Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Closing Reflections on the 2012 Show and answers to the questions I was asked the most in Louisville!!

This will be my final reflection on the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show and all of the action that took place in Freedom Hall.  I have been trying to compose all of my thoughts and beliefs on the magic that is the NFMS.  Let me first say that I am typically one that is quite resistant to change and in my day to day life I don’t like to waver from what it is I know.  I have come up with a few topics that I wanted to highlight and then I have posted a list of questions that were the most commonly asked of me at the Farm Show. 
Full Pull’s
As a fan I would like to see the Farm Show reward competitors for hitting the sand pile by setting a full pull.  As I sat in the session on Saturday afternoon, I was disappointed that Mike Happe did not make the pulloff.  Happe was the first competitor to truly make it to the sand but a tractor later the full pull was set less than a foot beyond his distance and thus he was not in the pulloff.  Happe had already made two runs and of course the idea of running a third time may have put major strain on his equipment but in my humble opinion, he was worthy of being in that shoot out for the top three.  It did become pretty evident that from class to class the track had changed and thus getting an exact setting on the sled was a bit of a challenge right off the bat. 

Four years ago the committee and fair board chose to make a change in replacing Harold Walliser and hiring Dave Bennett.   I considered myself lucky to have had some work experience with Dave in 2006 and 2007 while traveling with the Outlaw’s.   As I was beginning my announcing career, two men other then my father were influential in educating me on announcing and they were Art Downs of Illinois fame and Dave Bennett.  For those of you who have not had a chance to travel west of the Mississippi, you should, to get a real feel of the prowess and knowledge Dave brings to his craft as the voice of the Outlaws.  Over the last few years Dave has found his feet as one of the announcers and has been diligently doing his homework on each of the competitors selected.  His research has not just been limited to the computer as Dave is working to develop relationships with the competitors he doesn’t see regularly over the summer.  Being around Broadbent Arena a fair amount this year I witnessed Dave holding court with many competitors throughout the afternoon hours.   I feel that Butch and Dave did a great job at the 2012 show and displayed a lot of chemistry which they have been working to develop over the last few years. 

On the Same Topic of Announcing
The message boards have been buzzing with the idea of a third announcer for the Farm Machinery Show.  The tasks of this announcer would be to bring new feature stories to the track and highlight some of the current events while Butch and Dave provide the commentary.  I agree firmly that the idea of an announcer being on the track to relay new features would be welcomed and could add more color to the event.  There are many great announcers out there who could fill this role should the Farm Show decide to go this route. 

Every year the competition gets better and the professionalism rises.  Folks take being accepted to this event as a great privilege and it becomes quite evident in the amount of time they spend in preparation for their fifteen seconds in front of the fans.  I want to commend the competitors on their friendliness and willingness to visit with fans and passersby while on display in Broadbent.  You never know who is watching and it is a great testament to our sport to see such wonderful ambassadors who are willing to stand by their respective vehicles for hours to answer questions and pose for photos.  Finally, I was amazed to see how much joy and excitement the selected competitors brought to the Wednesday Night Autograph session in Freedom Hall.  It was clear that the folks chosen to be a part of the panel of signers were very glad to be representing their class, vehicle and in some cases sponsors. 
Over the week in Louisville, I was asked many questions and I chose to answer several of those questions in this final reflection of Farm Machinery Show Topic.  

What do you think of the schedule? 
I truly enjoy the current format of the show and the way the committee has it laid out.  I am a fan of variety and though Diesel heads or Diehard tractor guys will disagree, I believe the noise classes actually provide a great addition to the show.  I loved the story line of this year where the older statesmen battled against Jacob Fuqua for the finals.  On the National circuit be it PPL or NTPA one of the toughest divisions year in and year out is the Twd Class and thus I hope they stay put.

What class would I like to see in Freedom Hall?
I am a big fan of Limited Pro or the 4.1 Turbo class.  I love the level of competition they bring to the table and the number of quality tractors that have developed in the few shorts years since the class’s inception.  Pro Stock has always been something I loved and the 4.1 class is actually the closest thing to the set up the Pro’s ran when I was younger.  Many Super Farm competitors have made the jump up to this class and I truly believe the direction of the Super Farm class as a whole may be leaning this way in the future.  Adding the class would be wonderful but the major question is:  who would it replace?  Right now I would say the Diesel Supers, but if Esdon Lehn and Brian Shramek can pulloff their revitalization in 2012 the Diesels will be back.  

