September 24, 2020
Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Hirt, Runin' Bare chase Super Stock Tractor title at Lucas Oil Pro Pulling Nationals
WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 24, 2020) - Since Jeff Hirt can remember, Pro Pulling has been a part of his family's fabric. Jeff’s dad, Bill, began pulling in 1973 and Jeff began driving the powerful Unlimited Super Stock Tractors in 1995 as a 15-year-old.
“It’s the challenge to taking something that was designed to make 250 horsepower and try to make 6,000 out of it,” Jeff Hirt said of the division’s appeal.
This weekend will continue that high-powered tradition as the Hirt family makes the 11-hour haul to Lucas Oil Speedway with their tractor “Runin’ Bare” for the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Nationals. Their goal is to take the Unlimited Super Stock Tractor season championship back to Port Clinton, Ohio, near the shore of Lake Erie.
Hirt and Runin’ Bare enter Saturday’s season finale with a precarious two-point lead over Bob Gansemer in Ruttin Deer. Those two likely will decide the championship when Super Stock Tractors fire up on Night Two of the Pro Pulling Nationals in front of the Lucas Oil Speedway main grandstand.
Jeff Hirt has piloted Runin’ Bare to championships in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015. This one, if it happens, will be hard-earned with an ability to overcome adversity. Over the last week, there has been major mechanical repairs, just to get ready to compete.
All this extra work took place while also overseeing a 2,000-acre family farm and a lawn and garden dealership in Port Clinton.
“We changed some stuff on the turbos and went and made a test run and tore up the block,” Jeff Hirt said. “We finally finished (Tuesday) after about seven days straight of working on it.
“We’re just hoping for the best. The good Lord willing, everything will work out.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League website describes the Super Stock Tractors as “limited to 650 cubic inches, these machines may boast as many as four turbo chargers staged together in song. With methanol pumping through these engines, the Unlimited Super Stocks have become known for their ground pounding power and amazing wheel speed. Keeping these bad boys between the lines and settled down is a daunting task for the driver, but the fans can't get enough of the awesome power coming from these machines.”
Asked what the key is as the driver, Hirt said the start is crucial.
“You need to get a good hole shot, get good ground speed early,” he said. “Have your balance right so you can carry the front, but having good ground speed is the biggest key in our class - and most classes.
“We just enjoy it. The whole family comes along and it’s just a great experience.”
The unique name Runin’ Bare goes more than four decades, to when Bill Hirt was piloting the tractor. Jeff said his dad kept taking parts off the tractor to make it conform to weight regulations.
“The joke was, if it had to get any lighter he would be running without any clothes on, so he’d be running bare,” Jeff Hirt said. The name stuck and continues to be one of the most-familiar ones in Pro Pulling.
A fifth Lucas Pro Pulling championship would be extra special to the entire family.
“It would definitely be an honor,” Jeff Hirt said. “My mom has dementia. We’ve had to make some arrangement so Dad can make it out there and be there if we’re lucky enough to pull it off.
“We’ve worked awfully hard to give it a try. Whatever happens is going to happen. Saturday night will tell the tale. We hope to put on a good show and, from there on out, let the chips fall where they may.”
The Pro Pulling Nationals open on Friday with action in Light Weight Super Stocks, Mini Rod Tractors, Limited Pro Stock Diesel Trucks and Limited Pro Stock Tractors. On Saturday, classes will be Super Modified Tractors-Presented by Big River Steel, Unlimited Super Stock Tractors, Super Farm Tractors, Super Modified 2WD Trucks, Pro Modified 4WD Trucks and 10,000 Pro Stock Tractors.
Gates open at 4 p.m. both days with pulling set to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. For fans that cannot attend, both bays events will air LIVE on www.LucasOilRacing.TV.
For the latest news, results, schedule and other information about the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League visit www.propulling.com.
Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Nationals
At Lucas Oil Speedway
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5 & under) FREE
Family Pass $45
Adults (16 and over) $25
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $22
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 & under) FREE
Family Pass $60
For ticket questions or information for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984