Holy Cow Tractor Pulling Team

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fort Recovery (session 2)
So, what to do. It is a 4 hour round trip to go home to get the 3 motor box. But, in a Grand National Class, a 270' pass with a good setup or an 8' pass with a sled bump all pay the same and yield the same points. Brad's son was celebrating his first birthday with us, and it just didn't make sense to hassle with getting it fixed. So, that is what we did. There were 8 of us in the hook, and I pulled a whopping 24'. Ron Linder was unable to get his motor fixed and missed this weekend, so we gained about 50 points on him. Terry lost a motor also on Friday night and attempted a three-motor pass, and only managed 160' in his 4 motor gear. Bob Jostock would lose a motor in the pull-off, also throwing a rod and windowing his block.

So, we are down to three motors, but the 5 pre-committed tractors are all guaranteed a slot in the Enderle and a top 5 finish. In the past 7 days, 4 of the 5 top Mods all lost a motor.

[added 9:47 PM ] 0 comments

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fort Recovery (session 1)
We drew last hook and new we needed to get it out the gate to come back by the time we pulled to the line. We hooked to the sled and layed down a killer pass. About 100', I started seeing smoke coming from the left side. The motors never slowed down, so what to do? Did I hurt something, no of course not, if you lose a motor, you lose rpm. Must be a gasket or something. So, I stayed in it. The smoke got thicker, but still, there was no indication of anything wrong. Finally, it was obvious, I wasn't going out the gate, so I backed out, "just in case something was wrong." Brad looked the tractor over and apart from a copious amount of oil, not obvious damage. Then, as the tow tractor pulled me off the track, he found the rod bolt in the dirt.

So, the #3 rod just broke, and windowed the block on both sides. Bummer. 4 hooks left in the season and we lost another motor. The spare is still not together, so at this point we are down to 3 motors. Worst, my 3 motor gear box is at home.

[added 9:32 PM ] 0 comments

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bowling Green (session 3)
We drew an early hook. Again, it seemed like a tight sled and we only pulled a 279.8. Somewhat a disappointing hook, but the leading distance as we left the track (of 2!). It turns out the sled was really tight, and we were in 9th or so. We had a two point lead on Ron Linder coming into BG, but fell to Ron by two positions, so we were tied coming into this session. Ron drew a late number, but had problems, lost a motor, and finished just behind me at 278.6. I looked at the line up and two hooks left, Double Stuffed and Predator, which was a Per-Hook entry. So, the only way to get my two points back would be to have Double Stuffed finish in the 1/2 window between Ron and I. I said to Brad, wouldn't it be great if Double Stuffed we 279.1. And, in the oddest set of circumstances, that is what happened, Double Stuffed hit that small window and pulled EXACTLY 279.1.

[added 9:18 PM ] 0 comments

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bowling Green (session 2)
We drew later in the class and found that many of the mods had a problem bouncing off the line. It looked like peddling it a little easing it into it was the key. That is exactly what we did and made a nice run to 294. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and we finished 8th. Maybe getting into harder and earlier would have finished a little better, or bounced and finished much worse.

[added 9:10 PM ] 0 comments

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bowling Green (pre-pull activities)
We arrived over a day earlier than the previous year and there was less parking. It seems with the cost of fuel and so forth, that everyone had cut back there pulling schedule, pulling closer to home, and then splurged on Bowling Green. There were A LOT of vehicles I had never seen before. It was a fun and relaxing day punctuated by the Danger Brother concert again at the end of the track. Unfortunately, the concert was cut short due to inclement weather, which really never amounted to much.

[added 9:02 PM ] 0 comments

Monday, August 11, 2008

Following Monroe, we tore down the other two engines to ensure all was well for the rest of the season. On reassembly, we found a small crack on one of the fuel tanks. No big deal, I have welded on them twice before without incident, and figured this time would be no different. There was some residual methanol and the resulting fireball blew right past my right forearm. It was more or less a severe sunburn and is healing nicely.

[added 8:54 PM ] 0 comments

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Points Update
I corrected an error in my website points update program. Ties were not being handled correctly and have now been fixed to match the NTPA website.