Should Farm Show add a second Light Super Stock class? 
I don’t believe this would be a good choice as I think it would water down the quality of the single session.  There are truly fifteen to twenty solid running Light Super Stock tractors and adding more would take away from the show itself.  The one thing I would like to see is the Diesels and Alky’s running together in one class.  Esdon has proven over the last few summers that “Redline Lite” can fight with the best in the class on any given night. 

When am I going to be announcing with my dad in Louisville?
I didn’t really discuss this much in my critique of the announcing as I wanted to save it for this question.  Over the years this has been the question that I am asked the most and my answer has always been the same.  I want to be an announcer at the Farm Show and if I am ever called upon to do so, it will be because I have earned it.  I did not want to ride my father’s coat tails into Freedom Hall and thus for that very reason, I have never asked him to try to help me.  It has been my goal to hone my skills as an announcer, to learn from all of the great people with whom I have been able to work with over the years and develop my own style.  These folks have taught me a lot over the years and have inspired me to work harder in order to learn more about this sport: Leslie Mears, Stacey Butson, Art Downs, Dave Bennett, and of course Butch Krieger.  

No one is prouder of my father and all of his achievements than I, but when I started in 2003, it was my goal to do this on my own and without a lot of influence from him.  It is my hope to be on the floor of Freedom Hall someday but until then I will keep working to grow and learn.  

How do I come up with the topic of a specific blog?
Each individual story line has either been something that ran through my mind that I wanted to highlight or it was something that was suggested to me by someone reading the blog.  If you are reading this and have a question or idea for a story please send it to Milesbeyond300@gmail.com.   I have several stories in the works and will also be doing a few interviews this week for feature stories to be on the blog in March.  Thanks for reading!

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! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fair Board Changeup?

Being a former Louisvillian, I often jump on the local publication, the Courier Journal to read the news and follow my high school's sports accomplishments.  In today's paper there was a discussion on the topic of Harold Workman and his tenure as the President and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board! 

I wanted to share this link with all of the folks that follow my blog in hopes that you all may be further educated on the situation involving Mr. Workman.   We should find out more after tomorrow's board meeting! 

Courier Journal

National Farm Machinery Show 2012

It seems this occurs every year, my friends and I spend weeks looking forward to the National Farm Machinery Show, only to be disappointed by how quickly the show comes and goes.  My experience at the Farm Show this year was totally different than previous years, as I treated this season as a chance to grow and promote Miles Beyond 300.  The results of my week in Louisville will be coming to the blog in the near future, as I conducted numerous interviews and got several suggestions for feature stories.  It was very humbling to walk into Broadbent Arena and meet someone who is reading the blog!  On a spur of the moment decision, I chose to write a story about Louisville and the unique places travelers could visit while in the city for the pull.  It was unreal the feedback I received from people who had made their way to one of the attractions we highlighted.  It has prompted me to work even harder for next years Travel Guide, while considering making suggestions for some of the great pulltowns that I am blessed to travel too.

Before the pull began, I wrote a story highlighting the classes that I felt would be the most exciting at Louisville in 2012!  My prediction was truly off as the Wednesday Pro Stock definitely left something to be desired.  There were a few tractors that suffered breakage, while the cutthroat sort of competition I expected never quite made it to the track.  Wednesday was highlighted by Brett Berg's Moneymaker winning the Modified Tractor class with a solid cross tracking strategy.  Brett as the first puller in the pulloff laid a run down that was untouchable.  Another big highlight of the evening was Jody Ross grabbing a surprising win with his McCormick in the Super Stock Diesel class.  In all the Wednesday Night session started the week off but left my wanting more!

Thursday Night belonged to Neil Gettinger!  In 2010 Neil bought a very potent tractor from Ken Measel, the tractor formerly known as Mining for Dollars had, had great success on the NTPA Grand National circuit as well as the NFMS.  In 2011, Neil brought an updated tractor out on the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour.  Gettinger took quite quickly to driving an alcohol super as opposed to the old standby Diesel he was so used too.  Watching it all come together on Thursday Night for the Lesson's Learned team was a true testament to the hard work and effort the Gettinger's have put forward.

