In tractor pulling parlance, a “hook” is when you attempt a pull. A “full pull” is one in which you go the maximum distance of 300 feet.
Jim Walbolt, who had been a contributor to Engine Builder since the early 2000s, suffered a massive heart attack and died back in January. He was only 56 years old.
Jim was one of our original high performance columnists and feature writers and loved racing of all kinds, particularly truck and tractor pulling and stock car racing. Whether it was grassroots or professional, dirt or pavement, if it went fast, made noise and fueled someone’s competitive fire, Jim loved it.
In addition to columns and articles he wrote for us, Jim was a frequent contributor to the National Tractor Pullers Association’s (NTPA) Puller magazine. He was a gifted photographer and was passionate about using words and photos to tell a story.
It seems amazing now, but when Jim first started writing “Fast Lane” for us in 2001, the concept of high performance engine and machine work was somewhat foreign to many of our readers. We encouraged you to diversify your business, look for opportunities outside your comfort zone and take advantage of the rapid growth of high performance enthusiasm.
And, boy, did you respond! Today, more than 82 percent of our readers service the high performance customer. For a lot of these readers, that’s the bulk of their business.
But it still isn’t ALL?of their business. Despite the significant attention paid to high performance in these pages, a sizeable audience continues to do just fine, thank you, serving other markets than the traditional racing and performance customer. We recognize that, which is why we continue to provide detailed editorial information on traditional passenger car engines as well as diesel and other markets, too.
Jim enjoyed writing about shop management and business topics as well, and developed a passion for Web sites and social media. He considered them vital tools that shops need to embrace rather than ignore.
Jim loved being part of this business and couldn’t wait to share his passion with you, the reader. In fact, he was scheduled to write one of the features in this issue and had started doing research at the time of his passing. He was very excited about the growth of diesel motorsports and couldn’t wait to contribute to the special coverage we have planned for our June issue.
Jim will be missed by his family and friends all across the country, and especially here at Engine Builder. Finding a replacement for his writing and photography skills will be a challenge for us…finding a replacement for his energy and enthusiasm will be nearly impossible.