LIGHT­NING STRIKES

OLD HUS­TLE NEWF LOW WITH DUST IN JACK­SON’S 2,100 HP RE­BUILT PRO STREET DRAG RACER

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents - Text: Chris Tobin Photography: Chris Tobin and Kyle Tobin

Old Hus­tle New Flow with Dustin Jack­son’s 2,100 HP Re­built Pro Street Drag Racer

Dustin Jack­son is a 31-year old oil­field worker from Floresville, Texas, with a pas­sion for diesel per­for­mance, but un­til about a year ago that pas­sion was di­rected to­ward high power street trucks. While own­ing and build­ing sev­eral high power street trucks he de­vel­oped a friend­ship with Ryan Mil­liken the owner of Hard­way Per­for­mance in Mary Es­ther, FL and when Jack­son was talk­ing things over with Mil­liken about build­ing an­other truck they dis­cussed the power lev­els and Mil­liken con­vinced Jack­son that at the power lev­els he was talk­ing about it was time for him to move on from the street and build a ded­i­cated race truck.

With that thought in mind Jack­son be­gan plan­ning to build a race truck from scratch. Then he came upon the 1994 Ford Light­ning that Zane Koch orig­i­nally built to go fast with a 7.3L Power Stroke and bought it rather than start from nothing. It had been con­verted to a Cum­mins al­ready when he bought it but while test­ing he spun a main bear­ing in the en­gine and de­cided while the truck was down for en­gine work he might as well go through ev­ery­thing for a full build to make the truck his own.

Jack­son chose to work with Fleece Per­for­mance En­gi­neer­ing and their sis­ter com­pany Free­dom Rac­ing En­gines in Browns­burg, IN as they did in­cred­i­ble work on Mil­liken’s Dodge 1500 “Mini Wheat” and he was fa­mil­iar with their amaz­ing at­ten­tion to de­tail and qual­ity chas­sis fab­ri­ca­tion. At Free­dom, John Ben­shoof went to work build­ing a mean com­pe­ti­tion 6.4L Cum­mins en­gine that re­lied on the fac­tory Cum­mins crank swing­ing a set of Carrillo rods and Di­a­mond pis­tons through 4.125-inch bores in the six cylin­der Cum­mins block. Sur­pris­ingly the block of the race en­gine is not filled and still uses wa­ter cir­cu­lat­ing through the block and head to keep it cool. The ro­tat­ing as­sem­bly is topped with a Cum­mins cylin­der head that re­ceived the full Free­dom Rac­ing treat­ment in­clud­ing milling off the fac­tory in­take shelf be­fore elab­o­rate port­ing and pol­ish­ing was com­pleted on the head to im­prove air­flow on the in­take and ex­haust ports. The head is se­cured to the block with a set of 14mm ARP head studs to keep the com­bus­tion pres­sure in­side the block. The long block is capped off with a Mary­land Diesel Per­for­mance valve cover.

While Ben­shoof was ma­chin­ing and pre­par­ing the 6.4L Cum­mins race en­gine Tony Der­ham­mer, Chase Fleece and Jake Richards went to work on the truck over in the Fleece Per­for­mance shop around the cor­ner re­mov­ing the old roll cage and cut­ting off the front sus­pen­sion.

Once the Light­ning was gut­ted they went to work cut­ting and bend­ing tube then weld­ing it in place for the new front sus­pen­sion as well as the NHRA 25.6 spec roll cage to pro­tect Jack­son while he blasts down the track at close to 170 MPH. The cage uses a funny car style sur­round that wraps around the Sparco race seat where Jack­son goes to work. With the front end re­worked they also fab­ri­cated new mounts for the lift off fiber­glass 1-piece hood as well as the light­weight molded front bumper.

The new front sus­pen­sion uses a Pinto-style light­weight steer­ing rack to keep the truck pointed straight ahead as Jack­son pi­lots it down the track. Ad­justable coil-over Varistruts with re­mote reser­voirs were in­te­grated into the re­built de­sign to al­low the team to ad­just the truck for any changes they make as well as fine tune for var­i­ous weather or track con­di­tions. The Fleece build team also made sure that the rear of the truck was in great shape and in­stalled a set of ad­justable Var­ishock coil-overs in the rear to tame the 9-inch Strange rear axle and pre­vent it from get­ting un­ruly be­low the truck.

After the truck and en­gine were but­toned up in In­di­ana they were loaded up and brought down to Florida where Mil­liken and his team at Hard­way Per­for­mance went to work plumb­ing and wiring the truck. Spaghetti Men­ders com­po­nents, mod­ules and har­ness­ing were used to breathe life into the Ford’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem and Cum­mins en­gine along with a Ra­cepak gauge and data ac­qui­si­tion sys­tem for de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on each pass.

