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AT THE 2017 WAGLER DIESEL COM­PE­TI­TION

Diesel World - - Contents - BY KYLE TOBIN PHO­TOS BY CHRIS TOBIN KYLE TOBIN

The Wagler Diesel Com­pe­ti­tion has al­ways had the goal of step­ping up the tra­di­tional diesel show with the ad­di­tion of live mu­sic to their two-day events—but this year, Jeremy Wagler and his team wanted to take it fur­ther. Af­ter the ex­cite­ment of the high-speed drag racing at the UCC event as well as Wagler’s friend­ship with Street Out­law leg­ends Farm Truck, AZN, and Jeff Lutz, the de­ci­sion was made to add a third day for some drag racing com­pe­ti­tion. Wagler wanted to use the oc­ca­sion to help bridge the gap be­tween gas and diesel drag rac­ers with five sim­ple classes, four of which could burn ei­ther fuel. The stage was set for an epic and unique diesel event June 9-11, 2017, in El­dora and Lyons, In­di­ana, just a few miles from the home of Wagler Com­pe­ti­tion Prod­ucts in Odin.

Fri­day and Satur­day were set to host a show-n-shine as well as a dyno com­pe­ti­tion on the Diesel Doc­tor’s dyno through­out both days, with sled pulling start­ing each evening. It’s com­mon in dyno bat­tles to have cat­e­gories for top Chevy, Dodge, and Ford, which were im­ple­mented at WDC. But Wagler again wanted a unique as­pect to the rollers and added a fourth cat­e­gory, King of the Dyno, for race-level per­form­ers to en­ter and wow the crowd. Plenty of ni­trous was sprayed to push the win­ning trucks to four-digit horse­power lev­els in all classes. Vin­nie Hobert was the sur­prise win­ner for the Top Ford class with more than 1,200 ghetto-fogged horse­power from his 2004 E-350 daily driv­ing work van that he and his friends had lit­er­ally fin­ished putting to­gether the night be­fore. When it came time for the King of the Dyno com­pe­ti­tion, Lavon Miller brought his Ucc-win­ning 2006 Dodge Ram 2500. Miller had some con­cerns with his ma­chine and so he took it easy on the rollers, yet was still able to throw down more than 1,600 horse­power to take home the crown.

On Satur­day, the PPL sled pulling didn’t start un­til af­ter a chil­dren’s trac­tor pull was held in­side the cov­ered sec­tion of ven­dor dis­plays. Kids were sep­a­rated into a few weight di­vi­sions to be fair with the weight they would have to pedal down the con­crete. A crowd gath­ered around to cheer as each kid tried their best to drag the sled by their own mus­cle.

As evening came, the stands in front of the pull track be­gan to fill in ea­ger ex­pec­ta­tion of the big show. On Fri­day in

the Limited Pro Stock Diesel Truck class, Mac Cot­trell took his Can­tan­ker­ous Dodge 6 feet past the com­pe­ti­tion for a win­ning pull of 333 feet. Satur­day night saw a whole dif­fer­ent group of podium fin­ish­ers, with Jeff Hossler’s Flirt N With Disas­ter Dodge top­ping the pack at 326 feet.

Two classes of trac­tors also took to the track both Fri­day and Satur­day night. In the Limited Pro Stock trac­tor class, one driver, Justin Wagler, took both nights’ vic­tory with his ca­pa­ble Real Deere ma­chine, pulling 358 feet Fri­day and 310 feet Satur­day. For the Hot Farm trac­tors, Jeff Fleck pi­loted his Red Strokes beast 337 feet down the clay to win Fri­day night, while Char­lie Kirschner on Never-e-nuff went 325 feet to win Satur­day.

The Pro Stock Diesel Truck class saw a tight bat­tle for the top of the podium dur­ing Fri­day’s event, with Jim Green­way tak­ing the Gertrude Dodge 342.88 feet, less than an inch and a half past Matt Penn. But Penn didn’t give up; he ral­lied hard the next day to win Satur­day night with a 318-foot hook.

De­spite the Pro Stock and Su­per Stock trucks now look­ing so sim­i­lar, the crowd still gets ex­cited when they see the fa­mil­iar and out­landish paint schemes of the Su­per Stock Diesel Truck class take to the dirt. Kent Crow­der and the light­ning-cov­ered Scheid Diesel Dodge over­took them all at 352 feet for the Fri­day night class win. On Satur­day night, Justin Gearhart proved to be the Cream of the Crop as he rose to the top of the class to win at 326 feet down the track.

With two days of in­tense sled pulling, awe­some dyno ac­tion, amaz­ing trucks to gawk at, and out­stand­ing live mu­sic per­for­mances both nights, some might be con­tent to wrap up a show. But not Wagler and his team. They moved the event to the Lyons Race­way Park dragstrip on Sun­day to al­low gas and diesel cars and trucks to bat­tle it out for a whole lot of green and a whole lot of pride. With­out

any bracket or slower classes, racing ac­tion would be noth­ing but run-what-you-brung, heads-up racing. The five classes would con­sist of a 7.70 in­dex Street Fighter class open to gas or diesel, a 6.70 In­dex that was open as well, a Pro Street diesel truck class, and the two In­stant Green classes open to ei­ther fuel and di­vided only by tire size. And be­tween th­ese classes, Farm Truck and Jeremy Wagler would pi­lot the Wagler Shop Truck against Jeff Lutz in his ’69 Ca­maro dubbed Mad Max for some ex­hi­bi­tion passes down the track.

