Video: Have You Ever Watched a Tractor Pull Before?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/X2_48aPpMt8

Don't get us wrong, we enjoy good old drag racing as much as the next person, but we have to admit that pulling a giant, heavy sled when you do it seems to add another level of excitement to the equation.

To get a better idea of the sport, competitors are tasked with pulling a sled down a track that normally measures about 330 feet. Each class of vehicles gets a set weight, and the winner is the competitor who pulls the sled the farthest.

Of course, that's not all. As it's pulled, the sled mechanically transfers its mass from the rear to the front, which increases the amount of friction the sled has with the ground. That means the farther the sled is pulled, the harder it is to move.

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djsilver (Forum Supporter)
djsilver (Forum Supporter) Reader
9/3/20 2:19 p.m.

I've seen them pull, but I've also watched real tractors pulls with farmers using the same tractors they plow with at a county fair.  I've also watch "lawn tractor pulls" with a little "lawn tractor" sized pulling sled.  The most interesting one had a lawn tractor with a Honda Gold Wing motor in it!

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/3/20 2:35 p.m.

In reply to djsilver (Forum Supporter) :

I like the sound of those lawn tractor pulls.

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
9/3/20 3:02 p.m.

I used to watch these on ESPN decades ago when they televised motorsports.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/3/20 3:08 p.m.

You have never seen a catastrophic engine failure until you have seen a top level pull tractor let go at full scream.

 

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
9/3/20 3:12 p.m.

A few years back I got to watch the NC State Fair tractor pull from the ferris wheel. That was a fun perspective.

Uncle David (Forum Supporter)
Uncle David (Forum Supporter) New Reader
9/3/20 3:53 p.m.

Now THIS is a tractor pull.

 

APEowner
APEowner Dork
9/3/20 3:53 p.m.
Duke said:

You have never seen a catastrophic engine failure until you have seen a top level pull tractor let go at full scream.

 

I built tractor pulling  engines in the '80s.  We did have some impressive carnage.  When you've got a big block twisting to 8k rpm and the tires unload bad things happen.  Spectacular, but bad.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
9/4/20 7:50 a.m.
djsilver (Forum Supporter) said:

I've seen them pull, but I've also watched real tractors pulls with farmers using the same tractors they plow with at a county fair.  I've also watch "lawn tractor pulls" with a little "lawn tractor" sized pulling sled.  The most interesting one had a lawn tractor with a Honda Gold Wing motor in it!

There's a guy locally who has a lawn tractor for Mini-tractor pulling. It's powered by a small block chevy.......

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
9/4/20 7:59 a.m.

Many, many years ago I watched a tractor pull at our local fairgrounds in Lachute, Quebec. The tractor pull was in front of the grandstand/horse track/show ring. The whole area is strung with those triangular plastic flags, all zig-zagged across the track. No problem until Art Arfons lines up his tractor, which was powered by a jet turbine and had the exhaust turned 90 degrees, straight up. All the plastic bunting catches fire, it's all strung from a wooden grandstand that's a hundred years old. Luckily, one of the events that night was a demo derby and bucket brigade competition, so the local fire department had a pumper truck on site. A few years later vandals set a fire under the grandstand and hundred year old wood burns very quickly.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
9/4/20 8:05 a.m.

I've seen a tractor with either five, or seven BBC engines (I don't remember which). One was longitudinal and the others were mounted at right angles to the tractor center line. I couldn't see how they were all connected, but it had to be pretty impressive.

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/4/20 8:48 a.m.

During almost every youtube rabbit hole I go down, somehow I always end up at tractor pulls...

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/4/20 9:45 a.m.

What's funny about tractor pulls is the cheating. (there's always cheating in motorsport). But in tractor pulling, some cheating centers around the most creative ways to add weight to your tractor. 

Stuff like things that look like body panels are actually tanks full of water, etc. 

Also, you can tell the new drivers because they don't know not to try and restart an engine immediately after it stalled with the nitrous on full blast.

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/4/20 9:55 a.m.

I couldn't see how they were all connected, but it had to be pretty impressive.

You could just run a solid rear axle from a truck with the driveshaft being the output, and then do a chain/sprocket setup with an inverse of that diff's ratio to  transfer it to the input of your transmission.  Seems legit.. in my head..

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
9/4/20 10:34 a.m.


in particular watch the white semi blow it's engine and the engine fall right out of the truck.

ive watched truck and tractor pulling various times in person up here in Edmonton and it's always fun. The 2wd drives are usually the most exciting as they lift the front end and tired of the ground as the weight moves forward.

the orange blossom truck


 

art arfons  green monster jet tractor 

 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
9/4/20 10:37 a.m.

Funny car pullers 


Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/4/20 10:43 a.m.

