Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Website is Live

Miles Beyond 300 website is now live, please visit it at www.milesbeyond300.com!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tampico Friday Night

Tampico Friday Premier Crop Insurance Pro Stocks

1)Steve Boyd Lucas Oil Green Streak 311.13
2)Steve Wischmeier Barely Getting Bye 298.39
3)Tim Stone Rollin Stone 294.06
4)Dennis Boerson Greenline Express II 292.20
5)Ross Boerson Greenline Express 290.89
6)Travis Domann Hurricane Allis 289.48 
7)Brad Moss TS Performance Young Buck 287.61 
8)Rodney Schnitker Melt Down 285.32
9)Mickey Shorter Buck Eater II 285.26
10)Mike Linder Linder Brothers  283.99
11)Bryce VanGenderen Geared Green 283.79
12)Kevin Masterson River Rat 282.26
13)Don Masterson Tinker Toy 280.90
14)Randy Barreau Tool Times 2 269.57 
15)Dennis Boerson Extremely Green 269.00 
16)Dennis Schaubert The Hunted 252.95 
17)Stuart Maize Billet Binder 197.15 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Women on Wednesday Donna Krieger

This week's Women on Wednesday feature highlights a lady that I know quite well, my mother Donna Krieger.  In my personal opinion, my mom epitomizes the idea of a supportive wife and has for the last four decades while my father has pursued his announcing career.  In the eighties and nineties when my father was busy traveling with the SRO circuit and filming with ESPN, my mother was at home with three kids.  Though my mother may have sent my father out on the road, she has continually had her hand on my dad's shoulder in a support capacity to express her approval of his efforts.  My father's announcing career has helped to put all of us through school, including my moms Master's Degree in Education. 

In the years of my childhood, my mother had her favorite pulls that she would choose to take my siblings and I to including Charleston, West Virginia; Chapel Hill, Tennessee; Bowling Green, Ohio; and Owensboro, Kentucky.   Over the years as my brother and I desired to move closer to the track to truly get involved with the sport, my mom looked to move further away.  It wasn't her goal to not attend the pull but to change the confines in which she experienced it.  It has been my standing joke for years that my mother has been to more pulls than anyone without watching a vehicle hook to the sled.  Her routine to this day consists of packing the vehicle with snacks, magazines, and a blanket all while finding the biggest shade tree in the fairgrounds to park under.  While my father or I will be on the microphone announcing, mother will sit in the car to read her magazines cover to cover as well as listening to every word we say.

As the summer schedule continues to cycle for my dad as an announcer of the Pro Pulling League and NTPA, mom is still right by his side as they head down the road.  Her schedule still contains Chapel Hill, as she loves the Henry Horton State Park and the nature she can witness from her front porch all before sneaking in town for dinner at the Depot. Outside of the Marshall Putnam County Fairgrounds in Henry, Illinois is a Hallmark store that marks their calendar for the Saturday in July in which Donna Krieger will arrive to make her seasonal ornament purchases.  And in the village of Fort Recovery, Ohio and its surrounding community, the unique shops have definitely reaped the rewards of her being in town for some pulling action. 
In my entire life in pulling, I can only recall one time where my mother was frustrated at my dad, and in his defense, it wasn't his fault.  As my siblings got older and more involved, my mother would often have to stay home in order to help them meet the requirements of their schedule.  In the later part of the eighties, my dad took me to Brandenburg, Kentucky for the annual Meade County Fair.  Much to my dad's misfortune, mother nature opened up a down pour in the middle of the pull on this particular Friday night.  When it stopped raining around 9 o'clock, the officials decided the pull would go on, and they dug up the track to find the drain.  This process took forever, but to this day I remember the Meade County Fairgrounds draining like a toilet bowl.  To make a long story short, the pull ended around 2:30 am and my father I started on our way home.  This was before the era of cell phones and when we arrived at almost four in the morning, my mother was livid with my father for keeping her eight year old son out all night.  Needless to say about twelve hours later, my dad, mom and I were in the car on our way back for Saturday Night and one of those killer fish sandwiches that the Meade County Lions Club serves up. 

Though my mother may not possess the same dying passion for the sport that my father or I do, she possesses a passion for her family that is deeper than anything I have ever seen.  She values her time so much with her husband that she is willing to spend her entire weekend on the road at a pull, just so that she can spend the day or the later portion of the night with her loved one.  As I reflect on the support and love my mother has demonstrated toward my father over the years, I can't fathom how she could have been more supportive of my father and his goals as a pulling announcer.

This feature was put into place to highlight the strong supportive wives and ladies in this sport that continue to stand by their men without question and it goes with out saying that Donna Krieger falls into this category!  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kathy Petro truly has no complaints!

