Hey Pulling Fans!
I am sorry it has taken me so long to update all of you on the progress of D2, but it has been a hectic past month and a half! So I will give you a pull by pull recap of how things have gone for us so far!!!
Rewind to after the PPL hook in Franklin, D2 was completely disassembled and de-skinned, and sent to the paint shop to get the vivid Case IH red paint job that all had been waiting for. While the skin, frame, and roll cage were all being painted, the power plant was taken and gone through thoroughly in preparation for our hometown pull in Hopkinsville, KY. Every aspect was looked over to insure that its maiden voyage was a complete success. The initial examination revealed that everything looked picture perfect inside of the power plant. So, the motor was re-assembled and installed back in the chassis after much work and many sleepless nights by all parties involved. The day of the Hopkinsville pull was a rush to the finish, but the tractors were rolled into the trailer at 7:00, and the pull was 15 minutes away. No graphics would be on D2 that night, but it was nice to have red paint on it! A two hour sled breakage delay aided in giving Team Dream a few extra minutes to get everything in order, and ready to run. Pro Stocks were the last class of the evening and if memory serves me correctly, we hooked at around 3:30 am. D2 had a solid pass going, but the infamous turbocharger gremlin reared its ugly head and ended our run pre-maturely. The next day, after very little sleep, Team Dream was up and going early, frantically trying to find a turbocharger. With the help of some very good friends, a turbocharger was located and installed on D2 in time for the pull that night. Hopkinsville ran two sleds, a first for this venue, and the show ran effortlessly. It was a track suited for D2 that night, and we hit our setup right, D2 and I completed our first full pull with a distance of 325 feet! This also allowed us to capture the first ever Pro-Stock win for Team Dream! Next on the calendar would be one of my very favorite pulls of the year; what we consider our hometown Grand National pull, Brandenburg, KY!
After Hopkinsville, D2 was de-skinned one more time to finish the clean and classic paint job that had started a month before… During the wait, Team Dream focused on setup changes and our Super Stock program in our off time. Once the sheet metal was finished getting painted, D2 was loaded and bound for Brandenburg. Once to Brandenburg, we finally got to catch up with a lot of our friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time from being out of the sport for a year. The most ironic thing of the weekend, is that it was our first Grand National Pro Stock hook of the year, and as fate would have it, my old super farm tractor was there pulling as well! It was great seeing everyone, but soon it was down to business and D2 was on its way to the scales. The thrill of getting towed through the Brandenburg Tunnel brought back many good memories of years past as the fans and pullers all greeted us back to the pulling scene. The track on Friday night was a little different than what we had grown accustomed to, but it proved to be a good track for everyone. D2 finished 7th in a tough class of Pro Stocks. This proved to be the only time we would get to run that weekend, as the good Lord blessed Meade County with an amazing rain that no doubt aided the crops. Team Dream would have to wait a few more weeks to make another pass and continue the learning curve. Will the season continue without issue?
The next stop on the inaugural season of D2 Pro Stock Edition would be the 15 minutes down the road from the birthplace of its massive power plant, Monroe, Michigan. Excitement was high, as my good friend and motor man Ryan Salenbien would come out of retirement for one pull to run his Never Satisfied 7220 Magnum Super Farm. This would be the first time we had pulled together in over 3 years, so needless to say it was a special pull! D2 was decaled in the off time between Brandenburg and Monroe, and to be honest the classic/ stock look that went into D2 couldn’t have turned out any better! With its sleek look and deep rumbling motor, D2 was ready for action in Monroe. And later that weekend, Salem, Illinois. Ryan ran first that night and placed second and quickly dispelled and thoughts that rust or nerves would shake his stoic style. D2 was up next on the opposite track and we were the test hook, we decided to go with our Hail Mary setup, so that we could gather some data for tracks later in the season. The motor got under the charger at 250 feet, which automatically told my crew chief that we were in too high of a gear and that I needed to drive it a little harder. We dropped to last hook, in order to give the motor enough time to cool down, and topped off our fluids so that we were ready to run. With the massive ice chest packed with ice, D2 made its second pass. This time we again got under the charger which left us scratching our heads. This time, it was time to investigate and see what gremlins were running around inside the power plant of our 380 CVX Magnum. This meant that Salem, Illinois was out of the question and that we would shoot for Napoleon, Ohio the next weekend.
After several hours of hard, tedious work, D2 was back up and running for Napoleon, Ohio. This was a great pull, and good friend and fellow puller, Mike Beck helped accommodate our crazy travel schedule. I cannot express how thankful I am to have the motor program and friends that I do out of the great state of Michigan. We have grown very close over the last several years, and I consider them part of my family as well! Ryan’s and his wife are expecting twins, and we are all excited to greet the next two Salenbien children into the world! D2 made a great pass in Napoleon, but something didn’t seem quite right. With arguably the biggest outdoor pull in the country coming up, the team thought it best to examine things to insure that the tractor was ready to compete for the illustrious ring that has avoided us to this point at Bowling Green, Ohio. We finished 9th in Napoleon and gathered a lot of useful and valuable information.