Additionally on Thursday night we saw Jeff Writsel lay down a sensational pass with his At it Again C-cab.  Jeff's truck performed the best on a track that threw many savvy veterans a curve ball.  I believe Jeff truly drove that truck perfectly and they had it tuned to respond exactly how it needed too.  Jacob Fuqua dodged many a bullet from the pole position to find his way to the finals in his debut in Louisville! 

Friday Night we saw John Mumma make his way back to the winner's circle with his After Midnight Chevy SSR.  Mumma, the fourth of the Midnight Motorsports trucks to hit the track did a great job of driving as he took the win by a large margin in the Two Wheel Drive class. The win marks his second trip to a preliminary title in as many attempts!   Ken Couch announced his presence in the Pro Stock class with a remarkable pass that truly showed the power of his tractor.  The Cotton Pickn Deere may be one of the best kept secrets in the sport as he typically stays on the Mid South circuit and doesn't venture out to the National circuit very often.  Couch went on to win the class by five feet and sent the message he was ready for Saturday Night. The other winner on Friday was Norm Kavan, this guy comes to play in Louisville every year and the outcome is often the same.  He is one of the safest bets in Louisville as a qualifier for the finals!

It is no secret that last year's Saturday Afternoon session was lacking in excitement and was incredibly drawn out.  I was one that believed that the diesel truck class may have wore out their welcome before they truly even got a chance to enjoy the NFMS. I want to commend the committee on sticking with them and providing them another chance as they brought a much better show to the crowd this year.  The Saturday Afternoon session in my opinion was the best of the four preliminary sessions, with a great Diesel truck class to start the show.  The afternoon's most exciting class may have been the Light Supers; with the unreal wheel speeds and variety of tractors competing they did a great job of showcasing their class.  The pull-off came down to Brian Korth times two and Mike Wilhite's Blue Blazes.  In the end Korth kept his streak alive as he has not been defeated in the Light Super class at Louisville.  The final class of the afternoon belonged to Danny Schmucker of Louisville, Ohio.  Much like Norm Kavan on Friday, The Schmucker's are one of the safest bets to make the finals annually and they didn't fray from that, as the Rampage grabbed the win.

The finals were solid in each of the divisions, with seasoned veterans and NFMS winners finding their way back to the front of the pack.  Jeff Writsel, Joe Eder, Neil Gettinger, Darrin Hunt, Esdon Lehn and Mike Linder were the event winners in their respected classes.  That breaks down to winners from these respective states: 2 Ohio, 1 Minnesota, 1 Indiana, 1 New York, and 1 Kentucky.  There were many great side stories and battles in the finals, but in my opinion the most exciting class of the evening was the Unlimited Super Stock class.  I am a straight shooter almost always, so it was no secret that I believed this class had gotten stale and was in need of a facelift.  The facelift came in the form of Neil Gettinger, Sjors Zienstra and Jordan Lustik in a pulloff.  We had the staple in the Silver Bullet (Lustik) representing AGCO, the veteran puller in a new place in Lesson's Learned (Gettinger) flying the red flag, and Sjors from the Netherlands carrying the banner of John Deere with his New Born Deere.  The excitement was flowing through Freedom Hall for this pulloff! 

The NFMS was great again this year!  There are certainly a few things that I would like to see changed but in the end, I was pleased as punch to be sitting in Freedom Hall watching the best pullers in the country fighting for bragging rights.

My next blog will be the top 10 moments/stories of the NFMS, where I hope to highlight some of the great achievements of the action packed week in Louisville!  Additionally, I will have a discussion of a few things that I noticed along the way.

The Photos that my brother Jeremy and I took are gradually being posted to the Miles Beyond 300 Facebook page, if you aren't following us please do so and help yourself to the pictures.  We are still learning but there are a few keepers in the pile! 


Thanks for Reading!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's no secret anymore, Brad Moss can drive!

