Friday, April 20, 2012

Pre-Commit Two Wheel Drive

The Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Truck class on both the NTPA and Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Series have some of the largest numbers of any of the national touring classes.  At any given point both the Grand National and Champions Tour events should have sixteen to twenty vehicles vying for the win.

On the NTPA Grand National circuit the Petro Family finished with a strangle hold of the top three positions in the points.  Lead by Randy "Kathy's Complaint" the Ohio natives will head to Hazel Green looking to jump start their season and advantage in the points standings.  With the previous three championships having been claimed by either Randy or Jessie, it is clear that the Petro's will be very tough to beat! 

In 2011, Doug Theobald introduced a brand new pulling truck,  his "Wicked" Chevy S-10.  The new truck took the Theobalds  on one heck of a ride as Doug won four of the seven NTPA Major events:  Tomah, Chapel Hill x2 , Enderle Pull-off.  Doug,  along with his wife Renee "Pretty Wicked" will look to build on a solid season last year as they hope to stake claim to their first NTPA Grand National title.

Another heavy hitter on the list is former Grand National points champion Chuck Knapp "Back Forty" of Iowa.  Knapp was just ten points away from finishing in the top three in the championship hunt in 2011.  I am not taking a real big risk when I say this but it is my firm belief that the championship will go home with one of these teams.  Whether it is Ohio, Indiana, or Iowa is something we will have to wait to see.

Optima Battery Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Trucks

The Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League was truly dominated by two trucks on the Champions Tour in 2011. I honestly cannot think of a more dominating performance than the season that Jeremy Nelson had with his "Midnight Gambler".  New for 2012, Nelson welcomes Speedco Truck Lube and Tire as his title sponsor of his newly chopped 1941 Dodge panel van.   Nelson and classmate Brad Moss "Ridin Dirty" claimed eleven of the thirteen Champions Tour events last season.  Moss is scheduled  to be competing in the Pro Stock class in 2012 and thus the driving chores of arguably the most consistent truck on the circuit over the last three seasons will fall back on Ricky Long of Glasgow, Kentucky.  With Ricky and his brother Keith scheduled to be competing in the Modified tractor class with their new toy, I am anxious to see how they manage running both of their two wheel drive trucks. 

Jordan Nelson was an event winner in Kilgore, Texas in 2011. The youngest Nelson brother has been a staple in the top 5 of the Champions Tour points and is just waiting for his break to claim top honors.  With one of the Illinois boys claiming the title last year, the hopes of the team to defend the championship are really high.

In my opinion Donald Nelson and Mark Austin were two of the biggest surprises of the entire 2011 Champions Tour circuit.  Nelson introduced the "Lil Whip" Chevy Colorado at the kickoff event in Saluda, South Carolina and later claimed a win in Hamburg, New York.  The "Lil Whip" finished in the top five of the season- ending points and proved that the "good ol boy" from Texas is a true threat for a title.  Austin of Ashmore, Illinois kicked off his 2011 season by narrowly missing the finals of the National Farm Machinery Show.  Having added a Sassy Racing Engine to his Dodge for 2011 it was evident that the new combination really clicked for "Gamblin After Dark". The Dodge was one of the most consistent trucks on the circuit and if Mark can occasionally steal a win he may find himself in the hunt come Wheatland. 

New to the Pro Pulling League Pre-Commit list for 2012 is the Writsel Family of Orient, Ohio.  With the incredible performance Jeff Writsel "At it Again" put together it would be incredible if the team was to chase the entire points series.    If they choose not to, there is no question that Champions Tour competitors will take notice of the events that the guys from Ohio roll into with the previously mentioned "At it Again" and Ryan's Ford Ranger "Lucky Stryke".

Below you will find my Power Rankings for the Two Wheel Drive class to kick off the season.  There were many opportunities to gather points during the indoor season that I considered as well as factoring in the Champions from the points race last year.  With just seven days remaining until the Champions Tour kicks off in Saluda, South Carolina, and six weeks before the NTPA Grand National hook in Hazel Green many folks will have an opportunity to move their way up in the rankings very shortly.   

Power Rankings 
1) Jeff Writsel At it Again
2) John Mumma After Midnight
3) Randy Petro Kathy's Complaint
4) Tony Tatum Parts City 
5) Doug Theobald Wicked 
6) Jeremy Nelson Speedco Midnight Gambler 
7) Jacob Fuqua Trax  
8) Bill Oberste Missouri Gambler 
9) Wayne Sullivan Big Ed Red 
10) Long Motorsports Ridin Dirty

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