The truck that bears Kathy's name, but she has no complaints!
Have you ever wondered what Kathy's Komplaint truly is?  Is she tired of the noise and the expense of the hobby her husband and son compete in? Does she wish that her entire summer was not filled with traveling across the country?  Does she wish she had more time at home to work in the garden or follow the local news?  The answer to all of the previously mentioned questions is plain and simply, No.  She doesn't truly have a complaint, as she loves pulling and can think of nothing else she would rather do with her summer.  She loves pulling so much that she hates it when  fall arrives, since she knows it means the end of another year with her family on the road.  The combination of the noise, the travel and spending time with her family puts pulling at the forefront of her mind.  As the team continues to see success, Kathy understands they can't rest on their previous achievements but must do what they can to stay ahead of their tough competition.   "We go out each night to do the best we can and if we win that is wonderful, but if we don't then it's our goal to get back to work to shoot for it the next time" stated Kathy. 

The Petro Family has been a staple on the national pulling scene for the last three decades, but it started even before then.  Randy Petro was known for his prowess in the modified four wheel drive category but also because he had a truck that was convertible.  The rear axles could slide back and Randy would often enter the Super Modified Four Wheel Drive class as well.  As a resident motorhead, Kathy enjoyed going to pulls and the dirt late model races, so when she met Randy it was a perfect match.  "Randy was a puller before I came along and it just seemed right. That is what we would do.  Over the years we have continued to support the pulling community not just in our local area but on the Grand National and Regional Circuit as well" stated Kathy. That support is evident  as the family competes quite often, but it isn't just on the Grand National Circuit that they showcase their prowess.   They are not afraid to roll into a small brush pull in a neighboring state of their home in Ohio. 

Where it all began for Jessie Petro!
As Kathy and Randy began their family, it seemed only fitting that Randy would have a little boy to join the team.  In the nineties when Randy was running two two wheel drive trucks and his Modified/Unlimited, it was just natural that Jessie would assume driving duties of one of the two wheel drive trucks.  Jessie had helped in the shop and really learned a lot from his childhood nights in the shop next to his mom and dad.  Together the three of them form a triangle of knowledge and enthusiasm that makes them one of the most dominant forces in the game, however only Randy and Jessie will handle the driving duties.  As Kathy reflects on her desire to drive one day, she stumbles to get past the idea of replacing the first and second string in order to bring the third string driver to the competition.  So instead of driving, Kathy takes great pride in finding her way to the track to video tape.  Video taping has become such an important feature in the sport as each competitor wants to watch and learn from the footage of each previous pull.    

Understand that Kathy Petro is involved with the team; she is another set of hands who is capable of turning wrenches for her guys when they are working hard on one of the four two wheel drive trucks that they campaign.  "Randy and Jessie are well oiled machines when it comes to the shop, so I do my best not to disrupt the flow of production" added Kathy.  On a recurring basis, Kathy's tasks include helping to pull pistons and put them in their specific order on the rack that Jessie and Randy have designed.  If they need her to disassemble one of the Minor Brother's Racing engines that they lean so hard on, she is willing to get her hands dirty to ensure the guys can keep working on other jobs, however when it comes to assembly, Kathy opts to let the guys focus on that aspect. 

In the Petro household there has often been a discussion about who the driving force behind the team is and with a quick conversation with Kathy it quickly becomes apparent.  "My dad and I always joke that mom likes to go pulling more than we do.  She is there to support us in every facet; she does the things that are just as vital for us to get down the track but aren't recognized by the fans in the stands.  We truly couldn't ask for a more supportive person for what we do" commented Jessie Petro.  For her part, Kathy couldn't be more proud of what her guys have been able to achieve with their team over their lifetime within the sport. 

Jessie, Joey, Kathy, and Randy at Tomah!
Outside of the sport, Kathy Petro works hard to keep the family business in line in addition to Petro Motorsports.  Kathy is the secretary and works hard to make sure all of the bills are paid in a timely fashion.  On the motorsports side she serves as the secretary as well since she takes a weekly inventory of the trailer and works hard to restock it with essentials before each pull.  As the points races heat up, the guys have to look no further than Kathy's trusty notebook which contains a breakdown of the points on the Grand National circuit.  It is maintained by Kathy and her nephew Joey Frasur. 

Kathy Petro is a loving wife, a supportive mother, and a respected statistician, but most of all she is a diehard pulling fan who lends her observant eye and expertise to her guys from Camden, Ohio! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Unlimited Super Stock Power Rankings

NTPA Grand National

As far as I am concerned with the NTPA Championship race, there is truly one question that needs to be answered. Can Jordan Lustik keep up his winning ways or will the team of Chizek/Blackbourn disrupt the Silver Bullet's run at the top?  The 2011 introduction of the International Threat turned many heads on the Grand National circuit.  With Terry and Josh Blackbourn driving, the combination may be just enough to take the top honors.  The other tractor from the Chizek stables is, of course, Extremely Armed and Dangerous which has been a big contender on the circuit over the last few years.  Jordan Lustik and the Silver Bullet team fought tooth and nail through pulloffs and the duration of the 2011 season to claim the title.  I am very anxious to see how the ULSS class unfolds over the final few months of the season with the NTPA.