As a child Brad Moss was a big fan of tractor pulling and shared a strong bond with his father of heading to pulls throughout their region in Kentucky.  As the evening hours got longer at the pull, Brad would often dose off on the bleachers with his jacket rolled under his head as a pillow.  The nap was contingent upon a deal he made, as he would only allow himself to dose off with the promise that his father would wake him up when the Pro Stock class began.  While other children would drift off to dreams of being a basketball player or a famous movie star, Brad Moss was envisioning himself on top of a Pro Stock tractor.   The memories he developed watching his mentors; The Masterson's and Lance Little, gave Brad a distinct idea and vision of how he wanted to approach life as a puller.

In 2010, Brad and his partner Miles Stratton took their B&M Motorsports Youngbuck John Deere into the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour looking to make a run at the point’s championship.  As the dust settled on the 2010 season, the Youngbuck had finished a very close second to the eventual winner Steve Boyd.  However, it may have been a 2009 pulling dual between these partners that gave Brad a taste of a new and powerful pulling class.  With the support of Andy and Jenni Teasley, Miles and Brad each jumped into one of the Teasley Motorsports trucks at a Mid South Pullers hook in Kentucky.  The rush Brad felt was unique and different when compared to the Pro Stock tractor he was so comfortable on.  The pass Brad made tweaked his interest toward a new class and he often found himself paying close attention to the competitors and the unique changes they were making to their trucks.

Over the summers spent pulling with the Pro Pulling League and Mid South Pullers, the Youngbuck team members often found themselves hanging out with the two wheel drive competitors.  Brad developed a friendship with the Long Brothers; Keith and Ricky of Glasgow, Kentucky.  The Longs have spent their lifetime behind the wheel of pulling vehicles and campaign three strong running pulling trucks (MavTV, Willy Makit, and Ridin Dirty).  At the 2011 National Farm Machinery Show, Brad was offered the opportunity of a lifetime when the Long's offered him the seat of Ridin Dirty for the summer.

The decision Brad made was to trust his gut and follow the rush he felt underneath him when that blown Hemi came to life. "With the two wheel drive, you are strapped to the frame rails and can feel the flex as the truck stands up. The combination of the vibration and the sound makes for one wicked ride" stated Moss. When the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League season kicked off in Saluda, South Carolina, the Ridin Dirty Chevy S-10 was all set to have a substitute driver.

The philosophies applied to driving a pro stocker and a two wheel drive truck are totally different but provided a short learning curve for Brad.  Short is the word that best describes the amount of time it took the savvy competitor to pick it up, as it was baffling the ease in which he made the transition.  "With the tractor it is my goal to be easy on the line and stay patient to let the motor do it's work.  The tractor has the clutch pedal and you can bend the throttle over but it takes a while for RPM level to truly rise.  With the truck it is a belt driven supercharger that gives you instant horsepower.  The larger tires and higher weight of the tractor allow it to be a bit more accommodating than the truck" commented Moss.  There are several other differences between the two classes but the common goal remains the same and that is to set the vehicle up according to the track and the sled.

On Friday night April 29th in Saluda, South Carolina, Moss had barely parked the Chevy S-10 before he started to critically breakdown his run.  With a quick word he described his mistake as “slow”, he knew that he was behind the Miner Brothers Racing engine and because of that he did not find the results he was looking for in his debut.  It must be stated that the Long Brother's gave Brad one of the most consistent pulling machines in the league to go out and compete with, but there was still one task and that of course was driving, which Ricky and Keith make look easy.  Less than twenty four hours after his debut Brad Moss collected the win in the class of eighteen trucks and removed the thought of him being a substitute from everyone's mind.  "Ricky and Keith gave me such a great opportunity that I would have been a fool to pass it up.  After Saluda, I was ready to learn and gain every ounce of knowledge they could share with me" added Moss.

The summer flew by for Brad as not only was he introduced to a new class but he also became a father for the first time, when his wife Rebecca gave birth to a lovely baby girl named Brexley.  With relative ease Brad took to being a father just like he has driving pulling vehicles.  Though he will cast off his achievements in his first year in the two wheel drive class to a good truck, the Long Brothers and luck, I firmly believe there is another element that Brad doesn't consider and that is the fact that he is a damn good driver!

