Day 1 Event 1: The Tow Test
What it is: You know how truck pulls work. Ours is nothing like that. We tether each TTC rig to a 37,335-pound cement mixer that dwarfs the TTC machines and we have ’em attempt to pull the mixer as far as they can from a dead stop. Uphill. Yep, you read that right, uphill. We give ’em a short run on flat ground to gather some momentum and then our nasty dirt slope climbs 13 feet in altitude over its 150-foot length at a maximum angle of 16 degrees. If a rig has any weak links, they surface fast.
How it works: Each competitor is allowed one pull 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, we ran the Truck Class competitors first. No one in either class got a full pull so each was ranked by the distance they traveled.
Finish Line Quotes
“I tell you one thing; it’s a little heavy taking off. You know darn well it’s back there. It’s very interesting. I’ve never done something like this and it’s a lot of fun.” –Mike Keller
“That’s the first time it’s ever hopped pulling anything. Ever. We’ve done half dozen truck pulls, actually on the sleds, and it’s never hopped. First time.” –Tim Dallner
“Been battling a timing issue. We thought we had it. We don’t.”–Tony Montalto
“That thing’s heavy. That’s a real heavy truck.” –Corey Timson
“I knew it wasn’t our event, but you know what? You gotta do ’em all.”—Josh Hall
Dallner’s S-10: The team practiced by pulling a dump truck at home. Ran with the Claws aired to 6 psi in the rear and 3 psi in the front. Small amounts of wheelhop near the end of the pull.
Hall’s Samurai: Drafted the heaviest crew member to ride as passenger to add weight. Ran with the Claws aired to 5 psi front and 8 psi rear with both axles drawn down. Straight run, but suffered wheelhop.
Keller’s F-350: Aired the 46-inch Baja Claws down to 18 psi. Smooth, straight pull with no shifting and strong power applied near the end.
Montalto’s Bronco: Timing issues with the 460 big-block caused it to lose power a short distance into the course.
Montpas’ Willys: First competitor. Ran with 15 pounds of tire pressure and each axle drawn down with the winches. Easy off the line, smooth application of power from the 350ci V-8, Boggers spun to a stop.
Sanders’ Chevy: Encountered a little wheelhop, but feathered the throttle to keep it to a minimum. Four pounds of air in each 54-inch Claw.
Seely’s Suburban: Ran with 14 psi in the Boggers and with the TH400 in First gear. Slight course correction late in the pull.
Spencer’s FJ40: Drew down the axles and ran 15 psi in the 54-inch Claws. Good run with very little wheelhop out of the 6,540-pound rig.
Timson’s YJ: The 54-inch Claws were aired to 14 psi and both axles were drawn down. Rolled the power on from the 8.1L big-block early and shifted the TH400 from First to Second gear along the way. Encountered a little wheelhop.
Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty”: First Buggy Class competitor. Ran with 30 psi in the 54-inch Claws and both axles drawn down. Encountered starting line wheelhop that continued through the run. Broke the front driveshaft at the transfer case.
Results (ranked by overall distance traveled)
1. Dallner’s S-10 106 ft. 0 in.
2. Montpas’ Willys 100 ft. 7 in.
3. Seely’s Suburban 98 ft. 11 in.
4. Keller’s F-350 98 ft. 8 in.
5. Montalto’s Bronco 6 ft. 0 in.
1. Timson’s YJ 98 ft. 5 in.
2. Sanders’ Chevy 97 ft. 5 in.
3. Spencer’s FJ40 95 ft. 6 in.
4. Hall’s Samurai 93 ft. 1 in.
5. Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty” 89 ft. 11 in.