This season has been a blast so far, getting to see everyone, learning a new class, and meeting new people have been so much fun! God has truly blessed me immensely to be able to be surrounded by such awesome people. A big thank you needs to be given to God first, Salenbien Performance, my family, my best friends and crew guys, Engler Machine, Chris Bond, my crew chief and very close friend Wayne “Skillet” Gamble, and all the many people that I have not listed because there are all too many to list. Each one of you mean the world to me, and I cannot express my gratitude in a way that will pay any of you back for the amount of help that you have given to me these last several months. Also, Thanks to Miles as well as all of the readers of the blog and Facebook follows, it has been overwhelming with all of the positive support and kind words that have been sent our way this year! We are learning and loving every minute of it! A recap of our Bowling Green weekend will be up soon! Keep your eyes peeled for updates.
TS Performance Recap and building for the future!
WOW!!! What a whirlwind it has been over the last two weeks! I know this entry is about a week or two behind, but things have been crazy busy in the world of Hunt Motorsports and H & R Agri-Power! Since my last post, a lot has happened, and I will do my best to give everyone a status update. We took D2 to Franklin for the TS Performance pull that was put on by Dennis and his crew. This being my first ever PPL hook, as well as my first hook in the pro-stock class, to say I was nervous was an understatement. My pit crew and I got D2 teched in and everything was great, the sun was shining and everyone was having a good time. We were enjoying catching up with some people that we haven’t seen in a while, as well as looking at all of the vehicles that came out for what promised to be a fun weekend. About thirty minutes before show time, the bottom fell out of the sky, drenching the grounds and yours truly while trying to get D2 back in the trailer out of the down pour. The rain delay proved to be quite lengthy as not only did the rain have to go away, but the PPL track crew led by the legendary track builders Dan Christiani and Mike Whitt had to work diligently to prepare not one track, but three tracks! I applaud the efforts of everyone involved, as this was no easy task, and for the cards they were dealt, everything turned out very nicely. Meanwhile, back at the trailer, I was wringing out my soaked clothes and beginning to put the sponsorship decals on D2. This was kind of a buzz kill of sorts, as we were getting hyped up and ready to pull for the first time in 18 months! But, we waited out the delay and the rain and got to relax for a few hours, which was definitely a nice change of pace from the previous endless days and nights we had grown accustomed to in order to get D2 to the track.
Fast forward to about 4 a.m., and the pro stock class is nearly over. D2 is set to make its maiden voyage, and its driver patiently awaits his turn in the seat. With the chain tight and the sled ready I began to pack air into the cylinders like I had done so many times before, but this time it was much different. I could definitely tell I had over double of the ponies I was used to, and the bigger charger, the new style clutch, and the new big fuel pump proved to be very different. I admittedly came out a little easier than I had anticipated which proved to be a good thing for us. We had a relative uneventful run, except for the small oil fire I had at the end of the track due to some oil leaking down on top of the headers. All in all, it was a good night. We finished 8th out of 21 tractors, and we were still running. We loaded up the tractor quickly, and pulled into the house at 6:30 on Saturday morning,
The next day, much anticipation filled our camp, as we were all dragging tired, but knew we still had work to do. Team Dream arrived on the grounds and went right to work fixing a few minor mishaps from the night before, read our TS Performance data logger, and had a team meeting to try and get together and learn our new tractor. After repairs were made and fluids were replenished, we patiently awaited our turn again to hook to the sled. Bad luck seemed to plague the Pro-Stock class that weekend, as we suffered a sled breakage about one third of the way through the class. We were shifted to later in the event and got to hook later in the evening. This time it was more of the same, my awesome pit crew did a few small things so that the tractor would run smoother, and adjusted our setup to where we thought would be best for our operation. We hooked late in the class and never really got ahold of the track and finished 12th I believe. The drive was much smoother this time for me however; as I was able to build the motor up to more of the rpms that I wanted and make a good pull. The tractor was still running so the weekend was a success!
Fast forward to present, after Franklin, we had a lot of work to do. We all worked together to try and get our Heavy Superstock diesel tractor ready for its first hook of the year in Hazel green Alabama. While we were working on one, we were trying to get the motor out of D2 so that it could go to the paint shop. Needless to say we had a busy week, but were able to accomplish both with the help of some great people that are our close friends. So with the chassis and tinwork in the paint shop, my attention will turn towards our motor. We intend to take it down and make sure that everything ran great, and that we have no issues while we have the time. A few minor changes may be made, now that we have had it out on the track and have a few runs under our belts to gain some experience, although that is limited at best. We will also turn our attention to hooking my brother’s Super Stock diesel tractor, Liv’n A Dream, a few times while we do the necessary things to get D2 back out on the track.