The GALOT team from North Carolina has continually gotten better with their Agco over the last couple years.  Fans of the beautiful Orange tractor can take great pride in the fact that the Strickland/Wells team will be in the mix from the gun with the NTPA Grand National Circuit.  

Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League
Two-time defending champion Jeff Hirt of Port Clinton, Ohio will be out in full force for 2012, with the Runin Bare and new tractor Fast Lane.  When you add the addition of the new tractor and a brand new baby boy named Lane, the Hirts should be in for an action packed summer.  If previous seasons hold true, Hirt will be around late in the season after taking some time to find his optimal setup.

My guess for the biggest contender for Hirt's title run is Neil Gettinger.  Gettinger of Hagerstown, Indiana put together a fairytale winter at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, where he swept both Thursday and Saturday Nights events.  The combination truly worked wonders indoors, and I expect Neil and the Lessons Learned to be near the top from the onset of the season.

The 2011 season saw the XXX Case MX of Frank Keener coming oh so close to wrapping up the title.  As Hirt hit his stride late in the season, Keener watched his lead fade away in the championship points.    Keener wants nothing more than to find the winning formula to bring his first Champions Tour title back home to Ohio.  There is no question that this team has the ability to win the title with the Pro Pulling League, and it very might happen come this fall. 

Other contenders could be the Hull/Kwiatkowski Team of Wisconsin and Michigan.  The Taking Care of Business John Deere has been around forever it seems in the ULSS class.  The amount of time that TCOB has been the class only illustrates the durability of the tractor and the knowledge of the team. 

Power Rankings
1) Neil Gettinger
2) Jordan Lustik
3) Josh Blackbourn
4) John Strickland
5) Jeff Hirt
6) Jason Evans
7) Joe Kwiatkowski
8) Sid Broughton
9) Frank Keener
10) Terry Blackbourn

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Women on Wednesday #1

Misty Board was a puller's daughter who grew up watching her father compete on the local circuit around her home in Mineral Wells, West Virginia.  Though her father would have been pleased to have a daughter who wanted to be a ballerina or pursue girl things, Brad Board had to have found an extra sense of pride in the fact that his daughters turned out to be a gearhead (Misty) and an athlete (Tiffany, Misty's Sister). The days Misty spent with her family in their red International school bus will never be forgotten.  Those days are what lead her down a path to the dream come true life she is living, better yet let’s call it a track that lead her to this life. 

As Misty turned sixteen her responsibilities for her dad's pulling team went from helping with the truck to occasionally piloting the truck.  In her debut, she drove off the track with a winning pass and greeted a teary eyed father who couldn’t have been more pleased.  The pulling schedule that the Board family followed lead them throughout West Virginia and portions of Ohio, but it was a pull in Mercer, Pennsylvania in 2004 that truly changed Misty’s world forever.   

At that very pull in 2004, she met the man that would complete her dream come true life, in the form of pulling superstar, Jordan Lustik.  Lustik of 84 Pennsylvania, had become a pulling sensation with the Lustik's Caterpillar powered Silver Bullet Unlimited Super Stock.  Misty was familiar with Jordan and his tractor from seeing him on television shows and magazines which covered the sport of pulling. 
Just like any first date should in a relationship built around power, Misty and Jordan had their first date at the NHRA event at National Trails Drag Strip in Columbus, Ohio.  They found a great rivalry as Jordan cheered on John Force and his date Gary Scelzi.  As Misty points out, Force did win that day, but it was the company she kept that had her feeling butterflies.  

In September of 2005, Misty became Mrs. Lustik and her fairytale began.  She immediately found herself involved with the day to day operations with the team, which she and Jordan began to live by a family mantra both on and off the track which is “whatever it takes, that’s what we will do." 

That approach to their life has truly made Misty a valuable asset with their business at home.  When Lauren was born, the Lustiks made the decision that Misty would not go back to work at her job in Human Resources, so that she could focus on raising Lauren and the family.  The value she brings to the daily tasks on the farm is immeasurable as Misty can be as hands on as Jordan needs her to be. Over the course of the busy farming season, Misty will operate the IH QuadTrac 530 and Kinze1000 Bushel grain cart, the header cart, the seed tender, as well as helping to keep up with the tasks around the home such as mowing.  As much as Misty loves to go pulling, she is quick to point out that if things are not efficiently run at home, it would not be possible to make all of the trips that the Grand National Circuit requires.

Since the Lustik family entered the sport of pulling, the team has had a deep driven approach to professionalism, which Misty is now the backbone of. She works hard to ensure the team uniforms are clean, as well as the immaculate hauler they travel the country in.   Additionally, she is responsible for maintaining the merchandise for the team and if you haven't seen some of the awesome shirts and apparel the team has, you need to make it a priority.  

