talk after the show, he was pleased with their performance on Saturday Afternoon but couldn't have been more confident in their preparation for Saturday Night.  Mike and John learned something and knew exactly what they wanted to change on their setup before heading into the finals.  I am not sure what they learned but folks it worked, as they stood confidently in the corner of Freedom Hall with a portion of their battle armor on.  As each respective competitor made an attempt it became clear the Edison, Ohio natives were going to take another title back home with them! 

Europeans announce their presenceI am a firm believer that the NFMS benefits from bringing new faces and story lines to Freedom Hall.  In 2012 we were able to watch three top running tractors from the European circuit as Super Stock competitors Sjors Zienstra and Gert Jan Pauly, and Pro Stock puller Lucien Kuelers spent the time and money to get their tractors to Louisville.  Regardless of the outcome, what an awesome tip of the cap it is to the NFMS when competitors want to come from a foreign country to showcase their pulling talents.  After qualifying for the Finals in Thursday Night’s preliminary, Sjors Zienstra went back to work on his “New Born Deere”.  Zienstra had deemed 2012 a year of Revenge after having competed previously at the Farm Show and he got it in the form of the furthest pull of the class.  In the pulloff he made a strong run but had to settle for a runner-up position to the previously highlighted Gettinger.  After the show on Thursday Night a bit of controversy found it’s way to Sjors and his team, however they proved on Saturday that making the finals was no fluke! 

Bret Berg crosses the competition-  On Wednesday Night, Bret Berg put on a show in the preliminary round of the Modified Tractor class when he gave the fans something to cheer about in the first five minutes of the pull.  Not only did he bury his tractor in the sand pile as the very first puller of the entire night but he made it look easy!  As the four tractor pulloff began it was awesome to hear all of the chatter and discussion of who each person believed would be the outright winner.  Berg used the idea of cross tracking to perfection to claim the win and a tremendous amount of confidence heading into Saturday Night! 

 Welcome back Joe Eder-  The return of Joe Eder was one of the highlights of the 2011 pulling season for me!  I was often mesmerized by the things this man could do behind the wheel of a Modified Tractor.  I remember the years of his dominance while driving the “Sorrento Express” and “Odd Couple”, but it may be the ease of how he transitioned back into pulling that has caught my attention the most.  After a several year hiatus, Joe grabbed the win on Saturday Night at the NFMS after qualifying easily on Wednesday Night.  Eder had several strong performances with the “75th Edition” in 2011 but nothing signaled his return more than Saturday Night in Louisville! 

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