GEARING UP FOR RACE SEASON
When your job is to keep an eye on and report the latest and greatest stuff in the diesel industry you can get desensitized pretty quickly. Only the really, really cool stuff seems to impress me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy just about everything diesel; it just takes a bit more to get me really wound up. But I guess that’s to be expected after 16 years in the industry. Seems like lately there’s been a ton of innovation and a ton of really cool things popping up left and right. It’s an exciting time of the year, right before race season starts. All the crazy stuff we saw at PRI and SEMA, plus all the things kept under wraps, are just now starting to show their faces and are being put to the test.
Last month we shared Jeremy Wagler’s insane DX500 engine that’s (very loosely) based off a Duramax. This thing is NUTS! Just about everything on it is machined from a single piece of aluminum— not much Duramax left. Actually, the more I look at it, it looks more like a Top Fuel Dragster engine. It’s designed to be broken down and rebuilt in the short times between runs at the drag strip. Sorta makes me wonder what prompted the Wagler crew to create it. Sure, doing things just cause you’ve always wanted to is great by me, but a project this large costs more than most people’s houses, and the market that could afford one of these engines (let alone put it to use) is extremely small. So, and I’m speculating here, does that mean someone like John Force Racing knocked on Wagler’s door asking for a new Top Fuel engine? Would that then mean the NHRA is thinking of opening up a diesel class? I’m sure we’ll all find out what Jeremy Wagler’s intentions are for the DX500 platform soon enough.
Incidentally, the Wagler DX500 “Shop Truck” will be at Ultimate Callout Challenge. I can’t wait to see how it does. We’re still giving away tickets to UCC. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with what you drive, your full name and that’s it, you’re in the running. Six passes and a stack of t-shirts go to the winner. Only a few days left till the event; it starts April 21, so get on it!
Triples are another thing I’m excited to see grow this year. Last year was sorta the first year for triples in the diesel pickup world (pullers aside). It threw a bunch of dyno event promoters off as now the “compound” class was a completely different animal than before and rule books ended up changing to fit this new design. It really was more of an unlimited class setup than one to run with the common compound guys. (Wow, I guess it’s come to that; yeah, I just called them common.) This year everyone seems to be going for three and I’m sure we’ll see more on just how impressive triples can actually be. After all, you don’t just hit it right out of the park your first time out. It takes a while to work out all the bugs.
Another thing that’s impressed me lately has been watching everyone stepping up their game. And speaking of triples, Lavon Miller has a new engine that’s currently being tested. The few dyno runs I’ve seen so far look insane. Yes, it has three turbos; what size we don’t know yet. What’s nuts is how they’re set up: two massive atmospherics out front with a super-long hot pipe running back to the high pressure. I assume this is to keep the charge air in close proximity to the intercooler and ice boxes now that I think of it. Either way the thing looks impressive and sounds straight pissed-off. On top of that, the engine is now set so far back in the frame the valve cover could double as an armrest. The Firepunk crew really is stepping up their game, year after year. Can’t wait to see it run.
And yet one more rig that’s been on my mind lately is Ryan Milliken’s new Cummins-powered Nova. Like Miniwheat and what we’ve come to expect from Ryan and the Hardway crew, it’s extremely mean and all business. And it just ran a 5.14-second eighth-mile pass WHILE DRAGGING A PARACHUTE. The chute failed and deployed at launch and amazingly only took maybe 0.25-0.50 of a second off his time. And this is all with only a few runs on a brand-new car (well, it is a used car, and a new car to him, but with a 100% new engine and trans). Yet another project that is going to be so much fun to watch this year.
See you out there.