Mitchell’s GRAPE APE takes Big Rigs Opener

Dale Mitchell from Mount Gilead, Ohio brought is beautiful 2018 Peterbilt called the ‘GRAPE APE’ to EXPO Speedway at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in Cortland, Ohio on May 25 and came away with a super victory against eight of the top modified semi trucks in the eastern United States. The truck is powered by a very stout KTA-600 Cummins and was driven to the 355’ mark by 20 year old Colten Reinhart from Fredericksburg, Ohio. Reinhart’s father, Bill Reinhart, is remembered as the pilot of the “Freight Rod” Big Rig for many years.

Second went to Fred Sanders from Ravenna, Ohio with “Silver Bullet II” the former Big Rigs champion. This truck has been sidelined with a serious engine problem for nearly two years and returned to the track with a completely rebuilt single-charger Cummins QXK-19 under the hood. And third place was garnered by “Class Act” with Chris Wood from Wooster, Ohio now sporting a single turbo set-up to allow for more participation in Ohio and Pennsylvania based events.

Justin Fredo from Salem, Ohio put “Cat Scratch Fever” (Mack/CAT) into the number four spot for the Sanders Team and fifth went to “Jerry-Atricks” for the Hairhoger Team of New Galilee, Pennsylvania with Jerry Ray on the controls for the first time in quite a while. Sixth was Wayne Huffman with the new Mack a Giulitto Team acquisition soon to be named and seventh was “Diamond in the Rough” for Jon Rees with the Cummins powered Cab over. Jeff Lautenan continues to have issues with his Pete as the engine seemed great but the transmission was not equal to the task.

Rusty Bagley from Vermont missed the opener with “Twisted Kitty” but indicated that the duo will appear at Brookville, PA on June 15 for their first run. The “Homewrecker” and Jack Griggs also was a No Show at Trumbull County as the 998 cubic inch Mack was not quite ready for 2019.


The Big Rigs go to Bunker Hill on Saturday, June 8 for a ‘SIX PAC” event and then move to Jefferson County, Pennsylvania on May 15 for the next point event the annual get together for the Keystone State Nationals in Brookville.


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