In ad­di­tion to wiring the truck the Hard­way team also han­dled the plumb­ing for the fuel, cool­ing and oil sys­tems as well as de­sign­ing and in­stalling the com­plex triple turbo setup. The fuel sys­tem uses a pair of Air­dog 4G pump and fil­ter sys­tems mounted on each side of the bed in the rear com­part­ment un­der the ton­neau cover to send fuel from the rear mounted fuel cell up to a pair of S&S Diesel Mo­tor­sport 12mm stro­ker CP3 high pres­sure fuel pumps. One of the CP3S is mounted in the fac­tory po­si­tion driven di­rectly off of the gear drive in the tim­ing case while the sec­ond CP3 is belt driven off the crank shaft and in­stalled with a Fleece mount and ma­chined drive pul­ley. From the CP3S high pres­sure fuel is chan­neled through the fuel rail then handed off to a set of mas­sive 99 LPM Dynomite Diesel Prod­ucts fuel in­jec­tors. To fur­ther en­hance the en­gine’s per­for­mance they also in­stalled ni­trous ox­ide in­jec­tion for a lit­tle ad­di­tional oomph as needed. A pair of pow­der coated ni­trous bot­tles is in­stalled in the rear por­tion of the bed on the pas­sen­ger side of the truck.

Since the Cum­mins en­gine block is not filled the truck would re­quire a ra­di­a­tor to keep the en­gine cool. But with the turbo sys­tem they had in mind there wouldn’t be room for a tra­di­tional front mount ra­di­a­tor so they in­stalled the cus­tom alu­minum ra­di­a­tor in the bed of the truck be­low the ton­neau cover draw­ing air from be­low with elec­tric cool­ing fans.

Mil­liken worked with Forced In­duc­tions to de­velop the turbo sys­tem with a com­pound triple turbo ar­range­ment that uses dual front-mounted S476 tur­bos to draw in fresh air. The pair of tur­bos then com­presses the in­take charge and sends it along through large di­am­e­ter stain­less steel pip­ing to the man­i­fold charger which is a Forced In­duc­tions S488 turbo. All three of the charg­ers use Borg­warner race cov­ers and cus­tom bil­let wheels on the com­pres­sor side that are pow­der coated metal­lic ma­roon and stain­less steel Tial tur­bine cov­ers. The man­i­fold charger is fed a steady flow of hot ex­haust

gasses di­rectly from the en­gine through a pol­ished stain­less steel Stain­less Diesel ex­haust man­i­fold. The cus­tom fab­ri­cated stain­less steel hot side pip­ing uses ex­haust wrap to help keep the heat in the pipes to max­i­mize per­for­mance. After the in­take charge is com­pressed a sec­ond time it is routed into the cab of the truck where it flows through a Pre­ci­sion Turbo 4000 air-towa­ter in­ter­cooler and is then chan­neled back to the en­gine and into the head through a pow­der coated Banks Power Bighoss side draft in­take man­i­fold.

The en­gine pack­age is wrapped up and con­trolled with a fac­tory ECU that was tick­led by Mil­liken’s magic fin­gers with EFILIVE cus­tom tun­ing to give Jack­son all the power he needed to take the Pro Street class by storm. The po­tent 6.4L Cum­mins en­gine is said to de­liver around 2,100 horse­power and 3,000 lbs-ft of torque at its peak ca­pa­bil­ity which is more than enough to carry the 4,500-pound Ford Light­ning to low 8-sec­ond quar­ter-mile passes at nearly 170 MPH.

To han­dle all that Cum­mins power Jack­son re­lies on a Rossler Trans­mis­sions built Turbo 400

three-speed trans­mis­sion. A cus­tom Sun­coast flex plate is used to link the en­gine to the trans­mis­sion through a Neal Chance Rac­ing torque con­verter. A cus­tom Brow­ell Bell­hous­ing is em­ployed to phys­i­cally mount the trans­mis­sion to the Cum­mins en­gine while also pro­tect­ing Jack­son from the high speed ro­tat­ing parts and any po­ten­tial fail­ure. Gear se­lec­tion is han­dled by a Pre­ci­sion Per­for­mance Prod­ucts ratchet shifter that is pneu­mat­i­cally ac­tu­ated so that Jack­son can keep his hands on the wheel in the heat of the mo­ment while fly­ing down the track. The output of the Rossler trans­mis­sion is car­ried to the Strange rear axle through a cus­tom PST car­bon fiber drive­shaft that is strong and light­weight.

The power from the Cum­mins is put to the ground through a pair of mas­sive 34.0/13.516 Mickey Thompson ET Drag slicks that wrap around 16X16-inch Weld Rac­ing Mag­num Drag 2.0 dou­ble-bead­lock wheels. Up front Jack­son re­lies on a skinny set of Mickey Thompson 28.0/4.5-15 ET Front drag tires wrapped around 15X4-inch Weld Rac­ing Mag­num Drag 2.0 wheels to keep the Light­ning pointed straight and true as he blasts down the track. Wil­wood brake calipers, pads and ro­tors are em­ployed at all four cor­ners to help whoa the truck down from its high speed runs, but the main slow­ing power comes from a Stroud parachute that is mounted to the rear of the lit­tle Ford.

