Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 01, 2020 09:02AM
Due to the Watson Diesel Nationals being moved from Michigan to Greentown, IN, the wife and I headed up to see some pulling action. It had been a while since I attended a PPL event in person. While I grew up enjoying pulling, my wife did not. My comments include thoughts/observations from someone who is not a pulling fan.

The facility is excellent. Plenty of parking. While there were lots of entries (more on that below), there was also lots more room if they needed it. Pits were on both sides of the grandstands. I thought if they could ever build grandstands on the other side to match the ones on the "grandstand" side, there would be room for an even larger multi-day event. Note- we're not campers so I cannot speak to how the facility is regarding that. Having never been to this place before, I was impressed with both what the promoters had been able to do on short notice, and also the potential for this venue in the future. Grade: A.

The competition- I like all divisions, but personal preference would be tractors. However, recognizing this show was geared primarily to the diesel truck crowd, the list of classes was (mostly) what would would expect. Walking through the pits before the show, I kept thinking "wow, there is lots of iron here." From memory of the results, 26 Limited Pro Diesel trucks, 13 Pro Stock Diesel trucks, 20 Super Stock Diesel trucks, 24 Modified FWD trucks, 18 Unlimited Supers and 22 Super Farms. The overall quality of equipment was top notch, with pullers coming from New York to California, the deep south to upper midwest. Grade: A.

Event pacing: THIS NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. It was a double track but honestly may as well have been a single track as slow as the show seemed. The pull started at 7PM, and was on time. The idea was finish the pull. Then, 30 minutes later there was a concert to take place on a stage near the end of the track.

Most of the pullers, at least in U/SS, FWD, SSD FWD, and many in SF, have ran at Bowling Green before where they run them through fairly quickly. In other words, the majority of pullers have ran at places with a sense of urgency. At this event, there were two tracks with two track crews and two track grading crews.

What happened (most of the time) is one track hooked. Other track: Nothing but an empty sled. Wait (if we're lucky, 1:30-2 minutes. Sometimes seemed longer). Then the next vehicle on the other track start driving up to the start line. Repeat. We left a couple vehicles into the SSD FWD class. If the event kept the same pace, it would have finished sometime after 11:30, taken a 30 minute break, then started a concert after midnight. Had the vehicle on the other track been in the process of hooking while the first track ran, PPL could have shaved at bare minimum 1 hour (probably 1.5 hours) off the show time.

Myself, Jake, and others have criticized NTPA at Bowling Green for having two tractors pull at the same time. I will give the PPL officials some credit, because the few times when there were two vehicles on the two tracks at the same time, they made sure only one was pulling and only gave the vehicle on the other track the green flag once the run was finished (NTPA officials at Bowling Green and Tomah could learn from this). However, those times were few, usually when one track didn't get to 100 feet and was doing a 2nd hook. The vast majority was as described in the prior paragraph.

Keep in mind I was attending with someone that has a limited motorsports background. Her first comment not too far into the event was how long it took for the next vehicle to get on the track. ONE WAY TO NOT GROW THE SPORT IS FOR NEWER OR NOVICE FANS TO FEEL LIKE IT UNNECESSARILY DRAGS ON. I often compare pulling to drag racing, but at an NHRA event, unless there is an oil down, the next pair of nitro cars usually fires up fairly quickly. If you've seen sportsmen, they have the next pair in the water box when the prior pair is pulling off the track.

Some will say we should be glad to have any pulling at all this year (I agree). And, the venue and equipment was outstanding. Whether it was the officials or pullers being a little slow, this needs to be improved. I have read other people on this board criticize PPL in recent years for the slow pace of their shows, and now I understand why. If PPL did nothing else but improve the pacing of their shows, they would greatly improve their product.

Thanks to the promoters and staff who made this happen. Btw- for the first 3 hours in the stands, people where I was for the most part maintained some form of social distancing. As the evening went into the 3rd hour and beyond, not so much. Part of that may have been losing the crowd's attention, even though the actual pulling was fine..... just too much time between runs. If I could give one suggestion to PPL: Run your pulls with a sense of urgency.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2020 09:32AM by The Original Michael.

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 01, 2020 04:30PM
Michael, welcome to the world of PPL pulling. It is no better when they have a single track.

But this problem is NOT exclusive to PPL. Most pulls, regardless of sanctioning body or even lack thereof, have this same problem of taking way too loooonnnnnggggg
to maintain the track between hooks. And the more equipment that is out on the track, the worse the problem becomes and especially so when there are now new people in the maintenance vehicle seat.

I have stated previously a few times on this chatboard about the great efficiency that Michigan's Jarrod Beduhn and his crew, with 3 different units (4010, 806, 966), all in 1 track maintenance tractor scraper / packer performs .

About 3 years ago, at Monroe, which is a double track, 1 unit on one track, another unit on 2nd track. They did not cross over to help one another. And no other maintenance piece was on the track. Those guys know how to get a prime job done & efficiently. I have seen them operate at many MI pulls. Same result every time.

