1/16 Limited Edition "Rhino AG Wrap" After Midnight Resin Puller, 1 of 300
Feb 2019: We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing on Wednesday, February 13 of John Mumma, 67, of Philo, Illinois. Mr. Mumma died in a traffic accident en route to the National Farm Machinery Show Championship Tractor Pull, where he was to compete with his "After Midnight" Two Wheel Drive.
Mr. Mumma was the vice president of the Ilinois Tractor Pullers Association and a member of the Midnight Motorsports Team along with his daughter Misty Nelson and her husband Jeremy. In addition, Mr. Mumma is survived by his wife Brenda and daughters Robin and Kristin.
A lifelong farmer, Mr. Mumma served his community for many years as a volunteer firefighter, vice president of the park district, and Philo village trustee. A remembrance was published in Monday's Champaign News-Gazette and is linked here.
Please keep the Mumma and Nelson families, the Midnight Motorsports Team, and the ITPA in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve their sudden and tragic loss.
The small rural central Illinois community of Philo is known for a few things: its rich farm ground, die hard allegiance to the local University of Illinois' Fighting Illini, and the Philo Tavern's magnificent plate lunches and cold draft beers. Just off the square in Philo one will find the childhood home of John Mumma, the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour title winner in the Optima Batteries Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Truck class.
To say that Mumma has experienced great success in his short pulling career would be a tremendous understatement as what John has achieved behind the wheel of his Sassy powered After Midnight Chevy SSR has been nothing short of remarkable. Though young as a driver, Mumma was no rookie to the sport of pulling when he entered the 2010 season as the newest driver of the Midnight Motorsports Team. With a lifetime spent working on the board of directors with the state organization in Illinois and several years as the crew chief for his son-in-law Jeremy Nelson, (Speedco Midnight Gambler) the 2011 Champions Tour title winner, John had a firm foundation of roots for which to begin his career.
In his rookie campaign he collected top honors on the Champions Tour at Connersville, Indiana, while securing a top ten finish in the final point's race. 2011 brought his first appearance at the National Farm Machinery Show where he grabbed a win on Thursday Night, giving him tremendous enthusiasm heading into the 2011 season. Mumma wanted to avoid the sophomore slump and though he didn't claim an individual win, he did finish respectably in the end of the season points hunt.
John knew that 2012 was to be a special year since all of the preparation he and his teammates had put into 2010 and 2011 had created a winning formula to build upon. As the season kicked off again in Louisville, John was thrilled to win on Friday night on his way to a fourth place finish in the finals. As he strapped into the seat in Saluda, South Carolina for the kick off of the Champions Tour, John possessed a confidence he hadn't felt in his previous two years on the circuit. Knowing he had a proven setup with his Sassy Racing Engine made him more relaxed in the seat as he bent the throttle over on a cool southern night. A pulloff appearance with two of his teammates made the night nearly a dream before the rains came and put a major damper on the event. The rain however, was not enough to dampen Mumma's excitement for the season.
At the next stop on the Champions Tour the After Midnight Chevy had the winning formula on the red clay of Lincolnton, North Carolina. As he addressed the crowd in a post pull interview, Mumma was the picture of confidence, which was just the edge he had lacked in the previous years on the Lucas Oil Circuit. Collecting a win early in the season only punctuated the idea that Mumma was primed for a run at a Championship. The early start for John and Son-in-Law Jeremy made for some exciting times around the farm as hopes grew for a 1-2 finish and a sweep of the top five by the Illinois Boys.
As the dog days of summer arrived, so too did the perennial threat, the Long Brothers, who had recovered from an early season setback to rally the MAVTV Chevy into the title race taking the lead heading into the event in Altamont, Illinois, with the Midnight Motorsports team following closely. "From the beginning of the season, I was concerned about the Long Brother's and I continued to look over my shoulder for them after we took the lead in Altamont," commented John. To win a championship, a competitor must constantly be near the top of the finishing order and that certainly was the case for John Mumma in 2012, where he finished outside of the top five just three times. Consistent finishes prevented the MAVTV truck from being able to bridge the gap to the front of the pack, as Keith Long threw every trick he had to make up ground. Heading into the rain cancelled event at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, Mumma held a nine point advantage in his pursuit of the title. "Arriving in Wheatland, I felt confident and was truly disappointed that we didn't get a chance to put an exclamation point on a great season, "stated Mumma.
The 2012 championship marks the second straight for the Midnight Motorsports Team, and the state of Illinois, since all five trucks work together in harmony with a common goal of representing the state as strong as possible. "It is great to have competitors to share notes and information with. We are glad to bring another championship back to Illinois, and I appreciate all of their help in making it happen,"added John Mumma. Like the sport of pulling, the Midnight Motorsports team is built on a firm foundation of family and long standing friendships. With John's son-in-law Jeremy as his trailer mate, Jeremy's brothers, (Jared and Jordan) and close friend Mark Austin all relaying information for the betterment of the team, there is great power in knowledge and a high degree of trust to inspire positive outcomes.
A few years ago John Mumma stumbled on the final piece that he and Jeremy needed to complete their team puzzle. The piece came in the form of their crew chief and John's lifelong friend Dale Kirby, who throughout the pulling season spends tireless hours working to insure that when the trucks hit the track they are ready, not only to compete but are in the finest professional condition possible.
With his family by his side John Mumma rode off into the sunset with the Championship in the Optima Batteries Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Truck class, an achievement that brings him great pride. "I can't thank my teammates, my wife Brenda and family, crew chief Dale Kirby and friends enough for their continued support throughout the summer. I truly appreciate Forrest and Charlotte Lucas for their commitment to the sport and Pro Pulling League Staff for taking the Lucas' vision and applying it to our sport. Our Team receives support from Speedco Truck Lube and Tire, CP Pistons, and Sassy Racing Engines, and to each of them I am grateful for their contribution to the success of our Midnight Motorsports Team. I additionally want to thank Optima Batteries for supporting and helping to bring more exposure to the Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Class."
Just a few years ago, John Mumma was a loving husband, a proud father, beaming grandfather and farmer from Philo, Illinois, but now he is the Champion of the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League's Optima Batteries Super Modified Two Wheel Drive Truck Class.