[added 4:25 PM ] 0 comments

Friday, August 08, 2008

Monroe, MI
Sorry, forgot I had added this. Funny thing on the way to the pull. I usually look at Google Earth for a visual on the fairgrounds when I haven't been there before. I saw what appeared to be an entrance off of M-50 that went right into the pits, but when we rolled up in the Semi, it was barricaded and coned to be used only by cars. So, there we were, no way to get in. I saw a church next to the fair grounds, and it looked like a pathway and the rear of the lot, so we ducked in there and made it into the pits. At least it saved us making multiple U-Turns.

The first thing we notice is a scale live steam train encircling the pit area and extending into the fair. We always had model trains when I was a kid, and that was my first goal was a train ride. We get unloaded, entered, and teched, and off into the fair to ride the train. Good fun.

I must say, I don't know how families can afford to go to the fair. I bought tickets for the 3 of us on the train, some deep fried cheese for me and a lemon shakeup for Stacey, and I was out $20 right there. I can't image going with a couple of kids, and then paying $8 a pop to see the tractor pull, plus $6 to park, and probably $20 in gas to get there. I understand why the stands are not as full as they used to be.

Anyway, I drew 137 out of 200 or so and expected to be in the back half of the pack, but was blessed with 2nd hook. I hate second hook. You can't watch anyone because you are getting strapped in and have no option to turn it down if you screw up. But, you play the hand you are dealt. Monroe is a twin track and they ran the 3 GN classes on the Grandstand side and the 2 RN classes on the pit side. The sleds were consistantly set light with lots of pull-offs in each class. I know it is important to study the track, especially since I have never pulled here, and never pulled this sled in GN dress. We watched the SSO class and some of the pro stocks, and then warmed up and got ready to pull.

As I knew would happen, with 1 pro stock left in the pull-off, the RN side of the track finished, so they moved our class at the last moment. Now, if the two sides are really unbalanced, I understand the reasoning for this, but that was not the case tonight, as there was only once vehicle difference. If 5 of the 8 SSO and 8 of the 16 Pro's weren't in the pull off, it would have been a good show. Anyway, after watching the Grandstand side all night, they bump us to the pit side. So, we are again on a sled I haven't pulled in GN dress, and a track I haven't even watched, and no chance to see the run in front of me.

1st up in Tim Howell on Ultimate Toy. I watched as best I could and it looked like a nice pass. He bounced a little, but I thought he did a good job and was surprised his distance was only 277. I was sure they would lighten the sled, but they kept it. I hooked up and there wasn't much at the starting line. I also bounced a little and was a little nose heavy. I finished at 294, and was real happy with my run. The remaining 5 tractors all went 310+, making us the first non-pull off tractor, and second to last. I definitely didn't have the best run, but didn't expect to be so far back, especially putting nearly 20 feet on Tim.

So we loaded up during the pull off, and were ready to leave as soon as checks were ready. We rolled out of the fairgrounds about 11:30 and arrived in Ft Wayne about 1:30. I slept a bit, then finished the drive straight to work at Delphi, where I showered in the parking lot, changed into business casual attire, and was at my desk at 7:30AM or so ready to start work on my new radio. What a couple of days.

[added 7:41 PM ] 0 comments

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ionia (session 2)
When we discovered the popping on the front right motor at Georgetown, we assumed an ignition problem and sent the mag in for testing. They said it had some minor issues, but nothing that would make it misfire. I had it rebuilt anyway. In the end, they replaced some parts, and of interest was a bearing and the drive gear. I put the mag in and made a good pass at Jerseyville. The problem was fixed and I assumed that some slop in the drive gear was causing the timing to jump around and advance momentarily to detonate.

So, when the front left motor started doing it, we pulled the mag and compared the drive gear to a new one. I could only measure about 0.004" wear and it didn't seem like enough to worry about, but I changed the gear and reset the timing, thinking it was fixed.

