Over the weekend, there was a lot of focus on the Midwest Winter Nationals in Shipshewana, Indiana. WHATSSMOKIN Promotions put on an event that featured three days of sled pulling with trucks, tractors, and more. With over 500 hooks on deck, there was only one that shook up the pulling world. In fact, people who aren’t involved with pulling in any way heard about what happened.
Matt Smith was piloting this beautiful 9700 series Ford tractor when tragedy struck. Everything sounded great, too. As the RPMs of the engine climbed, the boost closely followed, as the power was transferred to the ground, the wheel speed jumped up quickly. Smith and his Ford were on their way down the 300′ track on their way to hopefully a victory when the front of the tractor and parts of the engine became projectiles.
In the photos that were sent in via Facebook, you can see the engine, or at least what is left of it, is still residing in between the frame rails. The other? Forty or fifty feet farther than the tractor. It was said that the engine flew over 30-feet in the air before it finally stopped. Parts of the engine were found throughout the venue, but luckily nobody was hurt.
If you listen to the video, right as the engine explodes, everything goes almost scarily silent. All you can hear is the sound of raining hot metal and debris. Again, we are thankful that nobody was injured during this pull. As it would for anyone, this stinks. For everyone involved, this tractor is said to be a contender and this really will pump the brakes on anyone’s season.
At least this bad ending ended with a victory. That’s right. Even though most of the engine exited the tractor during the pull, Smith’s Ford out pulled the field before him and managed to hold the lead the rest of the evening where he would take the win and the prize. Congratulations on the victory, but we hope you get your ride fixed soon.
Makes you wonder about engine containment. Are these tractors what they could be safety-wise? What measures could be taken? I’m sure after this we’ll be seeing some changes.