Tech Tips - Prepare
-as seen in The Pulse Newsletter, October 2017
Before each pull starts, all tractors must enter their respective classes and ensure they are set up properly for each class. Among specified requirements for each tractor, proper hitch height and the weight of your tractor must meet exact criteria. These are examples of things that should be measured/tested at the track, upon arrival.
However, there are many things that you, the puller, need to ensure BEFORE you reach the pull. Of course, these things can spill over to time on and off the track as well.
Preparation will make your day (and everyone else’s) go smoother at the pull.
Be prepared BEFORE you leave home to go pull:
Charge your tractor’s battery before you leave home. This is just common sense.
Bring extra adequate fuel...and check your fuel level before each hook, if necessary. Don’t second guess.
Bring extra weights. Just because your tractor weighed a certain amount at one pull...doesn’t mean it will weigh the same at the next pull. All scales weigh a little bit differently. Several factors can effect variation in scale function, but we won’t address that here. What is important, is—that you don’t pull lighter than the class permits. Remember: if you want to be a competitive puller, your tractor must weight the maximum allowed weight without going over. Therefore, take extra weights—just in case.
Be aware WHEN you are expected to pull. Is your class up next? Are you first, fifth, or last? Is your tractor ready? Are you ready? Spectators are there to see a show. Waiting for the next tractor to hook is frustrating, not only to those watching...but to fellow pullers as well. And let’s face it: while pulling is a lot of fun, most pulls last several hours, and are exhausting. Plan. And be prepared for when you are the next hook.
Tractors should be running when you hook. We’ve all seen folks try and try to start tractors after they are hooked. Ensure your tractor is running when you enter the track.
Learn from prior pulls!
Keep track of who beat you at each pull, then try to figure out why...and what you can do to tweak your tractor set-up, and other tactics to pull better next time.
Note track condition, weight transfer, tires, tire pressure, driver maneuvers, how you take off, sled characteristics, as well as other pulling strategies. All these things, when properly optimized, can sometimes make a last place tractor come in first. Remember: It’s not always about who’s got the biggest and baddest tractor. Using your head and implementing an effective game plan can make you a winner.
If you have questions, ask your fellow-pullers, the sled-operator or any track official for help.
-end of tech tip-