Duel of the Fuels: Alcohol and Diesel Tractors Face Off in Super Stock Competition

Published: February 10, 2020 Updated: December 6, 2023

As tractors became more technologically advanced, certain divisions had to be made based on upgrades and modifications. One of the iconic classes to the sport is the Super Stock tractors. Competitors in the early days of Super Stock would use alcohol, diesel, gasoline or even LP-gas to fuel their machines. Diesel was the premier fuel choice in the 70s and 80s, while other fuels dwindled in popularity. Despite this, alcohol tractors continued to battle in Super Stock, showing flashes of outstanding performances in the Light Super Stock class. By the late 80s and early 90s, alcohol-fueled tractors rose to the top of the Super Stock pulling ranks, led by pullers like Bryan and Ernie Conner, alongside Terry Blackbourn and his International/CaseIH machines. By the late 90s, pullers were competing—and winning—with alcohol-powered tractors, leaving diesel in the dust. Considering the disparity between diesel and alcohol tractors, the National Tractor Pulling Association separated the fuels in 1999, creating Super Stock Diesel and Super Stock Open divisions. The Championship Tractor Pull quickly followed suit by separating the classes in 2000.

The separation of fuels into different classes was the standard until very recently. Improvements in diesel-fueled machines have reignited the rivalry between the fuels, and the heated question between fans and pullers now is: “who would win in a duel of the fuels?” In September of 2019 at the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Colin Ross and his machine, “Triple Bypass,” set out to answer that very question. Ross pulled in the Unlimited Super Stock class with his diesel-powered machine, making a case to reunite the fuels by winning the division full of alcohol-powered heavy hitters.

Only a week prior to Ross’s win, the Championship Tractor Pull Committee decided to revert diesel and alcohol to a single Super Stock Diesel-Alcohol Tractors class. “The classes got to a point where only six to seven out of 12 vehicles per class were making good runs. We decided to put them back together so fans can enjoy the rivalry once again,” committee member Mike Whitt said.

“The Super Stock class has a tremendous legacy here, and we want to protect that. By combining the classes, fans will not only cheer for a particular brand to win, but also cheer on their favorite diesel or alcohol puller,” Kentucky State Fair Board member Ryan Bivens said.

Pullers are excited to prove the superiority of their fuel of choice. “I think this will be the most exciting class of the weekend. Fans have asked for it and I’m excited to see how things play out,” Ross said.

Jordan Lustik, winner of multiple titles in the Super Stock class on the “Silver Bullet,” agreed with Ross and said, “I love it. I think the Super Stock class will be the hottest ticket of the weekend.”