Truck Night at Millers Tavern July 2018

August 8, 2018

Millers Tavern, Virginia, United States of America is the kind of place you drive through on your way to other places, the beach, the river, amusements, you get the idea.  For me, it has always been a destination.  It is the home of truck pulling in the whole wide world.  With recent 2017 NTPA Grand National Modified 4x4 Champion Peyton Davis and "The Punisher", 2017 Shell Rotella Cup Champion Ben Ellis Jr and "Benjammin" as well as "The Punisher" in the second spot, and 2017 Region NTPA Region IV Champion Bunky Davis and "Seldom Seen" all calling this area home, who could argue.  Some would still try.

It also plays host to the most competitive truck class on the planet, the 6400LB Pro Stock 4x4 trucks.  There are anywhere from 15-20 trucks that tour the region beating up on tracks, each other, and putting on a world-class show every time out.  It is diverse as well featuring all major brands Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, GMC, and even Studebaker.  It also has to its credit several fearless ladies that get in on the action at the top as well.  On this gorgeous night, it got kicked off by a sweet running Ford called Miss B'Havin' that was driven by Willie Rutherford who eased the sled to 324 thus leading to a sled reset.  Upon reset, Bob Simmons whose been coming on strong of late pulled 314.85.  We are now dialed in, the sled is set!  Next comes Bill Good and goes 313.09 on his "Virginia Lightning".  Willie Rutherford comes back on the "Living on A Prayer" Ford and goes 315.76.  Next comes Wesley Keys who is current points leader for the 6400 Pro Stock class with his "Black Ice The Sequel" Chevrolet.  He laid a picture perfect pass of 320.59.  Which led the announcer to say, "We gonna go to Tappahannock Chevrolet to look at the Chevrolet trucks.  Where are my Chevrolet fans at?"  I used their logos as they help Dragon Motorsports out tremendously (www.dragonpulls.com).  The ladies came later in the class with the best hooks coming earlier in the class.  Kathy Jewel and her "Tenacious" Chevy powered-Dodge went 305.44 and Tammy Houser and her GMC went 303.72.  This is truck country and you have to live in it to truly understand it.  Songs are written about the way of life and the people have embraced it truly saying, "Truck Yeah!"

Garden Tractors is that a thing?  Yes, why yes it is.  It may not have the speed of the bigger classes or the tech of the speed sleds.  What there is is a bunch of competitors coming out of the woodworks to compete for trophies and such.  On this day of filming under my umbrella protected perch, I witnessed near 200 pullers do down the track.  Kohler, Briggs Stratton, Yard Man, Cub Cadet, all painted up like mini tractors resembling Case, Ford, International.  For the night show, it featured a 1050 Shootout featuring 20 of the finest pullers on the Day.  Glen Conrad out his International on the top spot, Travis Stanley took the second spot, and Thomas Hall came in on the last hook and made it work for the third spot.

Semis, semis, semis, the fans have spoken and they want Semis!  It is true we simply do not get enough semi trucks here in Virginia, although it is a vital part of moving and keep the East Coast supplied with goods.  The Street Semi class featured one of the largest trucking outfits in Virginia L L Carter out of Ruther Glenn.  They bring literally truckloads of trucks to events.  This night got started with a white Freightliner going 341.70.  The next truck that comes up is a Pete and it looks "hot" not just in look but really built up.  It went a distance of 350 plus leading to a sled reset.  The next truck is driving by Billy Sims on Kenworth out of the L L Carter camp.  Billy went 234.11.  The built up came back and went 360.  It is definitely a Hot Rod semi!  A Western Star comes out next from L L Carter and goes 247.  Nick Carter who is the ringleader for the L L Carter camp came next in his purple Western Star went 303.57.  So the winner was the Peterbilt but you and I both will have to agree it was out of its class.  It would appear later in the Hot Rod Semi class.  So I would have to give Nick Carter the class win being the most resembled Street Semi in the group.  These guys don't get points, so whatever shout out we can give them helps, right?