This guy is local to me.  He swapped a Turbine into a John Deere Putter

.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
9/4/20 11:14 a.m.

Meh.  They’re going it wrong.

 

THIS is tractor pulling:

 

 

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
9/4/20 11:22 a.m.

I saw a tractor pull at the Cow Palace in S.F. when I was a kid. I was blown away by the turbine-powered tractor that did a full pull and looked like it would happily have run off out the end of the building and kept going.

But the thing that made the biggest impression on me was the noise of the multi-engine tractors. If you were walking along a corridor outside the main arena it was painfully loud, but when you got to a doorway you'd lose your balance from the sonic assault.

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
9/4/20 11:48 a.m.

Over in Poutine land (Quebec)  they prefer truck pulls, this "town" is basically a junction of two roads with around 1000 people there normally but hosts a big event every year with around 60,000 spectators and competitors (Notre Dame du Nord if you are interested). 

 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
9/4/20 12:27 p.m.

In reply to MotorsportsGordon :

in high school in the 70's I bought a T-shirt after seeing Art Arfons run his Green Mondter jet at the strip in Union Grove, WI.   Might have pictures somewhere. 
 

Seems like yesterday....

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
9/4/20 12:52 p.m.

Norm Hess drag raced a very fast and consistent Mustang in the 70s and early 80s.  He was a crowd favorite because he ran a 300 inch six cylinder.  He faded away, but turned up a few years later, using the 300 in a mini tractor.  I watched him get the first pull at an event, and he yanked the sled out so fast they geared it up for the rest of the runs, then he got a re run at the end, when he was the only guy to yank the sled out the end again.

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
9/4/20 12:56 p.m.

In the OP video, the number of people without hearing protection in the "warm-up" was astounding to me. I only saw one person wearing earmuffs and didn't spot any earplugs around all those open headers. Is hearing damage manly or something? 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
9/4/20 3:30 p.m.
Mezzanine said:

In the OP video, the number of people without hearing protection in the "warm-up" was astounding to me. I only saw one person wearing earmuffs and didn't spot any earplugs around all those open headers. Is hearing damage manly or something? 

Yep, but I think most don't realize *HOW* loud they are. My family didn't when I saw my first at 8.

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
9/4/20 3:31 p.m.
Duke said:

You have never seen a catastrophic engine failure until you have seen a top level pull tractor let go at full scream.

HAHA PISTON GO TO HOME PLANET

thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter)
thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/4/20 3:46 p.m.
Mezzanine said:

In the OP video, the number of people without hearing protection in the "warm-up" was astounding to me. I only saw one person wearing earmuffs and didn't spot any earplugs around all those open headers. Is hearing damage manly or something? 

HUH?! WHAT? Did you just call me a sissy?!

Sparkydog
Sparkydog HalfDork
9/4/20 8:55 p.m.

I stumbled into a fairground near Houston back in the 90's and found some good ol boys having a pit bull powered sled pulling competition. The weights on the sled were worn out drill bits from the oil patch. Sometimes the dogs break their legs. Stay classy Texas.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/4/20 9:58 p.m.

1975 was my first summer on the race track. I had shipped out with my trotter on the Grand Circuit. 

I had two firsts in my life our stop at the Indiana State Fair. The first was to drive a horse in a training mile.

The second happened a couple of hours later as I was coolling out my horse, when I heard a race engine run full out for the first time.

As soon as I got my horse put away, I headed over to see what was going on. They were just starting the unlimited class tractor pulls. As a kid from Central Florida, I didn't know there was such a thing as tractor pulling.

Tommy Ivo was there with a pulling tractor version of his 4 engine Buick dragster, running 4 fuel injected nail head Buicks. I knew what I was looking at because I had built a model of his dragster a few years earlier.

He did a full pull.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
9/4/20 10:21 p.m.

I remember watching this when monster truck racing still did tractor pulls as the ushra back in the 80s. Got to see it live at the metrodome in Minneapolis. To this day, easily the loudest thing I've ever heard and I've been front and center at Metallica. As a kid, the idea of 6 motors blew my mind. Then some dude came out and he had two rolls royce or Allison turbines on his tractor. Jet engines on a tractor? Holy E36 M3! Not even robosaurus eating cars was cooler then that. 

pirate
pirate HalfDork
9/4/20 11:01 p.m.

The first tractor pull I saw was in central Michigan in the 70's.  Our family along with another family were camping and a county fair was going on near by. We decided to go look around at the fair and heard the roar of engine and wandered over to see what was going on. A lot of locals with actual farm tractors as well as four wheel truck but also had some modified purpose pulling tractors. As a gear head I was intrigued. Went to a couple other tractor pulls before moving to the south where tractor pulling is almost nonexistent. Still watch it on TV. It's a lot more technical then the name suggests and very popular in the Midwest Heartland.