Last summer, Misty’s chores doubled with the addition of the biggest Bullet fan, Lauren.  Having Lauren allowed her mother to showcase her ability to multi-task as Misty would often strap Lauren to her chest in the carrier in order to operate the leaf blower and cool down the heads of the Bullet before a pulloff.  Misty being able to cool the headers, allowed Jordan and Rich the opportunity to focus on the setup and any changes they may need to make for the next run.  Misty's willingness to get involved with the tractor is something that Jordan truly appreciates.

Typically, the road crew consists of Jordan, Misty, Lauren, and Jordan’s father Rich.  With their only being four of them, Misty finds herself busy throughout the weekend, but one of the most valuable facets of her duties is to film each of Jordan’s passes.  Being able to review the video from each passing event gives the Lustiks a chance to truly understand how the tractor was running and what it may have reacted to with the setup.  After the pull, Misty will take to the computer to update the wide spread following of fans that are the Bullet Nation.  She does so by maintaining the team's social media pages and working with many facets of public relations. 

As the Peterbilt is heading down the road, Misty becomes the source of knowledge for both Rich and Jordan, as they want to know results from the pulls around the country and what their current points standings look like. Misty beams up her Droid and works to inform the men of all of the goings on within the pulling world!

As Misty looks to the future, she is thrilled by the idea of her daughter growing up in the same environment that she and Jordan did.  It has become Misty’s goal not just to be a wife but to emulate the likes of other pulling wives like Rona Veney and Arlene Archer that have been a firm foundation for which to allow their husbands and children to be successful.  It is evident that in her short time as the central point of the Bullet team, she is well on her way to achieving her goal.  For the short term, her goals include finding a routine with a newly walking little girl on the road with the NTPA.

What does the future hold for Misty Lustik? One can only guess, but Misty has a strong hope that it holds a throttle and a full time ride on the second team tractor, the “Silver Bullet Reloaded."  As a fan of pulling, I personally cannot wait to watch her strap in and take the ride she has earned!  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Shell Rotella Burn Notice

There are many terms that are used throughout the Assumption Fire Department in which Craig Corzine volunteers his time, but one of the most talked about sayings over the last few months has been the phrase “Burn Notice”.  Though the phrase is not a term used in the day to day operations of the fire department it still appears to be on everyone’s mind.  “Burn Notice” has become famous over the last several years thanks to Jeffrey Donovan and the lovely Gabrielle Anwar who star in a highly successful series on the USA Network that features Donovan’s character as an agent.  It isn’t that the members of the Assumption Fire Department are talking about the show and their reflections of the weekly episodes but more they are excited to watch their fellow member Craig saddle up in a 2012 Chevy Colorado that dawns the name “Burn Notice”.  

Craig and his wife Ashley are no strangers to the pulling scene, as Craig has been a very valued member of the Koester Racing Team and Ashley of course has continued her efforts of broadcasting the NTPA covered shows on RFD TV.  Since Craig and Ashley took their vows, many pulling fans have been waiting for the moment when they would have their own pulling machine based in Assumption, Illinois and today marks the debut of their first step into pulling as a family.  “We have loved our time on the road with Ashley’s family and can’t wait to continue to run with them on some of the Grand National events, but we are so excited to be able to pull closer to home and support the ITPA as well” stated Craig.  

Photo Credit to Marty Wilson
Just as any project seems to come together, the last few weeks have been a true test of Craig’s patience as he had to take the time to button up all of the little monotonous pieces that accompany a 6200lb Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Truck, all while finishing his duties on the family farm.  With help and support from many of Craig’s friends and family, the “Burn Notice” made some noise for the first time yesterday and took a short tour of the parking lot at the Corzine’s home.  Having the vehicle fire and move, gave Craig approximately 24 hours to prepare himself for his debut attempt behind the wheel of his new toy, as tonight in Charleston, Illinois, the fans will be treated to a glimpse of the new truck in action at the Cornbelt Shrine Smoke ‘N’ Noise pull.  

Craig and Ashley did not cut any corners in their approach to developing a highly competitive truck, which features a Miner Brothers Racing Engine, (the very one that guided Craig’s brother-in-law Adam to the ring last year in Bowling Green in the Mini Modified class) and a brand new Jostock Chassis, which was custom fit for Craig in  Terry Jostock’s shop in Lapeer, Michigan and sponsorship support from Shell Rotella. "After years of watching Adam, Larry and Caesar work so hard to promote the Shell brand, I am honored to get a chance to fly the colors of such a remarkable company that has meant so much to our family and I can't wait to put my firesuit on for the first time in Charleston" stated Corzine.

