Friday, April 27, 2012

Big shoes to fill for the "Kentuckian"

There is truly no doubt that one of the most recognized names in the sport of truck and tractor pulling is Sullivan, but what may even surpass their last name is their pulling vehicle's name, the Kentuckian.  What began as a single engine modified with Rodeck power in the early seventies, grew to a three Rodeck combination in the nineties.  When the final pass was made on the old Kentuckian, a new Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Truck was built that featured the all too familiar name.  Understand that the driving force for the Sullivan Team and secret to success was their tight knit family.  As the family continued to grow so too did the roster of capable drivers who were just waiting for a chance to jump into the seat of one the nationally renowned pulling machines they brought from Warsaw, Kentucky.  Whether it was the single engine Papa Smurf or the Chevy S-10 aptly named the  Tuff Cookie fans from around the country began to take notice of the entire family from the Bluegrass state.

The father of this pulling family was Hansel who  got the ball rolling many decades ago and if he were here today, it is a certainty that he would be grinning from ear to ear with all that his namesakes have achieved.  What began with a Ford tractor has grown exponentially over time.  In the seventies the team relied heavily on who I refer to as Daddy, Wayne Sullivan,  for the driving duties. In the eighties Wayne’s late brother Eddie jumped into the fun with his Underdog four wheel drive and Underpup two wheeler.  Quickly on the heels of their Uncle Eddie were Wayne’s oldest boys Donnie and Danny.   Donnie has piloted a large variety of vehicles from a single engine mod, a dual turbine and of course a barrage of Two Wheelers.  Danny has been very active in the two wheel drive class since the late eighties having piloted the  Young Gun, Tuff Cookie. and Thumper all before the two most recently family driven Rentawreck and Hansel Sullivan Memorial Chevy.  In the mid nineties, Donnie and Danny introduced their little brother to the saddle of a blown two wheel drive in the form of the Kentuckian Chevy S-10.   Paul darn near took the ring home with him from Bowling Green, Ohio in the very early stages of his driving career and from time to time finds himself in the saddle of his dad’s Big Ed Red.  Waiting in the wings of this pulling dynasty is the fourth generation of drivers, Donnie’s son, Brandt.  Brandt not only has spent a life time following his grandfather, uncles and father all over the country but he has also developed his own personality within the sport.  It is certain that it is in his blood as he awaits his shot to bend the throttle over on one of his families’ vehicles very soon.  

The name the Kentuckian has not been used by the Sullivan family for many years but in 2012, the name has been revived with a new Modified tractor.  The tractor was constructed to compete in the Modified classes with the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour and the NTPA Grand National Light Unlimited class.  Having been some of the forefathers of the modified class it is only right for them to find their way back to the saddle of a multi engine tractor.  This weekend as the Champions Tour for the Lucas Oil series kicks off in Saluda, South Carolina, Wayne Sullivan will strap in for the maiden voyage of the new and improved Kentuckian.

Tractor Specs 
The chassis was formerly owned and run by Ken Veney Funny Farmall
The sheet metal was done by Ted and Tony Dibble at Binder Lite and is an exact replica of the old Kentuckian, which featured a Massey Harris shroud. 
Power will be found in the form of the 3 Hemi's mounted right in front of the driver.  The Sullivan's run a variation of a Sassy Racing Engine.


1 comment:

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