Action-packed competition at truck and tractor pull

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The Wilson County Fairgrounds Truck and Tractor Pull treats visitors to a combination of mechanical might and scientific know-how on Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28.

“This is a real technical game,” said Marty Harrell, a Wilson native who has been pulling for more than a decade. “As the truck or tractor pulls the weight on the sled behind it, the weight starts at the back of the sled and goes farther and farther toward the truck. The trick is to get as far and as quick down the track before the weight goes all the way to the truck.”

“All tracks are different,” Harrell continued. “The mountains have more clay, and the beach has more sand, for example, so you have to adjust your driving and engine for each track. Even the weather makes a difference during each competition. Drivers can choose one type of track and concentrate on that or compete on all forms.”

Harrell makes it clear that the trucks used in these pulls are not your run-of-the-mill trucks.

“These are not stock trucks that you see running down the highway,” Harrell said. “These are highly modified. They might come from the factory with 200 horsepower, but they are now putting out 4000-plus horsepower.”

Eight different classes will compete the weekend of the Wilson pull. Each class is based on weight.

“The classes range from small, light, highly-modified four-wheel drive trucks to highly-modified tractors with helicopter engines,” Harrell said.

You read that correctly — helicopter engines. After a certain number of in-use hours, helicopter engines are not considered flight worthy and can be purchased by civilians.

The Wilson County Fairgrounds event is one of the few truck and tractor pulls in North Carolina that features two tracks used at the same time. Smaller vehicles, like the ones that compete in the two-wheel drive class, run on one track, while larger vehicles like the modified tractors, run on the second track.

Pullers in the Southeast run a circuit which starts in May in Pinetops and ends at the N.C. State Fair in October. The State Fair truck and tractor pull brings in participants from all over the country.

“We run each weekend for points and money, but our winnings go right back into the vehicle,” Harrell said. “A lot of drivers have own businesses or have sponsors — just like NASCAR or other types of racing. This is a very, very expensive form of motorsport.”

Tickets or each day’s events can be purchased in advance at WAWTix.com for $10-$12 or at the gate for $15. Gates open at 5 p.m. with the pulling beginning at 7 p.m. and ending around 10 p.m.

Harrell encourages families to come out early and walk around the pits.

“There are no rules that keep you from access to trucks and drivers in the pit area,” Harrell said. “You can take pictures with the cars/tractors. We do not keep you away from the drivers or the vehicles. We encourage people to come out and learn about the sport of pulling and encourage kids to become involved in some sort of motorsport. This can keep kids from getting into trouble, drugs and alcohol.”