Photo Credit to Marty Wilson
With the highly touted power plant and a winning chassis combination it is only a matter of time until this newly formed machine is turning heads on the state and Grand National level.  Knowing that he had the makings of a winning combination in his hands, Craig also made a phone call to Jeremy Nelson, a fellow class member and owner of Nelson Custom Paint and Body in Sidney, Illinois.  When it comes to Two Wheel Drive Trucks in Illinois, the majority of them have had the hands of Jeremy and his staff hard at work on them at one time or another.  That phone call allowed Jeremy, his staff, Craig, and airbrush mastermind Shawn Ealy to get to work on what would be the final look of the truck.  

Pulling fans may ask what exactly is a Burn Notice?   In truth Wikipedia defines it as: " A statement issued by an intelligence agency to other agencies."  It states that an asset or intelligence source is unreliable for one or more reasons.  This is essentially a directive for the recipient to disregard or burn all information derived from that individual or group.  However, in our small pulling circle we all know that a “Burn Notice” is an immaculate Chevy Colorado from Illinois! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Youngbuck Reveal

Have you ever found yourself sitting in the bleachers or standing in the pit area just lost in the beauty of Miles Stratton and Brad Moss’ Youngbuck?  I will never forget the first time I saw it in Owensboro, Kentucky.   The John Deere 7930 had such clean lines and an awesome appearance that I couldn’t stop looking at it and now that it has been out for years, I still find myself captivated by its distinct look.  Understand that I value the craftsmanship of every single pulling tractor and pulling machine in the sport and enjoy looking closely at the new details that pullers bring to the game.   I find myself from time to time reflecting on the professionalism and attention to detail that every puller seems to invest in their pulling equipment and it just blows my mind that a puller doesn’t forget the little things.  It was evident to me that Brad and Miles had not forgotten a detail with their first attempt of a pulling tractor.  

When B&M Motorsports first debuted the tractor in 2007, the immediate question that arose in my mind was:  "Where are the graphics?  Why is there no name on the side of the tractor?"   With a simple answer Brad Moss said: “Fans will know the name of the tractor and we prefer the clean look of it as it is”.  I was baffled as I couldn’t really recall a purely clear canvas and a tractor that did not have a logo, name, sponsor or anything on the shields.  In time the tractor has grown on me and many other folks who have come to know the distinct look of the Youngbuck.  

With great thought and a tremendous amount of preparation the B&M Motorsports Team  is prepared to re-introduce the pulling community to the new look of a fan favorite.  New for the 2012 season, Brad Moss and Miles Stratton have changed their tractor and it’s distinct look to dawn the name of TS Performance.  Both Moss and Stratton believe firmly in the product line of TS Performance and have cultivated a strong bond with the owners Dennis and Sheila Perry.  The relationship has been cultivated from the ground up with all parties sharing a simple bond in the love of diesel power and a desire to help grow the branding for TS.  After several years of conversing about sponsoring the Youngbuck, Dennis finally told the boys from Kentucky:  "We are going to do this", and the next steps were taken to get the TS Performance Youngbuck ready for its debut on the home turf of Franklin, Kentucky.  
Many folks may ask why they want to change that immaculate tractor and all I can say is change is a good thing.  In the sport where high volumes of capital are invested to go pulling, it is wonderful that teams are able to find a sponsorship to help them perform at the top of their game.  Secondly, if you know Brad Moss and Miles Stratton, you would understand that they simply would not change the tractor if they didn’t feel it was for the better.   With two of the keenest eyes in the game and undeniable attention to detail it is certain the boys from Schochoh, Kentucky are going to continue to turn heads with their John Deere 7930 Youngbuck.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TS Performance Weekend

Those who follow truck and tractor pulling have certainly noticed that with each passing year, diesel pulling classes are growing exponentially.  As interest in the sport continues to grow so too does the pursuit for more power and efficiency under the hood within the diesel engine.  Another big change for pulling in the last decade has been the introduction of the diesel weekend, an action packed showcase of power and performance among the most knowledgeable diesel minds in the country.  This weekend in Franklin, Kentucky, a meeting of the diesel minds will take place at the TS Performance Show. 
What is TS Performance you might ask?   It is one of the most up and coming companies in the country thanks to its attention to detail and ability to improve upon fuel economy and power for diesel engines.  TS Performance was started in 1997 by Dennis and Sheila Perry and is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  What began as a personal challenge for Dennis to help a few friends find more power has grown into something beyond the Perry’s imagination.  From its inception, the Perry’s have understood the importance of giving back to the community in which they are so involved, and thus, they started the TS Performance weekend.  

