Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Pulling a way of life for Super Stock Diesel champ Stacey
WHEATLAND, MO. (Sept. 22, 2022) - Growing up on a farm in southern Ohio, Erik Stacey always was around farm tractors and trucks. On weekends, truck and tractor pulling was something people did to have fun and his uncles and other friends took it to a competition level.
“I’ve been around it all my life,” Stacey said. “I was just out of high school and I started seeing guys pulling in diesel trucks. It was at the beginning stages (of competition) and I decided that I wanted to get involved.
“I got my feet wet in it and just never looked back. Now here we are and I’m in my 22nd year of pulling and on the national circuit for over 15 years.”
Stacey, in his "SmoknYa HD" Chevy, is one of the elite pullers on the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, which makes its annual visit to Lucas Oil Speedway on Friday and Saturday. The Winchester, Ohio, resident will be attempting to nail down a second straight Super Stock Diesel Trucks season championship.
On Friday night at the Pro Pulling Nationals, classes scheduled to be in action tentatively include the ARP Lightweight Super Stock Tractors, Summit Racing Mini Rod Tractors, ARP Super Stock Diesel Trucks and Limited Pro Stock Tractors.
Spectator gates open at 4 p.m. with pulling getting underway at 7.
Classes in action on Saturday night include the Big River Steel Super Modified Tractors, Unlimited Super Stock Tractors, Super Farm Tractors, Optima Batteries Super Modified 2WD Trucks, Pro Modified 4WD Trucks, 10,000 Pro Stock Tractors and Mac Trailer Hot Rod Semis.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with pulling beginning at 6 p.m. on the final night.
Stacey said it’s rare for anyone in the Super Stock Diesels to go back-to-back in the points championship due to the quality and depth of the division on the Lucas Oil Champions Tour.
“We kind of set off this summer not knowing whether we were going to run the full circuit,” Stacey said. “Last year was kind of a bucket-list item to win it last year. When fuel prices spiked at the beginning of the year, we said we’ll take off and see how we’re doing and by August 1st, we’ll make a decision.
“We came out of the gate and won two out of the first three this season and never looked back. We’ve had a good year. It’s been just as good as last year, surprisingly. It’s kind of hard to put into words sometimes.”
Stacey said there are 15-20 vehicles in the Super Stock Diesels capable of winning on any given night with about a dozen competing on the circuit full time.
“It’s just like in the Super Late Model division and all those classes, everybody has good stuff,” Stacey said. “It boils down to being consistent and trying to basically limit your bad finishes. If you’ve got something that’s a top piece of equipment you’re going to give yourself an opportunity every night to be there, as long as you get a good draw position.”
Stacey’s motorsports experience is not limited to pulling. His brother, Nick Latham, is a former Late Model driver who has raced some Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events. The Ralph Latham Memorial Late Model race at Florence Speedway in Kentucky is named after Nick’s grandfather.
Just like in dirt Late Models, technology has evolved tremendously in pulling since Stacey got started in the sport.
“It started in the 2000s with turbo technology, fuel system, chassis and tires,” Stacey said. “Then about 2012 or ’13, it made a big jump when we changed some stuff in the motor program. Not just myself, but the whole division.
“I don’t want to say it has peaked, but it got to the point where our horsepower went from point A to B really quick. We run 7,500 pounds maximum weight and we’ve crossed that thresh hold. Now we make more HP than we can apply to the track. It’s in the drivers’ hands a lot more. You have to be very good with the throttle to get the maximum out of the vehicle.”
Stacey and SmoknYa HD take a 14-point lead into the season finale over Chase Eller and the Caretaker Dodge based in Lafayette, Tennessee
Spectator admission Friday:
Adults (16 and up) $20
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $17
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $45 (Click here for more information)
Spectator admission Saturday:
Adults (16 and up) $25
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $22
Youth (6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $60 (Click here for more information)
Fans can visit propulling.com for archived stories, schedules and point standings for the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League.
