MOUNT VERNON — Driver Jeremy Walker of Danville, Ill., barely edged three-time NTPA national champion J.R. Collins of Painesville to win the Semi division of the NTPA Truck and Tractor pull event at the Knox County Fairgrounds on Sunday evening.
Walker, whose 20,000 pound semi, called the “Double Down,” dragged its load 322-feet, 7 inches, was good enough to defeat the 2008 defending champ by a little over a foot.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Walker. “Actually, this is our third time in a row beating [Collins.] We’re not really running the points for the NTPA. We like to come out and have fun with these guys. The truck was down on RPMs when it hooked, but with the cubic inches, we were able to lug it out.”
Collins, a crowd favorite, may have done better if not for engine trouble.
“I thought I had him,” said Collins. “There’s no reason for that single charger to beat up on me like that. I got a cracked head and it was locked up over at the starting line. I couldn’t get it running because water was in the cylinder, but I don’t know if that had anything to do with it or not. That track was a great track.”
Earlier in the day Shawn Wildermuth of Lewistown won the Super Farm class with a poll of 289.5. Wildermuth’s “The Replacement Deere” was the lone John Deere in a field of seven that qualified for the final runoff.
Wellington’s John Honoshofsky, also driving a John Deere dubbed the “310 Express,” outpulled Mike Linder of Edison and Mike Palmer of Greenville in the Pro Stock class.
“It’s a really nice track,” said Honoshofsky, who is second in points in NTPA Pro Stock Class Region II. “I’ve always liked pulling here — very impressive track. Palmer with ‘Red Avenger’ is a good-running tractor. They’ve won the last three, so it’s good to win one.”
Todd Feiss of Lawrenceburg, Ind., won the modified class as he roared past the crowd with a 305-foot pull in his “Sno’ Farmer Extra.”
Feiss, atop the points leaders in Ohio, is battling for third in NTPA Modified Class Region II. It took quite an effort to stay there this week.
“The tractor has been working real good for us,” said Feiss. “We broke it last Sunday in Bucyrus. We worked on it several days and got it going last night, and it ran pretty good. It ran real good tonight. We got her back on her game, I think.
“This track really hooks good. We had a lot of weight up front. I tried to get on it quick at the start line to get some ground speed going.”