Full Pull

The thrill behind sled pulling

December 2014 Feature Beau Belnap

Okay, it’s time to put on the old thinking caps for a second. We’re going to learn a little about physics. Newton’s second law states that acceleration is made when a force acts on an object or mass. So that means that depending on how big the object being accelerated is, there is a certain amount of force that is needed to accelerate that object. So in short, the bigger the object, the harder it is to push or pull that object. Now I know that you are probably wondering why I am giving you a small lesson about physics. While I am not the best in this field, it was the first thing that I thought about when I first attended one of the National Sled Pullers Association competitions in Colorado.

In A Nutshell

The competition is this: Your diesel truck is hooked to a sled—also known as a weight transfer sled—and you pull it as far as you can along the course’s 300-foot track. That sounds simple, right? If only. As you are pulling this sled—which is making your truck heavier as it moves down the track—the rear axles of your truck and the front of the sled are transferring weight, which makes it difficult to pull. Not only that, the sled has a pan—a metal plate—on the front of its rear wheels that builds resistance the farther it goes. The farther it goes, the harder it is to pull.

Pullers from all over the country come to these competitions to pit their trucks against others to prove their dominance. But even the most powerful trucks are stopped dead in their tracks because of the amount of force being used coupled with the drag being pulled. Some trucks will even crumble under such pressure and you will often see what used to be axles and drive-shafts spit out as the truck comes to a halt. Horrible as it may seem, it is awesome.


Who is eligible to enter? Anybody with a four-wheel drive diesel truck can enter one of these categories: Work stock, 2.5”/64mm class, 2.6”/65mm class, 3.2”/82mmclass, and the super street class. The weights requirements are a maximum of 8,500 pounds for the work stock and the 2.5” class, while the other classes must meet the maximum of 8,000 pounds only. This weight must include the driver’s weight as well. The last category is only for the beefiest of trucks, as it is only for the off-road, fully-modified trucks. The cool thing about this category is you get to wear a fire suit, which is a requirement.

As for fuel, only number one and number two diesel fuel is allowed for these competitions. No off-road fuel is allowed, but they are willing to accommodate for the competitors who are going ‘green’ by allowing all biodiesel/soy fuels that are on the market. And finally, no nitrous oxide, water injection or propane. This is sled pulling, not The Fast and the Furious. Although, I admit that would be pretty cool to watch Vin Diesel attempt to pull one of these sleds.

Get Hooked

While I’m new to the vast and wonderful world of sled pulls, I’m hooked. If you haven’t had a chance to see one of these pulls in person, go look up a couple of videos online or go check out NSPA’s official website to learn more about it. If there were a way to make this an official Olympic sport, I would wholeheartedly support it. Even if you aren’t into diesel trucks and extreme horsepower and listening to humongous engines go, ‘wump wump wump,’ you could still get an adrenaline rush just from watching these bad boys pull that sled across.

If you are interested in learning more about sled pulling and/or its rules and regulations, visit NSPA’s official website at www.nspapulling.com.


  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!



Recapping the Vegas Show

Sneak Peek

Already a subscriber? Please check your email for the latest full issue link.