Here's a look at the different divisions and some background on each:
Lightweight Super Stocks: These tractors are known for their amazing wheel speed and wild rides. Weighing in at 6,300 pounds, the Light Super Stocks are the lightest tractors on the Champions Tour. Limited to 504 cubic inches, the majority of these tractors have converted to alcohol to defeat their competitors.
Super Stock Diesel Trucks: It's the fastest-growing class in the Pro Pulling League. Fans shout and cheer their brand loyalty as these 8,000 pound pick-ups come out to shows in large quantities. Running an OEM body makes this class easier to relate to their farm and work vehicles sitting in the parking lot.
Limited Pro Stock Tractors: The Limited Pro Stock class is a tip of the hat to the younger days of Pro Stock Tractor pulling. Limited to a 4.1 turbo charger, 640 cubic inches, and 9,500 pounds, this class has become a hot button topic with the fans of the Pro Pulling League. The heartland of the U.S. can relate to this once start-up class, now to the bright lights of the biggest PPL events.
Mini Rod Tractors: The Mini-Rods may be small in size but the fun factor to watch is off the charts. Weighing just 2,050 pounds with 2,500 horsepower under the drivers fingertips makes for an exciting path down the 300-foot track.
Super Modified Tractors: This class is an engineer's dream, as the goal is to get four Hemi's, three Turbines or Allison Aircraft Engines to sing in harmony, in a pursuit of putting the power to the track. Tipping the scales at 7,800 pounds, the competitors in the Super Modified Tractor class must use every ounce to they have to their advantage. Fans from across the country, pack the stands for a chance to watch these machines throw dirt and with the power of over 10,000 horses.
Unlimited Super Stock Tractors: It's 8,000 pounds of high-flying fun with the Unlimited Super Stocks. Limited to 650 cubic inches, these machines may boast as many as four turbo chargers staged together. 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.
Super Farm Tractors: Competing at 9,300 pounds, the Super Farm Tractor class relies on a single turbo charger and 640 cubic inches to power down the pulling surface. Known throughout the country as one of the largest classes in pulling, the Super Farm Tractors class is most typically the closest class from the first place finisher to the 10th position.
Super Modified 2WD Trucks: The Super Modified Two-Wheel Drive Truck division is another filled with colorful American-made truck body styles, equally dazzling paint schemes and some of the more popular personalities behind the wheel. Using supercharged and alcohol-injected drag racing-type engines, these trucks awe the crowd with their power and on-track antics, with part of their weight transfer characteristics resulting in towering wheel-stands at various points along the track. Their machines can weigh no more than 6,200 pounds.
Pro Modified 4WD Trucks: Referred by many as using "mountain motor" technology, these carbureted behemoths draped in the most popular American-made pickup truck body styles have no engine size limit – and some are topping out at over 800 cubic-inches on alcohol fuel. One of the larger classes at any event, the Pro Mod Four-Wheel Drive Truck must weigh a maximum of 6,350 pounds.
10,000 Pro Stock Tractors: Pro Stock Tractors are truly for the brand-loyal, die-hard tractor pulling enthusiast. Here, the John Deeres have reigned supreme for years, but the challenges brought on by other popular makes and models such as International have not relegated them to the winner circle automatically. These machines top out at a maximum of 10,000 pounds and may bolt on a single turbocharger to an engine that can be built up to 680 cubic-inches in displacement. Using a combination of diesel fuel and water injection, these monsters contain some of the more legendary teams in the sport.
Hot Rod Semis: Though these rigs may look similar to the one that towed them in, they are not quite the average truck one may pass on the highway. At 20,000 pounds, this class is the heaviest of the Champions Tour competitors. Pulling with DOT approved tires, the Hot Rod Semis have become a fan favorite across the country. With many competitors running multiple turbochargers, this class has become known for its power and thrilling performances by each competitor.
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Article Credit: By Lyndal Scranton, Lucas Oil Speedway