FLETCHER, N.C. — A 1952 Ford 8N tractor dubbed the “8NCREDIBLE,” has taken the title of world’s fastest farm tractor, reaching a speed of 96.3185 miles per hour and breaking an Ab Jenkins tractor land speed record that stood unchallenged for 81 years.
The speed and performance of the flathead Ford V8 powered tractor, built and driven by Jack Donohue of Fletcher, North Carolina, stunned those on hand at a sanctioned land speed event held recently on a concrete landing strip in Wilmington, Ohio, known as the “Ohio Mile.”
Donohue is only the second man in history to attempt land speed racing on a farm tractor. In 1935, Donohue’s hero, David Abbott “Ab” Jenkins made the first and only farm tractor land speed record attempt known to exist. In August of that year, Jenkins crossed Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, at a blistering 67.677 miles per hour on a factory-backed 1932 Allis Chalmers model U.
From farm to NASCAR
Jack Donohue was a NASCAR driver in the mid-70s, and has a car building shop in Fletcher, North Carolina. Raised on a dairy farm in Ontario, Canada, he grew up on an 8N — the first thing he ever drove. And to Donohue, the speeding Jenkins was an icon.
“Forget Clark Kent,” Donohue said, “Ab Jenkins will always be Superman to me.”
During the years he was in professional racing, he restored a few 8N tractors, and converted some to V8’s as a hobby. When he retired, he decided to try and go after the Jenkins tractor record with a racing version of an 8N.
“Few people, including today’s professional racers, have a foggy clue who Ab Jenkins was, or a single thing about feats he accomplished behind the wheel during his lifetime,” Donohue said. “I admit, I’m very proud of the tractor record, but it’s only one of many that Jenkins still holds and this is almost 60 years after his passing.”
Donohue plans to return to the Ohio Mile in the spring to try to eclipse the 100 mile per hour barrier with his 8N, which he feels with a few mechanical refinements, can be done. Donohue also plans to enter his tractor at the August 2016 Speedweek at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah; a dry lake run at El Mirage, California, in September and the “Texas Mile “ in Beeville, Texas in October. All are sanctioned World Land Speed Record events.
In addition to his 2016 racing stops, he is scheduled to appear with his 8NCREDIBLE at various agricultural events and farm equipment shows across the country. You can follow updates on his Facebook page or at http://jackdonohue.com/.
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