Over the course of the summer the Ridin Dirty Chevy S-10 finished with top honors at four hooks on the Champions Tour.  The wins he collected in Saluda, Wilmington, Altamont and Waynesburg, provided a great platform for which Moss was able to finish second in the points.  The facts are quite clear.  In two consecutive years Brad Moss has had his name etched in the second place position of the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling Leagues premier series but each finish was in a different class with an entirely different approach to driving!

Odds are if you know Brad Moss, you understand the deep passion he carries for Pro Stock tractors and the mechanics of what makes them function.  That understanding came from years of silently observing and watching tractors run down the track and making mental notes on the noticeable differences of each individual pass.  His ability to pay attention to the details may very well be his best attribute as a driver, as he can closely monitor his competitors and the track, while honing in on the tune up for the vehicle he will be driving.

If the last two years have provided any insight into the future we know one thing as a certainty and that is without a doubt that Brad Moss can drive a pulling vehicle.   The question remains: "What will he be driving in 2012, will he follow his passion and co-pilot the Youngbuck John Deere as part of B&M Motorsports or will he follow the rush and strap himself to the frame rails of a blown two wheel drive truck for another summer?"  I guess only time will tell!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Louisville Travel Guide

Today, I wanted to share a travel guide for folks heading into Louisville for the NFMS next week.  Having grown up in the Louisville Metro Area, I always love the opportunity to sneak back home for a few days to hit some of my favorite places.

Remember the Bridge and Avoid Traffic
First and foremost, Please make sure you are aware of the Bridge debacle currently ruffling feathers throughout the area.  In the late summer, the Sherman Minton Bridge was closed because of some cracking in the structure of the bridge.  Officials closed the bridge immediately after discovering the cracks and construction has been underway for several months in a hope to get traffic flowing again.  Unfortunately, the bridge is not going to be near complete by next week and thus anyone traveling east on 64 from Indiana will have to make their way to 65 and across the Kennedy Bridge.  It is my suggestion to avoid traveling back and forth across the bridge unless you absolutely have to.  The commuting times for residents of Southern Indiana have increased exponentially as they have to cross on the Kennedy or 2nd Street bridges now.  If you can't avoid traveling across the bridge, I suggest you allow plenty of time and consider alternative routes away from 65.

I am biased and could go on for hours about places to eat, grab a brew or have some fun, but I tried my best to limit my suggestions so as to not bore you all.  If you want further suggestions, my email is at the bottom of the post and please feel free to write me.  

Unique eats in the Derby City-These places carry a strong feeling in my heart and a reputation that far exceeds the city!  Stop by and enjoy the amazing atmosphere that some provide while eating some first class cooking.

Lynn's Paradise Cafe  
984 Barret Avenue  
Louisville, KY 40204
M-F 7am-10pm/ Sat-Sun-8am-10pm
Lynn's is hands down one of the coolest eateries in the country and Louisville calls it home.  I strongly encourage you to visit Lynn's for Breakfast or Lunch

W.W. Cousins
900 Dupont Road 
Louisville, KY 40207
Cousins is a burger buffet and was voted one of the Best of Louisville. The burger buffet is great, you place your order, receive your burger and make your way to the toppings bar.  With over 40 different toppings you can pack your burger with all of the fixings you desire.  Cousins also features a bakery that makes delicious cookies and pies that you will want to have to cap off the meal! 

Baxter's Station
1201 Payne Street
Louisville, KY 40204
The Courier Journal named this restaurant one of it's top 20 and for good reason.  Come on aboard this train for a great fish sandwich that is truly second to none.  Butch Krieger "Voice of the NFMS" has made this selection as the place you want to eat while in the Ville!  Baxter's Station provides a very unique eating environment, while serving you amazing food!

630 South 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Located just off the heart of downtown is this local secret!  I love the fish at Cunningham's but you can get just about anything on the menu and it will please your appetite.  Butch recommends the Hamburger Steak smothered in Mushrooms and Onions. If you are aiming for a great dinner before some exciting pulling action make your way to Cunningham's!