03Panther
03Panther HalfDork
9/4/20 11:22 p.m.

Back in the early 80's, a co-worker was the grandson (i think) of the builder of "The Peanut Queen." with two blown BBC's. Very famous pulling tractor in our area. I later met that guy through car stuff. Very nice, laid back, knowledgeable guy. Passed away in 99, I think. Fromj Wakefield VA.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 7:17 a.m.
adam525i (Forum Supporter) said:

Over in Poutine land (Quebec)  they prefer truck pulls, this "town" is basically a junction of two roads with around 1000 people there normally but hosts a big event every year with around 60,000 spectators and competitors (Notre Dame du Nord if you are interested). 

 

A trip to Rodeo du Camion is on my list of places to go.

We used to go see the tractor pulls every time they came to Nassau Coliseum. It's probably played a part in my hearing loss. 

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
9/5/20 7:25 a.m.
Sparkydog said:

I stumbled into a fairground near Houston back in the 90's and found some good ol boys having a pit bull powered sled pulling competition. The weights on the sled were worn out drill bits from the oil patch. Sometimes the dogs break their legs. Stay classy Texas.

Why did you post that?

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
9/5/20 7:28 a.m.

We go most years to watch at the fair. Few people I know have built some pulling tractors, fun little toys.

One of the semi trucks from the semi pull lives about 3 miles up the street on a farm, I think it's pretty cool just to drive by and check it out.

On the day of the animal auctions at the fair, we usually catch horse pulling in the arena after the sale. Slow, quiet, but damn impressive.

Kramer
Kramer Dork
9/5/20 8:43 a.m.

Here's a couple tractors I pulled with as a teenager.  

The gray Case (not the actual tractor) belonged to a friend.  Mid-1930's and maybe 15-20 horsepower.  But it pulled a wheelie most of the way down the track.  

The red McCormick (mid 50's) was maybe 50 hp stock, but my dad installed M&W pistons and sleeves when he was a teenager.  I used Turbo Blue fuel.  Timing advance was done by a handle on the steering column.  Strongest tractor in the weight class, back in the mid 1980's.  Now being used again on my cousin's hobby farm.  

03Panther
03Panther HalfDork
9/5/20 9:02 a.m.

In reply to Wally (Forum Supporter) :

I made the mistake of going to the Hampton Coliseum for a tractor pull once. One of the bigger mistakes I ever made! I rode choppers without hearing protection, and shooting as well, in the dumb old days, but I wasn’t even dumb enough to do THAT again. And the fumes were worse than the loud!!! 

stukndapast
stukndapast Reader
9/5/20 9:24 a.m.
APEowner said:
Duke said:

You have never seen a catastrophic engine failure until you have seen a top level pull tractor let go at full scream.

 

I built tractor pulling  engines in the '80s.  We did have some impressive carnage.  When you've got a big block twisting to 8k rpm and the tires unload bad things happen.  Spectacular, but bad.

Top fuel cars can put on quite a show when they let go too...

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
9/5/20 10:34 a.m.
RevRico said:

We go most years to watch at the fair. Few people I know have built some pulling tractors, fun little toys.

One of the semi trucks from the semi pull lives about 3 miles up the street on a farm, I think it's pretty cool just to drive by and check it out.

On the day of the animal auctions at the fair, we usually catch horse pulling in the arena after the sale. Slow, quiet, but damn impressive.

Horse pulling is really neat. Saw it at the osceola country fair last year. 

ckosacranoid
ckosacranoid SuperDork
9/5/20 1:14 p.m.

Tractor and truck pulling has always been fun to watch. I had an uncle that did old tractors to do pulling with. I remember once at the county fair watching an old john deer 2 cly do a full pull. That guy doing the voice said you could use the bathroom, grab something from the beer stand and come back before he was done with the pull. it took some time, but he did it for sure. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 4:25 p.m.
Wally (Forum Supporter) said:
adam525i (Forum Supporter) said:

Over in Poutine land (Quebec)  they prefer truck pulls, this "town" is basically a junction of two roads with around 1000 people there normally but hosts a big event every year with around 60,000 spectators and competitors (Notre Dame du Nord if you are interested). 

 

A trip to Rodeo du Camion is on my list of places to go.

We used to go see the tractor pulls every time they came to Nassau Coliseum. It's probably played a part in my hearing loss. 

I LOVE big rig drags.  Drag racers go nuts when they pull one wheel off the ground thinking they're amazeballs.  That's neat in your stripped-down 2500 lb Nova.  Then wattch an 18 wheeler do the same thing.... with 120,000 lbs.... in all of the first 8 gears.

Torques.  All of the torques.

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