In the in­dex classes, it came down to sev­eral gassers in the fi­nals since the classes ended up filled with mostly lo­cal gas rac­ers. Hope­fully next year more diesel trucks will step up to the plate and take the chal­lenge headon. In the 7.70 Street Fighter group, it came down to Ken­neth Boucherie in his 1990 Ford Mus­tang against Bill Mc­carty’s 1984 Dodge D150, where Mc­carty took home the class win. For the 6.70 rac­ers, Garry Har­ris in a 2005 Chevy Sil­ver­ado squared off against Joey Moore and his 1998 Chevy Ca­maro—and a truck took the vic­tory once again.

Two-time UCC cham­pion Lavon Miller and his 2006 Dodge Ram was a fa­vorite go­ing into the Pro Street class, and he made his way into the fi­nal. But when he went up against Johnny Gil­bert in his tube-chas­sis 2001 Ram, Miller had some is­sues at the line while Gil­bert launched clean to take the Pro Street win.

The In­stant Green Big Tire class came down to Judd Coff­man’s ’67 pro mod Shelby Mus­tang and Richard Ed­wards’ 2015 drag­ster. Coff­man had been con­sis­tently fast and al­though the rail was quicker,

Coff­man took the class win by reaction time and faster mph. Ryan Mil­liken and his elec­tric green Cum­min­spow­ered Chevy Nova II beat sev­eral gassers across the line to make it to the Small Tire class fi­nal against Nick Taylor in the Chevy Mal­ibu he calls Mal­i­boost. It was a tight race all the way down the track but Mil­liken pulled around the Mal­i­boost at the top end of the track for the win.

Be­tween the in­no­va­tive drag racing, a large field of sled pullers, and one-off live con­certs, Wagler and his ded­i­cated fam­ily and friends worked hard un­der the sun to pull off an­other amaz­ing and unique event packed with about 4,000 fans. The Wagler crew didn’t

shy away from tak­ing the event to the next level as they con­tinue to build a show wor­thy of ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion. With a large group of sled pullers chomp­ing at the bit and the chal­lenge put out to all the diesel drag rac­ers to step up to the plate, next year’s Wagler Diesel Com­pe­ti­tion prom­ises to hit a whole new level. We hope we see you there.

 Street Out­laws 405 mem­ber Farm Truck along with Jeremy Wagler teamed up in the Wagler Shop Truck, and Jeff Lutz lined up in his Mad Max Ca­maro pro mod in the other lane to give the fans a show.

 Rich Strube was the big win­ner in the show-n-shine, tak­ing the Best Over­all on Satur­day with this ag­gres­sive GMC De­nali du­ally, and the Best GM with his other lifted du­ally.

 Vin­nie Hobert also hit the burnout pad poured specif­i­cally for the WDC to show some white tire smoke.

 A 337-foot pull gave Jeff Fleck the Hot Farm Trac­tor class win for Fri­day night.

 Mac Cot­trell plowed his way to the top of the Limited Pro Stock class in his Can­tan­ker­ous ma­chine that pulled 333 feet Fri­day night.

 Win­ning both Fri­day and Satur­day’s Limited Pro Stock Trac­tor class pulls was Justin Wagler in his Real Deere rig.

 Gertrude took Jim Green­way 342 feet for the Pro Stock class win dur­ing Fri­day night’s pull.

 With dirt fly­ing, Matt Penn and the Penn Farms rig made a 318-foot pull to take home the Pro Stock class vic­tory on Satur­day.

 Jeff Hossler wasn’t Flirt N With Disas­ter too much on Satur­day when he took his ma­chine 326 feet to win the Limited Pro Stock class.

 Huge smiles were ev­ery­where in­side the ven­dor area as sev­eral kids tried their best to drag a sled down the con­crete and had a blast do­ing it.

 Cream of the Crop rose to the top of the Su­per Stock class Satur­day night with Justin Gearhart pulling 324 feet.

 The Scheid Diesel Dodge took Kent Crow­der to first place in the Su­per Stock class Fri­day with a 352-foot pull.

 A couple of fast Pro Street diesel trucks square off to bat­tle as the stands fill with ea­ger spec­ta­tors.  At the dragstrip, Farm Truck and Jeff Lutz of Street Out­laws took time out from pre­par­ing their race ve­hi­cles to sign au­to­graphs and spend time with the fans.

 The Big Tire fi­nal came down to Judd Coff­man’s pro mod ’67 Shelby Mus­tang against Richard Ed­wards’ drag­ster, where Coff­man came out on top.

 Two four-wheel-drive diesel beasts lined up for the Pro Street fi­nal, but when Lavon Miller had trou­bles get­ting off the line, Johnny Gil­bert cut a great light and left Miller in his smoke to take the class win.

 Ryan Mil­liken was yank­ing his front tires off the ground a bit to drive his Chevy Nova around Nick Taylor’s Mal­ibu. With only two tenths of a sec­ond to spare but more than 20 mph faster, Mil­liken took the win in the Small Tire class.

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