Day 1, Event 1: The Tow Test
What it is: It's a heckuva way to start Top Truck, that's what it is. We strap each rig to a 35,280-pound cement truck and we have 'em pull the monstrosity as far as they can from a standing stop. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not exactly. You see, we have 'em pull uphill. Yep, you read that right. It's a test of pull power, tire traction and drivetrain stoutness, and it weeds out any weak links fast. Welcome to Top Truck.
How it works: Each competitor is allowed one pull on our 150-foot track and there is no time limit. A pull is completed when forward momentum ceases or the competitor crosses the finish line, whichever comes first. This year, the finish line eluded all of the competitors, so each was ranked by the total distance they pulled.
Finish Line Quotes
"It's heavier than I thought. I thought I'd get it."-Roger King
"It's all I could do to just hammer on it and see what it could do. It was heavier than I thought it was going to be. As soon as I felt it cinch up and shake a little bit, I was like 'this is no joke, I'm glad I put it in First.'" -Leo Kuether
"It took me totally by surprise. It acted like I was on an anchor when I first started." -Darren Sinkey
"That's heavy. I didn't think it was going to be near that heavy. Just to move. Just a rolling object. But man, that's like dead weight." -P.J. Hale
Barker's Ranger: Best pull of the event, even though engine issues wouldn't let the 598ci V-8 rev over 3,000 rpm. Ran in 4-Hi, First gear.
Gray's Blazer: First competitor. Ran with 7 psi in the rear tires and 9 psi in the front tires. Straight run, with no visible wheelhop. Driver wished he would've used a lower gear because he didn't get the wheelspeed he wanted.
Hale's Willys buggy: Suffered some wheelhop off the starting line and had to back off the throttle. Had the 54-inch Mickey Thompson tires aired down to 7 psi.
Karwath's YJ buggy: Suffered a little wheelhop and drifted to the passenger-side of the course, which necessitated a heading adjustment near the end of the run. Ran with the rear suspension locked out and the front sucked down with the winch. Had 12 psi in the rear tires and 31/2 psi in the front tires.
King's Power Wagon: Second competitor. Ran with the 54-inch Mickey T's set at 30 psi rear and 15 psi front in an effort to keep wheelhop to a minimum. Had the adjustable wheelbase set at its longest setting (about 145 inches).
Knoche's Samurai buggy: Drew down the front with the winch and locked out the rear suspension. Ran with 12 psi in the rear 54-inch Mickey Thompson tires and 10 psi in the front tires. Suffered wheelhop, which forced him to back off the throttle.
Kuether's "Fat Girl" buggy: Used the front winch to draw down the frontend and he set the tire pressure at 10 psi. Started in low range First gear and shifted to Second after gaining momentum. Kept the 502ci Ram Jet at the rev limiter.
Quichocho's CJ-7 buggy: Shifted from First to Second gear during the run and kept the 502ci big-block in its sweet spot. Ran with 14 psi in the rear 54s and 10 psi in the front.
Simmons' Ford: Had the 46-inch Mickey Thompson tires aired down to 10 psi in the rear and 15 psi in front. Had the NP205 in low range and the C6 in Second gear. A little over nine feet into the course, a factory weld on the rear driveshaft broke, ending his run.
Sinkey's Bronco: Good start off the line with the 351ci V-8 pulling strong. Wheel hop forced him to back off the throttle, which caused slack in the tow strap as the cement mixer rolled forward. This caused a series of launches and wheelhop episodes.
|(RANKED BY OVERALL DISTANCE TRAVELED)
||82 ft. 1 in.
|King's Power Wagon
||77 ft. 1 in.
| Quichocho's CJ-7 buggy
||68 ft. 4 in.
| Kuether's "Fat Girl" buggy
||67 ft. 6 in.
| Karwath's YJ buggy
||66 ft. 8 in.
||64 ft. 5 in.
||59 ft. 7 in.
||55 ft. 8 in.
|Knoche's Samurai buggy
||51 ft. 1 in.
||9 ft. 1 in.