Talk about a month of pulling. On Friday, August 1, we were in Warren, ILL. My mom was second hook, and we were a little conservative on gearing and a little heavy on the nose. She had a nice pass that took her out to 310.28. The track wasn’t quite as good as we thought, so we move some weight back and up shifted one gear. When I let the clutch out, the front end came up and carried most of the way, and I only had to tap the brake once. It felt like a good pass, and the end flag man said my distance was 325.82, good enough to take the lead. There were five tractors left in the class, and any one of them could drive by me. Greg Elsing came quite close, 325.46, but Jared Friedrichs had an outstanding pass, 328.24, and then the hometown hero, then Mike Gerlach did the hardest thing possible, winning your hometown pull with a distance of 329.16. I was quite pleased with finishing third.
Next pull was Wednesday the 6th in Milledgeville, ILL. I was seventh hook, following my mom. There was twist in the chain for her and the tractor in front of her. I misread the track and didn’t listen to my dad like I should have on the gear choice. I put it in the big gear and at about 280 feet I really felt it lug down. I ran out of power at 300.52 feet. That put me in seventh place for the night. I certainly learned my lesson that night, LISTEN TO DAD!
Next stop was the biggest show of the year, the Hillsboro Charity Tractor Pull! Dad and I decided that I would drive Friday night and he would drive Saturday. I was an early hook and took the lead at 296.67. That was short lived, as the Well Spent tractor followed my tracks and passed me. I finished the night in 6th place against 19 tough limited pros. Saturday before the pull started, Crash Gladys and the Lucas Oil TV Production crew came over to interview my dad and I about our driving strategy and how my rookie year was going! I was certainly a bit nervous about being on TV, but I hope it will turn out alright. Dad finished in 8th place Saturday night, still putting more points on our points lead.
The next Saturday we pulled in Sauk Prairie, WI. My mom was second hook and made an outstanding pass out to 317.85 and held the lead for most of the class. We kept the weighting the same for me, but I tried a different kind of hole shot. I took off at about 3500 rpm and rode the clutch for 60 feet or so then got after it. Was a decent pass, but fell a little short at 309.83, putting me in 5th place. The other rookie in our class, Avery Elsing, showed everyone how it was done by putting almost 20 feet on second place.
The last pull in August was in Baraboo, WI on the 23rd. My mom pulled ahead of me again, and we were a little heavy on the nose and in too low of a gear. When I pulled, we moved some weight back and up shifted a gear. The track pulled me far to the left, and then a little too far to the right. I ended up just right of center, right were I was told not to go. My distance showed too, 304.46, good enough for 4th place. With only two hooks left on the Badger State circuit, my dad and I currently have a 34 point lead. If we can stay consistent, the title will be within reach.
Unbelievable Two Weeks
Have had an unbelievable last two weeks on the Badger State circuit. Thursday July 17 we were in Monroe, WI. I was second official hook of the class, following the G-Force who went 322.38. There was really only one path to go down the track, tight to the right side. That was enough to make a new driver nervous. I was hoping for a straight pass, and to not go out of bounds. As soon as I let the clutch out, I knew I was going to have a nice pass. The front end came up and carried most of the way down the track, and I only had to tap the brake once. When I got to the pits, I found out I took the lead with 323.96 and 30.2 mph. The worst part of the night was watching seven more tractors coming at me, knowing any one of them could drive on past me. Luck was with me that night, as I captured my second win of the season.
Next pull was a new one for Badger State in DeWitt, IA. The track was a little loose at the start, but had good bite by 150 feet or so. I was fifth hook, following Well Spent who took the lead at 327.72. I eased it out of the hole, and didn’t really lay in to it until I was 35 feet out or so. Had a nice straight pass and was weighted nice, but fell a little short at 326.02, nothing to be ashamed of. I was quite pleased with a first and second in a week.
Next stop was Mazomanie, WI on Friday the 25. I was fourth hook, following our other tractor, and Tough Sleddin had the lead at 291.40. When I let the clutch out, something didn’t feel right. I had lots of rpm’s and tire speed, but no land speed. I backed out of the throttle, and the starting line flag man came running up because he knew something was wrong. He had me pull ahead, then back up, and found that the bottom chain had a twist in it causing it to tighten before the top chain. I pulled up a ways and they re-groomed the starting line and re-set the sled. Once I got going again, the track pulled hard to the right and I stepped on the brake a little too long because I ended up having to correct it again from going too far to left. I ended up in fifth place with a distance of 276.89.