Other great restaurants to consider:
Impellizzeri's Pizza (Downtown)
Wick's Pizza (Bluegrass Pkwy)
Cardinal Cafe (At the Fairgrounds)
The Old Spaghetti Factory (Downtown)
Makers Mark Lounge (4th Street)

Bars- It's NFMS Week so there is no doubt that you will be looking for a place to go enjoy a few cold ones.  The first thought of course is 4th Street Live as you simply can't go wrong in finding something there to enjoy your time and a beverage. Whether it's Howl at the Moon or one of the clubs, mark your agenda for 4th Street! If 4th Street is not your style, the following bars may be more your pace as you can typically enjoy a good brew, while visiting with your friends!

Molly Malone's Irish Pub- 933 Baxter Ave. 
O'Shea's- 956 Baxter Ave-
Bluegrass Brewing Company- has three locations and will provide a more quiet setting for you to talk amongst your peers.  One of the locations is on 3rd just passed the 4th Street Live Location.

Fun and Site Seeing
Bluegrass Indoor Karting-
2520 Ampere Drive  Louisville, KY 40299 
Folks there isn't much more fun then going go karting with your friends.  These little monsters scoot and I have the inside scoop to know that some of this weeks competitors in the NFMS will be hitting up this facility for a little racing to rev up their minds for competition.

Churchill Downs
700 Central Avenue
Truly one of the most historic and storied settings in all of sports is within a few minute drive of Freedom Hall.  I strongly encourage you to jog over to Churchill Downs if you haven't before to truly take in the beauty of the facility.  You may even see a future Derby winner doing a shakeout run on the dirt!

Louisville Slugger
800 West Main Street
Located right downtown is the home of Louisville Slugger!  The tour their is great and they often send you home with a small version of their world famous bats.  Enjoy as you get to see the process unfold from start to finish!

Others to Consider that are unique to the Ville:
The Muhammad Ali Center (Riverfront Downtown)
Yum Center (Downtown) The new home of the Louisville Cardinals
The Science Museum (Downtown)

I hope you will consider visiting some of these attractions when you arrive in Louisville.  As always thank you for following Miles Beyond 300!  It means the world to me that the pulling community has taken to the ideas and stories we have been able to share over the last few months.  If you have a topic you would like to see us dig into, please email milesbeyond300@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jeremy Correia follows his heredity to championships!

Motorsports are addictive! They are often the motivating factor for many people to get through the hard and long hours they spend working in their profession.  That addiction is often spread through generations like wild fire , such is the case when it comes to Jeremy Correia (Korea).  Jeremy is the grandson of legendary race car driver Shirley Shahan and engine builder H.L. Shahan.  Shirley was known throughout the NHRA for piloting her Chrysler, AMX and AMC's known as the Drag-on Lady!  While Shirley was dominating the Super Stock ranks, Jeremy's grandfather was developing quite the reputation as a tuner.  Not only did H.L. tune for his wife but also famed competitor Butch Leal.  Taking a glance at his genome, it is no wonder that Jeremy found his way to motorsports.

Providing additional motivation to find his way to motorsports was the fact that Jeremy's father was a motor head himself, who found his way to pulling as a mini rod competitor in the late seventies.  In 1998, at the ripe age of 13, Jeremy strapped in behind the wheel of a 2000 pound pulling machine which bolstered a blown Hemi on alcohol. Four years later, Jeremy and his father Clarence purchased a modified tractor that featured four blown Chevrolets.  The Correias traveled to pulls throughout the United States and Canada with their tractor known as Chelsie's Toy and developed a reputation as a formidable opponent in the modified ranks.  The pursuit to continue and grow their program encouraged the team to upgrade their tractor again and thus came the construction of Git-R- Done.  Git-R-Done features a famous Engler chassis which carries four Correia built blown Hemi's with 14-71 high helix blowers.  The new combination has drawn attention from the Correia's west coast competitors and fans world wide as it led to Jeremy capturing three consecutive Pacific Tractor Pullers Association points championships in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

A natural gas and diesel technician by trade, Jeremy resides in Tulare, California with his wife Katharine and the next generation of motorsports enthusiasts his children, Connor and Bristol.   Through hard work and professionalism, the Correia family caught the eye of Lucas Oil Products, one of the motorsports industry's biggest supporters which are known for developing impressions for their brand through grass roots motorsports sponsorships.  Lucas Oil came on board as the title sponsor of Git-R-Done four seasons ago and will be back in 2012 for a fifth year of west coast pulling action.