I look forward to getting back in the seat as well as getting back out and seeing everyone!!! We are still working on huntmotorsports.com, so in the meantime, if you wish to follow either my brother or I, feel free to look us up on facebook, or you can follow me on twitter as well! @JamesDarrin_D2
Thanks to Miles and all who are involved in promoting the sport of truck and tractor pulling!
The building of D2-ProStock Edition has been a long, but fulfilling process. After we sold our super farm, Dreamin Too, following the National Farm Machinery show in 2013, we really didn’t know fully what we wanted to build back. I wanted to take our time and do it right, and build a nice piece. On one hand, we could build a heavy diesel super stock tractor, and my brother and I could travel the country together and possibly share in the driving duties on each other’s tractors. On the other hand, I have always been a fan of Pro Stock! Growing up and watching the likes of Carl Smith and Larry Shope battle it out in Louisville, to one of my best and very dear friends, the late David Berry, campaigning his Berry’s Beast alongside my brother’s first rolling chassis Liv’n a Dream in the early 2000’s. The sentimental value and competitive fire took over, and my family and I decided to build a 10,000 pound Pro Stock Tractor. Being a mainly green class, some people have questioned my sanity as to why we would want to jump head first into a class where red guys are strongly outnumbered, and my answer is, I’ve always liked a challenge, and I thoroughly enjoy rooting for the underdog. I have been out of pulling for roughly a year and a half, so my crew chief, Skillet, and I, as well as my amazing pit crew have some catching up to do, and we will need to do it fast as we try to shake off the rust early and be competitive.
The tractor we have built will sport 2014 Magnum 380 CVX Sheet metal, made and manufactured by Psycolorgy Shop in Wisconsin with the aid from the always impressive and assertive hands of Tim Engler. The name of the new tractor will be D2-Pro Stock Edition. The name is a newer, edgier version of Dreamin Too, with my twist put on it. I really wanted to keep the name close to that of my super farm, but wanted a newer name that people would still be able to relate to. D2-Pro Stock Edition will be riding on a chassis made and manufactured by Mr. Tim Engler. I owe Mr. Engler a lot, without him, this tractor would not be where it is today. D2 will also sport a Pro Fab transmission, as wheel as wheels and tires from Mark Korth and the guys at K3 Tire. D2 will be powered by a Salenbien Performance power plant, and although I will not go into the specifics, it is made up of a consortium of parts and I have many people to thank that have helped Ryan and I get this behemoth of a motor up and running. Huge thanks goes to my mastermind of a motor guy and close friend, Ryan Salenbien and family. Since Ryan and I started working together in 2008, we have had some awesome motors over the years; I have full confidence in him and his ability to give us the best tools to work with under the hood.
I cannot go without saying thank you to some specific people other than the ones I have mentioned above. First and foremost, I want to thank my God for all of the blessings and marvelous workings he has done in my life. Although we sometimes fall short, God is always constant and in Him I put my faith and trust. Next would have to be my family. My family has supported me in every aspect of my life, and I am a very blessed young man because of that. From having amazing examples to look up to and learn how to be a man in my father and grandfather, to teaching me the necessities of life and how to treat people in my mother and my grandmothers. They always make sure we are ready to go, and they always make sure we keep our priorities in line. My brothers are also to thank. From giving me brotherly advice on what to expect in this new class, to keeping me laughing and a smile on my face, when things didn’t always look so promising, both of my brothers have done more than their share to help get our new addition to the track. My crew chief, and no doubt, one of my best friends, Skillet is next. Skillet and I have been more miles and had more talks about pulling and life than we have time to mention, but one thing I can always count on is for him to never steer me wrong, and to always be honest and tell me exactly how it is. Skillet and I have a way of communicating with each other, and a trust between the two of us that I think is a necessity for success, and that is what sets him apart. We communicate and make changes accordingly, and thus far it has worked for us. Last but certainly not least, is my pit crew. They are so much more than a crew; they are without a doubt my closest friends. Late nights, early mornings, long road trips, or taking a semi through downtown Indianapolis, there is never a dull moment with my guys. Jason and Zack have been with me every step of the way on this new build, and without them, I can honestly say that I would not have been able to do all the things it takes to get this tractor going and functioning. They always step up and help get stuff done, and that’s all you can ever ask for, they have definitely done more than their share, and hopefully Friday night, all of it will be worth it.
We have been out of the game for a year and a half, and this is going to be a big change for us. This year I hope that we can just get the tractor running and competing on a consistent basis. It will take us a while to learn the ropes in this new class and I will take a while for me to adjust to driving a pro stock versus driving a super farm. We look forward to getting out and seeing everyone again, and hope to make some new friends along the way! Hopefully we will have our new website www.huntmotorsports.com up and running soon so that everyone can keep track of both of our tractors, and when we will be hooking near you!
The tractor will make its first official pass this weekend in Franklin, Kentucky at TS Performance Weekend with the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour. A full paint scheme will hit the tractor later this season!