END OF SUMMER PULL

A 100-HOOK AFFAIR IN WESTERN ILLINOIS

Life in the Midwest is simple: plant crops in the spring, harvest in the fall, and spend the summer hooking to the sled. If you find yourself in this region during the peak of pulling season, it’s not hard to find an event to compete in or spectate at on any given night. Just as the corn and soybean crop began to mature late August, we found ourselves in the small town of Lewis town, Illinois, for the community’s first annual truck and tractor pull. Strategically scheduled between the points chases taking place along local pulling circuits and sanctioning bodies in the area, the end of summer pull in Lewis town went off without a hitch. And as a result, about $8,000 was raised to support the town’s high school FFA.

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After bolting the duals back onto his Dodge, Jeremy Haggerty fared considerably better in Work Stock than in the Smooth Bore class. During a late hook in the class he squeaked past Nick Christy’s distance of 318.24 feet for the win, and then proceeded to take second place in the Open Gas vs. Diesel class. The 5.9L Cummins in Haggerty’s third-gen sports a 305,000-mile stock bottom end, dual stock CP3s, 150% over River City Diesel injectors, a Firepunk 48RE with a manual valve body, Maverick Diesel tuning, and a stock-appearing 68mm Holset from Tater Built Turbochargers & Machining.

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Sean and Nick Christy’s ’09 F-350 was initially put together for just $15,000 (including the purchase price of the truck), which—when you’re talking about a 6.4L Power Stroke—is pretty darn cheap. But despite having so little invested, it runs neck-and-neck with the hottest-running trucks in both 2.6-inch Smooth Bore and Work Stock. In 2.6 Smooth Bore, Sean would earn a 281.67-foot, third-place finish behind the wheel, while Nick would grab second place in Work Stock.

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With a hook in three separate classes, Jeremy Haggerty definitely got his fill of pulling for the day. After his ’03 Ram 3500 underwent some violent hopping in the 2.6 Smooth Bore class, he backed out of the throttle and settled for a 151-foot finish. Back in the pits, he noticed that the front pinion nut had backed itself off and the front driveshaft had pulled the yoke off the axle. Luckily, a handful of friends helped him get the driveline mended before he was due to hook in Work Stock.

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The ’06 Dodge owned and operated by Joe Dowson is a regular on the central Illinois Work Stock scene, where it had several wins in 2018. Ironically enough, Dowson’s best hook in Lewistown would come while competing in the 2.6 Smooth Bore class, and with the outer duals removed. He squeezed past Patrick Marler’s Ford with a winning distance of 290.65 feet. Later on in the Work Stock field, Dowson wound up in third place after the dust settled.

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It was an off weekend for Andrew Karker and his ’02 Silverado dubbed “The Replacement,” but he made the most of it. After fighting what he believed to be an issue with the truck’s injectors, Karker still managed a fifth-place effort in 2.6 Smooth Bore. Built to compete in the Illinois Tractor Pulling Association’s Pro Street Diesel Truck class, the 8,000-pound Bowtie packs an estimated 800-rwhp punch.

With action spread out across 12 different classes of trucks and tractors courtesy of more than 60 sponsors, the Mean Green sled from Hillary Motorsports would make 103 trips down the track. In addition to a stock turbo diesel class, a daily driver diesel category was run for those just getting their feet wet in the sport. From there, things got a little more serious with the 2.6-inch smooth-bore trucks and the 8,500-pound Work Stock class. The day culminated with an Open Gas vs. Diesel class, which of course was won by compression ignition. Tractor classes entailed 10,500-pound Farm Stocks all the way up to 15,000 pounds, along with an open 12,500-pound category.

Here’s a full recap of the day’s festivities—where a taste of everything from 300 horsepower to 800+ was on display

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Coming off a near-win in 2.6 Smooth Bore a few days prior, Jared Rice and the Midwest Diesel & Auto 6.4L-powered F-250 Super Duty gave the track everything they had. In the end, the truck spun out a few feet shy of the Midwest-sponsored 300-foot mark, but secured fourth place overall.

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It wasn’t all John Deere Green in the tractor classes. Here, you can see the front end of Chad Terwilliger’s 1256 International getting light as it slowly digs its way to a stop in the 12,000-pound Farm Stock class.

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This beautiful blue TW-20 was hauled down from northern Illinois by its owner, Nate Shank. It would take home second place in the 12,500-pound Open class after having gone 334.94 feet.

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Another 6.4L Ford that was able to take advantage of having two factory turbos belonged to Brian Bell. His ’09 F-250 brought home sixth place in the Stock Turbo class.