As an addition to the regular pulling schedule, the team planned to kicked off their 2012 pulling season by bringing the Lucas Oil Git-R-Done to the hallowed grounds of Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.  Having applied, Jeremy was accepted to compete as part of the invitational-only modified class on Wednesday night of the National Farm Machinery Show. As excitement built for their trip to Louisville, the Correia's learned that their current configuration of 4 Hemi's with 14-71's was not within the rule structure of the NFMS.  The Farm Show rules call for a 4 Hemi combination to run the 8-71 blowers with it, as opposed to the larger blower that can be run in the unlimited class with the NTPA and Pacific Coast Pullers.  To attend the show the tractor would have to run with three motors or change the combination entirely by adding 8-71's. The team made the choice to forgo the competition at the National Farm Machinery Show, rather than convert their tractor into a setup they weren't familiar with.

Though the fans may be disappointed that the Lucas Oil Git-R-Done is not making the trip to the east this year, hope is not lost in the fact that one day we may see the Correias pulling somewhere in the Midwest in the future.  For now the west coast fans will continue to be spoiled by witnessing the potent combination that  Clarence and Jeremy Correia have put together for battle!  It is amazing what a motorsports lineage such as Jeremy's can do to influence a generation, and I for one can't wait to see where the Tulare, California native takes us!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Monster Jam

In the late eighties and early nineties my father spent just as much time announcing Monster Truck shows as he did truck and tractor pulls.   When I was younger I had the distinct honor of riding in the Stomper Truck that was owned by TNT and SRO Pace.  There were several drivers of the truck but Marvin Smith was the driver that I got to ride with and I was forever a fan of  his.  As the years passed and my father transitioned from the monsters, I missed the events that I use to attend.  I can still remember my last show was for my 10th birthday in Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.  My dad and Army Armstrong were the announcers for the show, my dad and Army came to school to have lunch with me for my birthday and told me that I could bring five friends to the event coming up later that night.  It was an awesome show to say the least and I couldn't thank my dad and Army enough for the wonderful gift. 

Last night with the help of a Johnathan and Leslie Mears, as well as former pulling announcer and Monster Jam Legend Scott Douglass, I was able to take in a monster truck event for the first time in twenty one years.  I can honestly say that I was just as excited if not more excited then my much younger peers who had made their way to the Edward Jones Dome in beautiful downtown St. Louis, Missouri.  From the opening ceremonies which gave me cold chills; as the announcer invited current and former members of the armed services to stand for recognition.  After these folks received their resounding wave of applause, another group of folks were asked to stand and that was the family members of the already standing service men and women.  In that moment the capacity crowd applauded as one for the hard working and well deserving people who help our country stand strong!

Monster Jam was a production from the opening to final moment that I sat in the seats.  The crowd was continually updated by the announcer who truly captured the audiences full attention when he spoke.  As an aspiring announcer in the motorsports industry, I often find myself sitting, listening and critiquing my fellow announcers.  I have always enjoyed going to events I am not announcing as it gives me a chance to grow and learn from those in the business.  I continually found myself trying to reflect on the great demeanor and approach to announcing that one of the voices of MJ brought to the standing room only audience.

The "Monsters" were just as captivating for me last night, as they were when I was a young man.  I found myself cheering for a few specific trucks in the field of sixteen that had been assembled in the Show Me State.  I cheered loudly when Lindsey Wink and his Lucas Oil Crusader found its way to the final round of racing and I couldn't help but love IronMan, as my three year old nephew truly thought it was the coolest. Watching the crowd cheer and support their personal favorites truly made me want to see that same excitement in pulling. 

Attending this event made me wonder what pulling needed to do to have a platform for which to grow, like Monster Jam has?  I understand that Monster Jam provides huge venues and an unreal amount of impressions for their sponsors on a daily basis.  Just last night there were ten MJ events conducted in arenas and stadiums throughout North America.  The television package continues to grow as Speed and MJ seem to be doing wonderful things with their productions. 