The weekend began with diesel drag racing and a bikini competition but has continually grown and expanded with the brand.  Each year the customer’s of TS Performance encourage the Perry’s and their staff to raise the bar yet again, not just to showcase their power to their customers but also their commitment to giving back.  With that in mind, the Sled Pull was added several years ago  to make the schedule even more exciting for the diesel fanatics.  With a full list of classes contested, pulling action goes on for the better portion of Saturday with the 2.6 trucks vying for valuable qualifying positions in Saturday Night’s finals.   The Saturday Night session will feature the Pro Stock Tractors, Super Farm Tractors, Super Stock Diesel Trucks, Pro Street Diesel Trucks, 2.6 Diesel Trucks, and a little bit of noise thanks to the Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Trucks.  The classes will be sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League and will serve as the inaugural event for the 2012 Midwest Region.
Having known very little about TS Performance, I was excited when the idea came up about a feature to highlight the weekend of action in Franklin.  Before I could gather all of the necessary information I wanted in order to fully write a story, I was treated to a firsthand experience of the power of a TS Performance application.  Over the weekend, I traveled to Lincolnton, North Carolina for the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour event and rather than travel south by myself, I caught a lift with Jared and Bethany Nelson of Altamont, Illinois.  As we traveled through the Smokey Mountains and later the Gorge, I remember asking Jared what he had done to improve the power of his Peterbilt.  The simple answer was a new TS Peformance box and the proof of its power was evident as we left every other semi in the dust as we traveled through the mountains.  I found it to be so fitting that I would be able to give a personal testimonial of the raw power and improvements that it made to the pace at which the Nelson’s Peterbilt could travel.  However, what impressed Jared the most was not its power but efficiency with fuel mileage over the more than one thousand miles traveled. 
Photo Credit John Kraust
If you are free this weekend and are looking for a way to express your love for pulling and diesel smoke, look no further than the TS Performance Weekend.  Spend the day on Friday at historic Beech Dragway, where if history repeats itself records are sure to fall.  Wake up Saturday morning with a tour of the Vendor Alley to learn more about the products that exist to allow your diesel engine to run happy.  After the Vendor Alley, show your power and compare it to others on the Dyno.   Conclude your morning with a visit to the Show N Shine and a picture with the “Fuel Girls.”  At 11:00, the qualifying will start on the pulling track for the 2.6 trucks, and if all goes well, you should be able to make your way to the Bikini competition on the stage at 3:00.  At 6:00, the smoke will be flying as the pulling will begin and all six classes will be vying for bragging rights as the 2012 winner of the TS Performance Pull.
For more information on TS Performance and the weekend’s festivities, please visit www.tsperformance.com.  The question has been asked what will TS do to raise the bar in 2012 and only those in attendance will be able to find out! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lincolnton Saturday Night

The second night of Lincolnton is in the books!  The track was much more favorable this evening for the competitors of the Champions Tour and required a tremendous amount of power.   Below are the results from tonight’s competition.  My thoughts on the event will be posted early in the coming week.
1)Taking Care of Business Aaron  Hull 303.95
2)Bambi Duane Keener 300.53
3)Lesson’s Learned Neil Gettinger 299.35
4)XXX Frank Keener 295.16
5)Out of Time Aaron Hull 285.91
6)Fully Loaded Jeff Hothem 283.15
7)Runin Bare Jeff Hirt 281.99 

1)After Midnight John Mumma 307.79
2)MAV TV Keith Long 306.91 
3)Big Ed Red Donnie Sullivan 301.70
4)Midnight Madness Jordan Nelson 301.46
5)Midnight Gambler Jeremy Nelson 299.50
6)Lil Whip Donald Nelson 298.71
7)Ridin Dirty Keith Long 298.70
8)General Tire Cutting Edge Grayson Shelton 295.76
9)Gamblin After Dark Mark Austin 295.62
10)Midnight Revenger Jared Nelson 295.29
11)Full Throttle Lisa Tatum 292.90
12)Stimulus Package Chris Smith 292.18
13)Parts City Tony Tatum 290.99
14)Driller Tim Messer 285.38 

1)Takes A Lickin Steve Bunnage 317.43
2)75th Edition Joe Eder 313.08
3)Mr. Twister Scott Tedder 305.15
4)Mav TV/Lucas Oil Ricky Long 298.99
5)Shannon Leischner 298.16
6)Shel-Shocked Stan Shelton 293.67
7)Down and Dirty Michael Stewart 287.92
8)The Apache Darrick Barga 282.92
9)DirtChallenger Shannon Leischner 281.68
10)Texas Bullwhip Donald Nelson 272.17
11)The Judge Ron Barga Jr. 266.25
12)The Kentuckian Wayne Sullivan 216.16

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lincolnton, North Carolina

Night one in Lincolnton, North Carolina is in the books and was a success!  The track left many veteran pullers scratching their heads as they needed to find a means to get the rear tires hooked and pulling.  The folks of North Carolina were thrilled to have pulling back in Lincolnton after a few decade hiatus. 

Full results are posted below for the three classes of action.  Pulling will resume tomorrow evening at 7pm EST. 