Saturday we pulled in Richland Center, WI at the Churnin Dirt Nationals. Limited pros were second class following mini rods, and I was first hook of the class. We looked at our notes from last year, and had a similar set-up. We missed our set-up completely; I hit the wheelie bars a couple of times and was in a little bit too big of a gear. I only went 260 or 270 some feet, so the sled was reset anyway. My mom was second hook then, but first official and pulled out to 355.11. We knew that was a tall order to beat, but Tool Time went 364.19. We used the information from the other tractor and applied it to mine. We moved one weight forward and downshifted one gear from my first pass. I rode the clutch for a little ways this time and the front end carried for most the track, with only a few bobbles at the end. Had a long pull, but I didn’t think I got past Tool Time. While I was getting unhooked, I noticed the scoreboard had my distance, 367.75! With one tractor left, I knew I was going to have another good finish, but I held on for my third win of the season! Pretty excited about my finishes these last two weeks. There are only 8 pulls left to the season, and I am currently leading the points over Tool Time by 12, so anything can happen in these last few pulls!
Photo Credit Rodney Crum-Power and Noise Photo
Running Hard with Badger State
Was a busy week on the Badger State Circuit. On Saturday July 5th we pulled at the Prison City Pull-Off in Waupun, WI. Limited Pros were last class of the night, and the first three of the class, which were Deeres, didn’t have the best of luck getting down the track. My dad was the next hook and he laid down a nice pass out to 329.96. When he got back to the pits, we decided to change our set-up on my tractor. I was last hook of the class and knew i had to beat 342.19 set by the G-Force tractor. I sure gave it my best shot but fell a little short at 339.95. I was certainly pleased with a second place finish heading into our hometown pull.
The next stop was our hometown pull at the Jefferson County Fair on July 9 in Jefferson, WI. I was about as nervous for this pull as my first pull of the season. We were second class and I was fourth hook, so we didn’t have too many tractors to watch. Unfortunately we missed the weighting a little bit, and I hit the wheelie bars 3-4 times. Ended with a distance of 291.70 putting me in 7th place. Certainly not what I was hoping for at our hometown pull, but there is always tomorrow.
On Thursday the 10th we had a chance to redeem ourselves at Freeport, ILL against 18 of the toughest limited pros out there. Was a tricky track to figure out the weighting, but we got our tractors to carry the front end without too many bobbles. I had a nice straight pass, much better than the night before. Although i only went 276. 76, I still ended up in 8th place, right behind my dad on our other tractor. We were supposed to pull in Darlington, WI on the 12th, but mother nature didn’t like that idea. The pull got rained out, so we got to pack up and drive back home. After this busy week, I am currently leading the Badger State points with 334 points, only 2 points ahead of the Tool Time of Randy Barreau and Jake Luther. The season is still young, so anything can happen yet. We have two pulls again this week in Monroe, WI on July 17 and DeWitt, IA on the 19th!
Busy Schedule coming our way!
After Mackville, we knew there was a problem. Sunday night we took the valve cover off, just to take a quick look to see if the problem was there. Sure enough it was. The adjusting screw on a rocker arm broke and it backed itself off. That cause the push tube to fall out of place, causing the miss Saturday in Mackville.
Next stop on the Badger State circuit was in Belvidere, ILL. It was raining quite heavily when we got there. The rain ended up quitting and the track turned out to be the best one of the year so far. I was second hook that night, following our other tractor who made a picture perfect pass. I was hoping to do the same, but that didn’t quite happen. As soon as I let the clutch out, the tractor hooked hard to the left, and when I hit the brake to correct it, it went way to the right. I got all crossed up and rattled around in the cage a little bit. Nothing seemed hurt the next day when we checked the tractor over.
I didn’t let that knock me down. Last weekend we went to Burlington Junction, MO and Mound City, MO for a PPL Silver Series hook. I had a nice straight pass, but ended up in 9th place. We have a busy schedule coming up now with Waupun, WI on July 5, our hometown pull in Jefferson, WI on the 9th, Freeport, ILL on the 10th, Baraboo, WI on the 11th, and Darlington, WI on the 12th. Hope I can keep improving my driving skills before our hometown pull!
Photo Credit: Rodney Crum Power and Noise Photo
Nick Gallitz grabs first win!
Growing up, I always had the dream of driving the pulling tractor and last summer I got the opportunity to drive for the first time. David Smithback gave me the chance at the Utica Nationals. Going in, I was pretty nervous but I had a decent pass, and was excited for the up coming year. Last Friday and Saturday we pulled in Mackville, WI. Friday night was my first official points pull. I was last hook and had last minute instructions from dad on where to finish. The tractor performed well, I had a good pass and ended up third, out of 17 of the best limited pros in the country! Saturday night when I pulled up to the line and brought up the RPM’s, there was a miss that we all thought was a stuck plunger in the injection pump. As I was going down the track, I thought there was no way I would be going anywhere but I stayed in it and it was a good thing I did! I ended up winning by three feet on only five cylinders! I was so excited I didn’t have any words. After the pull, every puller in the class, friends, and family all came over to the trailer to congratulate me on my win. This weekend was certainly one to remember for a long time.
Photo credit to Rodney Crum Power and Noise Photo