My photos are timed down to the second. From start to finish, averaged exactly every 2 minutes, a vehicle was pulling down the track. And the NTPA event result sheet numbers were identical. And that was with 1 final flagman (yes, he worked both tracks), that knows how to keep a pull moving.

In my long career, that was a rare time when a pull was so efficient and yet entertaining.

Promoters need to step up to the plate and employ this track maintenance efficiency. After all, PROMOTERS, do you not want to keep the fans in the stand until the end of the pull? Unfortunatley, that seldom happens.

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 01, 2020 11:40PM
I'm sure some promoters take a cut from the concession sales as they are more concerned with selling hamburgers and beer than having a pull run in a timely matter. The longer they can keep the fans in the stands the more money the promoter can put in his pocket.

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 02, 2020 01:13AM
The issue in this case wasn't the grooming crew, it was the amount of time it took to get the vehicle on the track. They had 2 grooming crews, one per track (and 2 sets of PPL track officials).

The PPL officials were lax in getting the next vehicle on the track. No reason why the next puller couldn't have been backing to the sled while the other track was running.

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 02, 2020 04:48AM
The outlaws run an extremely fast paced show. I was really impressed in Rock Valley this year.

Great Job! August 04, 2020 03:43AM
I watched the SS class live on FB. 18 vehicles in 57 minutes is scooting. That’s 3 minutes 10 seconds per vehicle. That’s scooting when you consider the track grooming crew, getting vehicles hooked and unhooked, getting vehicle to track. Watching online I thought it was an extremely well run show and would put it at a B+ only at that because I’m sure there are always small things you can improve on, but great job guys!

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 02, 2020 01:04AM
I agree 100% that grooming crew is one of the best in the country. As a puller and a fan they do a great job,I'm always pleased when I drive into the pits and see their equipment on the grounds.

S'no Farmer

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 02, 2020 04:43AM
PPL has always run a slow pull. Hillsboro would be the exception. The Outlaws run a fast pull and the NTPA does pretty good also. If you go to a PPL pull it will take twice as long as anyone else.

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 02, 2020 04:34AM
event highlight videos from JP pulling videos

good to at least see a few events this year


Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 03, 2020 08:59AM
I'm sure the promoters, track crew, and PPL appreciate the feedback but I think the pace was far from a F grade. Yes, at times it was mis-matched from track to track but the show on both tracks finished about the same time and there was over 120 hooks in six classes. Factor in sled changes and resets and I think there might have been a pull off as well....certainly some room for improvement but I don't think it deserved a F.

The Howell's did a great job on the track and it was a facility that usually only uses one track. For the first time holding this type of event I will definitely be back because it was enjoyable all around!

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 03, 2020 01:47PM
Fair enough. I'll up the show pacing to the C-/D+ range. There was way too much down time between hooks for an event with two track crews and two grooming crews, whether the cause was officials, pullers or both.

One thing I wonder about- behind the starting line, they had those tall inflatable sponsor props. Is it possible the puller waiting to hook next cannot see what's happening on the track? Although, if a sponsor inflatable is blocking the view, PPL should have an official positioned where he/she can see the track and the next puller to give the signal to fire the vehicle. Not sure if that was an issue, just speculating.
I agree completely with the last sentence. The venue has great potential. The quality of iron there was first rate. You'd be hard pressed to find a better collection of vehicles in each of the classes. Great job putting this together on short notice.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2020 01:48PM by The Original Michael.

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 03, 2020 02:30PM
They were able to see just fine If they couldn't, Mears or Kristi would be making sure they are getting to the track.

Brent Yaron
Hooked Up Pulling Productions

Hoping it's there again next year August 04, 2020 05:57AM
Kristi and John were waving us up so there was no issue seeing. I think the one item that may have contributed a bit to the delay was in some classes we were lined up on the opposite track when coming off the scales and hitch check. That was due to where we were parked in the pits. So, we may have taken a little more time to get to the sled once we fired up because we had to cross over in front of the other class but nobody was in anybody's way. Really, just a fantastic job by everyone. As Zach said they had very little time to pull this together and despite that it was better than some events I have been to where they plan 365 days in advance.

Not sure what Watson's are thinking for next year but Greentown made a very strong argument to have it back there instead of MI.

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 04, 2020 01:25AM
Thanks everyone for the kind words (except for one). What most people don't realize we had essentially 10 days to put this event together. We took a one track facility and changed it to a two track facility in little time. We hope to have and event in the future of this caliber and we will try to be perfect this time! We ran 129 vehicles in a little over 4 hours. On behalf of everyone at the Howard County Fairgrounds, Greentown Lions Club, Watson Diesel, PPL, and us on the track crew thanks for your support and we hope to see you next year!

Re: Grading PPL Greentown: Facility (A); Equipment (A); Show pacing (F) August 04, 2020 01:40AM
trying to please everyone is impossible and very negative for the masses, we don't need or care for one bad apple.


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