Modified Tractor
1 Takes a Lickin Steve Bunnage 314.64
2 Mr. Twister Scott Tedder 286.18
3 The Judge Ron Barga Jr. 285.25
4 Kentuckian Wayne Sullivan 281.16
5 Dirt Challenger Shannon Leischner 271.51
6 Texas Bull Whip Donald Nelson 257.02
7 Mav TV/ Lucas Ricky Long 251.59
8 Dirtslinger Shannon Leischner 243.74
9 Shel-Shocked Stan Shelton 233.01
10 The Apache Darrick Barga 219.28
11 Down and Dirty Michael Stewart   178.68
12 75th Edition Joe Eder 174.92

Super Modified Two Wheel Drive
1 Donald Nelson Lil Whip 314.31
2 Jordan Nelson Midnight Madness 308.73
3 Jared Nelson Midnight Revenger 306.56
4 Jeremy Nelson Speedco Midnight Gambler 304.31
5 Tim Messer Driller 297.62
6 Mark Austin Gamblin After Dark 290.39
7 Keith Long Mav TV 285.60
8 John Mumma After Midnight 280.06
9 Tony Tatum Parts City 269.12
10 Donnie Sullivan Big Ed Red 268.25
11 Chris Smith Stimulus Package  265.64
12 Grayson Shelton General Tire Cutting Edge  364.89
13 Lisa Tatum Full Throttle 257.47
14 Keith Long Ridin Dirty 254.86

Unlimited Super Stock 

1 Jeff Hothem Fully Loaded 295.76
2 Aaron Hull Taking Care of Business 285.44
3 Aaron Hull Out of Time 280.76
4 Neil Gettinger Lessons Learned 274.55
5 Duane Keener Bambi 273.45
6 Billy Keener XXX 255.62
7 Jeff Hirt Runin Bare 195.67

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do you know Larry Koester?

2010 photo of Larry in action!
Do you know Larry Koester?  Sure, I am confident you could pick him out at a tractor pull or in a room full of people, but do you truly know him?   Do you know the family man that he is?  Have you seen his eyes well up and his heart melt at the site of his granddaughter?  Do you know the successful businessman that operates a company from his home in Wadesville, Indiana?  Have you looked beyond the surface to gather an understanding of how this man has become the giant that he is in so many people's lives?

I ask these questions not to exude some arrogance for the knowledge I have of Larry and his family but more to encourage all of you to look beyond his initial appearance and see the real him.  Don't just allow yourself to assume you may know his character because you watched him make a full pull or heard him ask for help for the kids of Northwest Ohio.  Those actions are daily. They are ingrained in the man that is Larry Koester and are more of the makeup of this man than a measure of his character. 
Carsen meets Grandpa!

As you all know, I often draw on my childhood in the sport to find comparisons and a stronger understanding of what truck and tractor pulling is today.  As a child growing up within pulling there were few people that impacted my life more than Larry Koester.  I knew Larry Koester before he was the successful professional tractor puller that spent his off season at appearances and meet and greets for his sponsor Shell.  I knew Larry Koester when he traveled the circuit with a Chevy dually and a short enclosed trailer, but my true understanding of who he is didn't occur until I looked beyond Larry's physical appearance and saw the man he is inside.  The lessons that Larry can teach one are immeasurable and grow depending upon the amount of time you can invest with him.  

The big walk, as he escorts Ashley!
To see Larry standing tall on his daughter Ashley's wedding day was truly an experience that I will never forget, but to those who know him, there are no legs to be worn that can make him as tall as we see him already.  Larry is a loving husband, a proud father, a successful businessman, a professional puller, a tireless philanthropist, but most of all he is real.  He has the ability to share a moment with everyone; from a young boy who Larry helped gain a wish with the Make a Wish organization, to an adoring fan on the sidelines at a pull or a Fortune 500 Companies CEO, Larry can look a person square in the eye and gain their respect for more than just his character in the face of adversity.

What makes this man tick is an undying self motivation, a focus on being successful and a true devotion to go above and beyond the norm.  His passion and zest for life are contagious, spreading through his inner circle like a wild fire.  He stays grounded by pouring himself into the things his most passionate about, his family, his friends, pulling and music.  Did I ask if you knew of Larry's love of music?  Have you heard his baritone voice belt out an Elvis song?  If you haven't heard him sing, I challenge you to join in on one of the impromptu karaoke sessions conducted on his John Deere Gator after a pull.  Watching him sing will only punctuate Larry's strong passion for life!

Larry signs autographs with Bill Goldberg!
One may ask the question, how do I know Larry Koester?  The answer is simple.  Though I have grown taller, Larry still reaches my height in every occurrence.  Larry's favorite saying is:  "You don't need feet to kick butt".  What Larry has taught me is you don't need feet for a lot of things especially the measure of a man.

Do you know Larry Koester?  Do you truly know him?

Photo credit to Tracy Waters

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grayson Shelton is the new man in town!

