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Each spring amid the rolling hills in the snow belt of Northern Michigan exists an event like no other. The Schuss Mountain Snow Challenge is a one-ofa-kind spectacle that brings racers of all makes, styles, and genres from all over the country to the snowy ski slopes of Shanty Creek Resort to compete in side-by-side, uphill drag racing where the snow is the ultimate equalizer. Four-wheelers, mud draggers and sand draggers come from far and wide after dusting off the cobwebs to shake down their vehicles and ready them for the summer season. And, Merchant Automotive’s Duramax diesel-powered buggy just won it all!
The Merchant Automotive diesel buggy raced in the Supermod Class, in which the only rule is run-what-you-brung (and hope you brought enough—ed.), and is the highlight of the weekend event. The lightweight pur- pose-built sand drag rail is powered by an LBZ Duramax engine that delivers more than 750 hp to propel the 2,000-pound buggy down a 300-foot sand drag strip in less than 4 seconds. The power is channeled to a Power Glide 2-speed transmission then put to the ground— or snow in this case—through a set of massive paddle tires that literally dig through the snow and/or sand to thrust the buggy off the line and up the course.
MA driver Nick Beaudoin fought his way through the fastest field of race vehicles in the event’s 9-year history to take the class win. Beaudoin and his diesel-powered MA buggy defeated drivers and vehicles with more experience and more power, including a three-time Supermod champion sand drag Blazer, 600+ cubic-inch mud racers and one very nasty 620 cubic-inch twin-turbo beast with a horsepower rating north of 2,000. The competition was unable to best the MA buggy and in the end it was good old #2 that prevailed over the race gas and alcohol. And all while sipping just 3 gallons’ worth of fuel over the weekend.
“I’ve watched Nick and the MA buggy at the event for a few years now fine tuning this diesel,” said Jason Grzesikowski, owner of GRZ Productions originator/promoter of the Schuss Mountain Snow Challenge. “We’ve seen every form of machine make runs up the hill. Gas, alcohol, turbos, superchargers, everything. For diesel to take the cake and win it all makes a statement: Diesel is the real deal!”
Keep tabs on the Merchant Automotive Duramax powered monster this race season at merchant-automotive.com, their social media outlets or the Merchant Automotive mobile app. Then follow them as they return in 2018 to the 10th annual Schuss Mountain Snow Challenge to defend their Supermod title. UDBG
Carrying the front tires across the snow as the massive rear paddle tires dig into the snow clawing for traction to propel the Duramax-powered buggy to the 2017 Supermod championship.