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Depending on the amount of work done to them, tractors in the 10,500- and 12,000-pound Farm Stock categories make anywhere from 250 to 400 hp. These tractors adhere to a 20-inch hitch height rule, 18.4×42 or 20.8×38 max tire size, a 2.36-inch turbo limit, and a top speed of 12 mph.

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Eric Windish guides his John Deere 4320 down the track in what would become a seventh-place, 263.48-foot effort in 10,500 Farm Stock. These tractors were available from 1971-72, turned a maximum of 2,200 rpm, and came with 115-127 hp. On this day, nearly five decades later, the 404ci Deere was allowed to spin as high as 2,850 rpm, with its horsepower likely triple what it left the factory with.

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Chris Schertz and his ultra-clean, LBZ-powered ’06 GMC wound up second in the Daily Driver Diesel class. Later in the day he would also finish seventh in Stock Turbo and tenth in Work Stock

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The wildest ride of the day was taken by Courtney Chandler aboard this wheels-up John Deere 4320. A hard launch coupled with un-deployed wheelie bars resulted in an airborne front end and a tractor headed for the guard rail. On the second attempt, Chandler left a tad softer and wound up with a 291.37-foot, third-place finish in the 10,500-pound Farm Stock tractor category.

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Behind the wheel of a truck that used to compete in the local Work Stock class (and has always run like a top), Sean Christy piloted his ’08 F-350 dually to second place in Stock Turbo. Christy would hook to the sled in various vehicles throughout the day, including the ’08 F-350, an ’09 F-350, a 1206 International tractor, and even a gas-powered ’93 F-350 plow truck.

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With no blocked rear suspension allowed and most trucks making 500 hp or less, the sled had no problem dragging Daily Driver Diesel class competitors to a halt. Still, Garrett Wood’s ’07 GMC was able to travel 278.9 feet with the Mean Green sled in tow, which was good enough for third place.

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It’s no question that compound-turbo, 6.4L Power Strokes thrive in stock turbo type classes, and Nick Christy proved that when his ’08 King Ranch F-250 won the Daily Driver Diesel category by almost 10 feet. Believe it or not, Christy bought the truck sight unseen with a bad miss, expecting to have to put a piston in it. Come to find out it’d blown a glow plug out of one of the heads and other than that was mechanically sound.

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Daily Driver Diesel class was held for tuner-only trucks with a stock turbocharger. Here, Craig Hand tries his luck in the class with his 6.0L-powered ’06 F-250. The Daily Driver class was a great way to attract newcomers to the pulling sport, and for most first-time competitors it won’t be their last time attached to the sled.

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Bitten by the pulling bug at a young age, Mitchell Ruder has spent the past few summers hooking his ’04 Duramax to the sled anywhere he can. This time he ended up with a fourth-place finish in Stock Turbo, but also signed up in Work Stock to get a second hook.

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We all know that truck pulling can bring any vehicle’s weak link(s) to the surface rather quickly. In Joe Reindl’s case, the rear driveshaft in his ’04 F-250 checked out on the starting line in the Stock Turbo class. Reindl and his crew pulled a shaft (complete with carrier bearing) off of their tow rig, installed it in the F-250, and returned in time to battle it out in the Work Stock field.

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You can always find Bo Dawson’s ’03 Chevy Silverado running at the front of the pack in the Stock Turbo class, and after dragging the sled 314 feet and change things were no different in Lewistown. His LLY-powered (yes, LLY) shortbed benefits from having the largest factory (GT3788VA) turbo ever offered on a Duramax. For fuel, Dawson runs a set of 45% over S&S Diesel Motorsport injectors and a 10mm CP3.

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As proof that wheelbase isn’t everything, Will Clark’s LB7-powered, standard cab Chevy mixed things up in the middle of the pack in Work Stock. The truck’s 700-rwhp package consists of an LB66 turbo from River City Diesel (stock-appearing, 66mm IHI), 100% over injectors, a stroker CP3, and a set of ported heads.

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Joe Dowson’s distance of 290.65 feet in 2.6 Smooth Bore proved to be just out of reach for the 6.7L-powered ’11 F-350 driven by Patrick Marler. But finishing just three feet behind showed the crowd how competitive this class can be—and that Blue Ovals can hold their own within it.

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Scott Garlisch’s ’07 Chevy represented yet another well-oiled GM machine at Lewistown. Following a third-place effort in Stock Turbo (the class he regularly hooks in), Garlisch was able to nab a seventh-place finish in Work Stock against trucks making considerably more power.

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The Stock Turbo class’s main directive is clear: All competitors must run an untouched factory turbocharger. This category was designed for the road-worthy (and in many cases daily driven) full-bodied pickup truck with a stock-appearing engine and injection pump. While hanging weight is prohibited, competitors are allowed to add ballast until they reach the 8,500-pound maximum allowed in the class.