The message boards for our sport have been booming as of late with a discussion of the Golden Age of pulling.  When I look back on the history of the sport it was just a few decades ago that pulling was packing similar venues to the ones Monster Jam is presently, while competitors chased points to win a Chevy pickup and cash on the indoor and outdoor circuit.  Is it possible for the sport we all love to recreate the magic days of old?   Our current sanctioning bodies are working hard to help the sport grow but what they can't really control are the rising costs of pulling in an economically conscious climate.  It is my goal to research the costs and increases over the next few months to truly get an understanding of what it cost to be competitive in the 90's versus today!

Again, I truly can't express how much I loved this event and how appreciative I am for to the Mears' and Mr. Douglass.  As always thanks for following the blog and I hope to hear your feedback!   

Thursday, February 2, 2012

We are getting closer to the NFMS!

Each year I mark my calendar for the time frame for when the official lists of competitors is released for the National Farm Machinery Show.   I love to look at the list for several reasons; (1) to see how I did with my predictions of each class, (2) to take a look at the competitors in each session in an attempt to determine which class may be the most difficult to qualify out of, (3) did competitors switch nights or did the NFMS Committee see the need to move competitors to another night?  I have been asked several times in the past few weeks if I would be posting my predictions?  Though I like to post my predictions for who will get in the event, I will refrain from posting who I feel may win their respective classes! 

For those of you who don't know when a competitor sends their application into the NFMS Committee, they have the option to choose a primary day and a secondary day, with the knowledge that the Committee may have to move them accordingly.  For many years it has seemed to me like if a competitor got in, they were often on the same night as the previous year but this year I have found several differences in the classes that have multiple qualifying sessions.

I have already posted my prediction results-(See Farm Show Predictions Recap posted 11/11/2011) but as I spoke in that post, I wanted to do a further look at the fields as a whole.

The first class that jumps out at me is Wednesday Night's Pro Stock Tractor Class!  Don't get me wrong, I understand that every one of these classes is loaded with champions and threats to make the finals, but this section is packed!

Wednesday Night Pro Stock
-Five finalists from last years 12 are in this section, they are; (YoungBuck/CornFed/Fuelish Pleasure/Aces Wild/Big Country).  In that list of five, we have two Tantrum tractors, Justison won last year on Wednesday Night and finished 3rd in the finals and Sapp who was 4th in the finals a year ago.  The YoungBuck was a strong threat to fight for a top three spot in the finals but suffered breakage in the qualifier and did not make a pass in the finals.
-In addition to these five finalists from last year, there are four additional competitors who are former Saturday Night Champions of the NFMS; ( K. Masterson 97, Shope 03, Parish 09, Teipen 04).  I am not discrediting the other qualifying sections but this one caught my eye from the very first look.

Another class that caught my eye was the Thursday Night session of the Unlimited Super Stock Tractors.

Thursday Night Unlimited Super Stocks
The addition of two European competitors completed the field at 16. One of the Euro pullers Sjors Zeinstra has been here before for the NFMS on his John Deere.   While most classes were capped at 15, I think it would have been virtually impossible to determine which one of the tractors was not going to be in the field.  This class has it all and I truly can't wait to see how it shakes out! Last years champions was the Ohio based XXX of Frank Keener, he and 15 other competitors will be fired up for Thursday Night. 

Additional Comment's and things to watch
  • Glad to have the King of Smoke back in the field with not one but two tractors.  Esdon will be ready for action after not coming to the NFMS in 2011. Can Redline Lite run with the big DSS?
  • Can Brian Korth continue the streak as the only winner of the Light Super Stock class, he did it in 2010 and 2011
  • Will Randy or Jessie Petro find their way back to the winner's circle?  After three straight years of Petro domination, Randy just missed last year in finishing 2nd.  Randy was the 08 and 09 winner, while his son Jessie was the 10 champion.  This could be a very interesting side story come Saturday night as the Petro's have been nothing short of spectacular over the last three to four years!
  • Will the state of Illinois flex it's muscles again?  Last year NFMS had a great showing from the state of Illinois, session winners were Justison, Fraker, Mumma.  Final's winners were Little and Bunnage.
What are you most interested in seeing?  Please use the comments section of the blog to further this topic!

We are counting down until the competition begins and Miles Beyond 300 will be there to keep you up to date.  I hope to have updates from the event and full recaps following.