Photo Credit Jesse Post JP Pulling Productions
Since he was a little boy, Grayson Shelton has been his fathers sidekick as they traveled across the country to pulls on the circuit.   Though he may not have a full memory of all of the trips he made as a young man, one memory rings true and that was at the age of ten when someone asked him if he would drive a pulling truck someday?  The young man from New London, North Carolina was quick to answer the question with a very simple, Heck Yes!  From that moment, the next generation puller began to pay a little bit more attention, but it wasn't until a few years ago that Grayson began making mental notes in preparation of the time when he would be able to strap in behind the wheel of 2500 horses.  With full intentions of having his chance to pull in the future, Grayson began to ask his father pulling legend Stan Shelton more and more about pulling.  Having shared such a special bond of loving the sport, Stan couldn't have been more proud to share his knowledge with his son and over time he began to give more team responsibilities to Grayson.   What the high schooler took with him into his debut last weekend in Saluda, South Carolina was a an open mind and a willingness to learn a new facet of the sport.  "We tried really hard to make sure that Grayson was prepared to do all of the little things that add up before he would actually begin his pull.  It can be trying for a puller to get backed up to the sled and remain composed.  Grayson practiced backing up to me at home before we left for the pull and I felt like he was prepared to just focus on driving," stated a proud father Stan.

As a proud father stood track side on Friday night, a nervous son worked his way back to the pulling sled.  After pulling forward just slightly to tighten up on the drawbar, Grayson took a deep breath to compose himself and then bent the throttle over on his General Tire Cutting Edge Ford.  Just about ten seconds later, Grayson found himself floating through the air as he powered down the track, which was all part of the plan his father had set up for him.  "We wanted him to have to drive the truck so we did not weigh the front of it down.  Grayson did a great job driving the truck and gradually applied the brake to bring the front of the truck back down," added Stan.
Photo Credit Jesse Post JP Pulling Productions

As an avid hunter and outdoorsmen, Grayson has developed a tremendous amount of patience and maturity for a young man.  Both maturity and patience are attributes that his father and team believe will allow him to grow and experience longevity behind the wheel of a truck.  For now Grayson will focus on winding down his sophomore year at North Stanly High School with full intentions of spending a summer on the road with his new truck and his mentor father!    

Miles Beyond 300 took a minute to catch up with Grayson after his big weekend in Saluda for a Question and Answer session .

Can you describe the way you felt leading into the pull and how it felt to burn the tires in with your Ford Ranger?
My first pass in the truck meant so much to me after watching all those years and then finally getting my chance to drive was just indescribable.

What did you learn from Friday Night to Saturday?
One thing I learned in transition from Friday night to Saturday night was driving style.  On Friday night, the plan was just the typical ease into the throttle and get the truck going, but on Saturday night, my dad told me to get after it a little quicker, which I did.

What was the most challenging point of the run for you?
The most challenging part of the run was the first part and easing into the throttle in attempt to avoid burning the tires off the truck.

Was it as easy as you may have thought or more difficult?
Going into the pull I was thinking that I had a good idea at what I was doing and how to drive the truck.
Photo Credit Jesse Post JP Pulling Productions

What is it like being the youngest person in the league?

Being the youngest puller in the league is so cool.  My dad and crew member's tell me that since I am a rookie, nothing is expected out of me.

Other than your father did you receive advice from your competitors?

I didn't really receive any advice from my competitors, but they were all wishing me luck telling me I would do fine. Most of them came up and shook my hand after the pull and told me I did a great job which really meant a lot to me.  It just goes to show what a good group of competitors the Pro Pulling League has!

Can you describe your experience in Saluda in a word?
One word to describe Saluda...Incredible.

Were you nervous, What did you do to manage your nerves?
I wasn't really nervous until the television interviews started and I started suiting up to compete.  When I got in the truck and all ready to go, I was nervous beyond belief!

Did you develop any sort of ritual you hope to follow with each pull?
Photo Credit Jesse Post JP Pulling Productions
Before every pull I like to take a deep breath and relax.  I just try to tell myself that this is my time to shine, and it's just me and my truck.

What are your goals as you head into your rookie season?
My goal for each pull is to beat one more competitor than I did last time and hopefully have good finishes by the end of the season.

What did your dad tell you after you drove off the track? 
My dad told me when I drove off the track that I did a great job, which meant a lot to me!  My dad is my mentor and the person I look up to.  Pulling is our thing together as we get to spend a lot of time throughout the summer traveling, and I am so excited as we plan to pull together this season.

What advice would you give to the ten year old boy or girl who is dreaming of being in your shoes someday?
Pay attention to the game and learn everything you can.

Special thanks to Grayson and Stan Shelton for sharing this story with Miles Beyond 300 and to Jesse Post of JP Pulling Productions for the photos. 

Watch Grayson take a ride over the weekend, as well as his father's first pass of the season on Shel-Shocked! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM67DCHyWlE