So, on to that nights pull. We are near the end of the class and EVERYONE it taking the high road, which was my plan as well. Bob was in the lead with 299. Ken Veney was broke and was only going to bump and Adam made a bouncy run on Cross Threaded and only managed 205. The rest of the tractors were somewhat spread out and I though I would have a good chance to pick up some points. I hook to the sled and as soon as the tractor launches, there is a low growl and the motors never come to life. At 150' or so I throw the belt on the front right motor. This time there was no popping or puffs of unburnt fuel from the headers. The front left motor seemed to run fine. So, we ended up at 261, which is respectable on 3 motors, but certainly not what I expected.

So, I have this gremlin that seems to be jumping form side to side, comes and goes with no rhyme or reason. I have 7 barrels of methanol for this season, and two are from a different lot. I pump the barrels dry into 5 gallons jugs and take just what I need to each pull. I had 13 jugs at Ionia and I know that 7 are from one lot and 6 from another. I didn't think it was important to identify the lots, so as we refilled in the puts, we just grabbed jugs. I suspect that I may have a bad barrel or lot of fuel. If I think back, I know what percentage of fuel was on the trailer from each lot and when I had a higher percentage of fuel from the second lot, I seemed to have ignition or popping problems, and when all or a high percentage of fuel was from the first lot, the tractor ran great. Assuming I don't find a more compelling issue with the tractor, I am going to discard (or at least segregate) the fuel currently in my jugs and in the tractors tanks, and run 100% lot 1 fuel for Monroe.

In any case, I watched all the runs I saw from the starting line and didn't get a good perspective on what everyone did, except that most everyone went straight. Double Stuffed was test hook and DQ'ed on the right, when he turned down, obviously. On his second pass, he finished 2nd, again right behind Bob. So congratulations to Bob. With the problems Ken had, Bob takes a double Win at Ionia, and moves into first place points. Ken drops to second, followed by Terry and me in fourth. I am not clear on how points are divided in a tie, so my website may have the wrong value until I get clarification from Helen at NTPA.

[added 4:01 PM ] 0 comments

Ionia (session 1)
It was a beautiful day in Ionia. Warm, but not hot, dry, a nice breeze. After dealing with rain nearly every pull this season, it was a nice change. We were FIRST class. Wow, what a shock. We are never first. I drew second position. First up was Adam Bauer in what I believe the maiden limited-mod voyage on his new Cross Threaded mod. I was getting in my seat and didn't get a good look at his run, but I did see a massive amount of unburnt fuel. I would sweat he broke a blower belt, but other say he didn't. Even with that, he blew it out the end. So, they tightened it up. (good decision).

That left me as test puller. This track is banked and slopes from right to left. I have run both sides, and like Frankfort, I prefer the left (low) side. My best runs here have come on that side. So, that is what I did, despite seeing Adam lay down a decent pass on the high side. I hammered the throttle, the tractor hooked perfectly, picked the nose 2-3' and carried it straight down the track to 290'. It was the best pass I could hope for. The front left engine was popping a little now, but that wouldn't get fixed between runs if it was a mag problem as I suspected, but as far as nose weight, tire pressure, and all go, it was a good pass. I kept it. The finish line flagman asked me 2 or 3 times if I was going to keep it, and I kept nodding yes. I assumed he just couldn't hear me, but maybe his was suggesting I turn it down and try the high side of the track.

I then say down and watched the remaining 5 tractors in the class all take the high road and run right past me, 3 of them, Bob and Terry Jostock and Ken Veney, breaking the 310 mark. Some of them didn't even have as nice a looking pass, but still took it past me with authority. Oops. My bad.

I think in the past, my problem on the high side was my tractor would go left and I would either DQ or just kill myself trying to stay inside the left chalk line. I made some chassis changes over the winter and the left-hand tendency is gone, and maybe my theory of the high side of the track needs to be revisited.

In the pull off, Terry Jostock was broke, and couldn't come back. Ken Veney was second up, and he damaged the clutch on his crank to crank motors. He tried to get it started, but, alas also could not come back. That left Bob to only need to bump the sled for a win, his first of the season for the 2007 defending champion. Congratulations Bob.

[added 3:45 PM ] 0 comments

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