Who has a tractor class on a truck night?  Well, we do.  Keep in mind the V8 Modified tractor class utilized V8 small blocks which probably were in a truck at one time or another.  This class is pretty much sponsored by James River Tappahannock (www.jamesriverequipment.com).  Tell em Greyson and Kevin English and Willy T at WWPTV sent you!  Might just get you a free coozy!  On this night we only had two competitors.  With a few pullers down on parts and a few others being built up, we had Hugh Crittendon and "Full Throttle" and Kevin English and his tractor the "Gambler".  If I were a gambling man, I am betting one of these two men will be the 2018 Points Champion.  Hugh comes out first and goes 123.93 turns it down and Kevin English goes 223.09.  They decide to reset the sled and after all, they are truck engines and not your traditional diesel engines that need to cool down.  Hugh comes back and goes 279.52.  Keving comes back and goes just about 75 feet before getting out of it.  They pull him back to the starting line.  He then proceeds to go 275.48.  Hugh is your winner.  The Virginia Sportsman!  Hugh took the night on his "Full Trottle" Chevy-powered John Deere.  I can see where this is headed...to a showdown in October at the Southern Showdown October 5th and 6th.  Mark your calendars now!

What to write about next hmm?  How about some Trucks Gone Wild?  Well, maybe not the mud bogging kinds.  But these Wheel Standing Mega trucks put on a show all over Virginia.  We only had two on the night, Ford versus Chevy!  Butch Self versus the world.  The world being Davin Brann, pronounced Devon, and his yellow Chevy from Davis Offroad (www.davisoffroad.com).  So Butch went first and he went 290.99 with multiple wheelies at the end of the track a big deal in terms of a Mega Monster truck hook.  Davin came next and went all over the track going 284.17.  The winner was decided by crowd noise.  They awarded the winner to the Ford.  I backed up and the Ford had 10.4db in terms of crowd support where the Chevy had 10.3db.  Using technology to back up pulling, I love it!

For the last big story on the night, we circle back to the subject of the truck pulling home in all the world.  We nearly a dozen of Grand National and Regional talented drivers just inside 12 miles, it is hard to not call this the home of truck pulling.  Hometown kid Mason Brizendine and heir apparent in the "Footloose" traditions of Millers Tavern, drove his truck called "Cutloose" 323.06.  This is an outstanding distance for this class.  Daniel Simmons came next and went 292.75 before nearly taking off some digits from unhooker Mark Davis.  Yeah, these trucks get hooked and dialed in and then they don't necessarily easily back them up.  Next came the aforementioned Ben Ellis and "Benjammin" Chevrolet.  We have had an outstanding offseason help Ben with pictures for shirts, puller cards, you name it and we like to help pullers.  And after the season Ben had, you want to spread the word.  So Ben comes next lays down a perfect run easing his truck to a smooth finish going 323.36 followed by some fire coming out of the engine and shutting off.  The kill switch came out but it wasn't sled operator pulled. Whatever caused it, it landed him in the top spot on this night.  It never fails anytime I am feeling down on myself and life seems too big, John T Davis calls.  It never fails.  You ask me how I am still doing this, it is these timely calls of encouragement.  If I need an idea bounce, he is my guy.  John T came out on the "The Legend" and went 320.03.  Randy Brann came out on the Ford called "Last Call" and went 318.62.  Last up was Kevin Schools and he went 316.11 to round out the class.  Ben, Mason, John T, and Randy all made your top 4.  So we have some work to do on this class' numbers.  All in all, it was a great night for Chevy-powered vehicles.  Ernie Deel would take your Small Block 4x4 class going 325.64 putting 14 foot on the next nearest competitor.  The Small Block 4x4 class is all Chevy so it really a battle of paint and driving skills.

Hot Rod semis came back and Nick Carter stole the show in what I call "Thundercraker".  It literally sounds like he is sending a message to the heavens like some non-autonomous version of a Transformer.  I think he calls the Western Star it "Clean Burn".  Call it what you want, that thing goes "Pop, POP, pop pop, POP" down the track making you laugh inside like a school girl.  "What's that mom?",  "Becuase I like semis any they make me feel good!", "That's why!"  She doesn't call anymore and I don't know why.  

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