To fin­ish off the truck Jack­son turned to the team at Brand Smith for a cus­tom metal­lic black satin fin­ish wrap and deep ma­roon spon­sor graph­ics along the lower edge of the body. They also did the sil­ver script on the bed­sides that fea­tures the trucks slo­gan of “Old Hus­tle New Flow” sig­ni­fy­ing that while the truck has been around the block a few times prior to Jack­son tak­ing over the reins with an old school truck with new school tech­niques and tac­tics to make good power and speed on the track.

It’s hard to be­lieve that the Light­ning is Jack­son’s first se­ri­ous race truck and that he has run so well with it as a rookie driver and com­peti­tor. He had some grow­ing pains in the few events he en­tered in 2016 in­clud­ing a DQ for run­ning faster than the pre­vi­ous cage’s chas­sis cer­ti­fi­ca­tion at the NHRDA 2016 World Fi­nals that prompted the re­work­ing of the truck to its cur­rent state. Jack­son fin­ished off 2016 with a win at the Diesel Thun­der event then went on a tear for 2017 after the re­build. He has won all but one race he has en­tered so far in 2017 and that loss was self-in­flicted with a red light in the fi­nal round at the TS Out­law event. As of our ed­i­to­rial dead­line Jack­son leads the Pro Street class points in both the NHRDA and ODSS with one race re­main­ing in each or­ga­ni­za­tion and we feel that it is highly likely that by the time you read this ar­ti­cle that he will be a dou­ble Pro Street Cham­pion. Maybe Light­ning does strike twice after all!

The front view of Jack­son’s sin­is­ter black Light­ning is in­tim­i­dat­ing enough, but what lies be­neath the one-piece lift off hood takes it to a whole new level.

With the hood and bumper in­stalled the front of the truck looks nearly stock. But the Mickey Thompson 28.0/4.5-15 ET Front drag tires wrapped around 15X4-inch Weld Rac­ing Mag­num Drag 2.0 wheels give away the go fast as­pi­ra­tions of the truck and its...

Jack­son and his fiancée Mindy Ashley lift off the hood to re­veal the en­gine dur­ing our pho­to­shoot. While it is phys­i­cally large the fiber­glass hood is very light weight and easy to han­dle. The team at Fleece in­te­grated head and run­ning lights into the...

The team at Fleece Per­for­mance cut the front sus­pen­sion off of the chas­sis and fab­ri­cated this new tubu­lar front chas­sis sec­tion to be light­weight and strong for drag rac­ing. Varistrut ad­justable re­mote reser­voir struts were in­te­grated into the chas­sis...

Spent gasses from the three tur­bos are merged into a sin­gle out­let and sent sky­ward through the out­let at the base of the hood. A sim­ple but el­e­gant car­bon fiber panel from Old­skool­fab gives the cutout in the hood a clean look.

The team at Hard­way Per­for­mance fab­ri­cated the triple turbo sys­tem us­ing a pair of huge Forced In­duc­tions S476 tur­bos to draw in plenty of air. The tur­bos use pow­der coated Borg­warner race cov­ers for the com­pres­sor hous­ings and stain­less steel Tial...

Re­mov­ing the hood re­veals this triple-turbo Cum­mins mon­ster that belts out about 2,100 HP and 3,000 lbs-ft of torque to pro­pel the 4,500-pound truck down the 1/4mile in a best time of 8.14 sec­onds at 168 MPH.

Here you can take a close up look at the Mary­land Diesel Per­for­mance bil­let valve cover as well as the pow­der coated Banks Power Bighoss in­take man­i­fold that is fed the highly com­pressed in­take charge once it re­turns from the cab and the air to wa­ter...

The com­pressed in­take charge from the pair of at­mos­phere tur­bos is merged and fed into a S488 Forced In­duc­tions turbo that also sports a bil­let com­pres­sor wheel, pow­der coated race cover and stain­less steel ex­haust hous­ing. It is mounted di­rectly to a...

A Fleece Per­for­mance En­gi­neer­ing dual CP3 mount and pul­ley were used to in­stall a pair of S&S Diesel Mo­tor­sport 12mm stro­ker CP3 high pres­sure pumps to sup­ply plenty of fuel to the en­gine.

Dustin Jack­son’s 1994 Ford Light­ning is light­ning fast on the drag strip and has taken the Pro Street class by storm in 2017 col­lect­ing sev­eral wins along the way.

Jack­son’s Light­ning is over 23-years old now but he has given it a youth­ful new lease on life for its sec­ond round as a drag truck that looks like it’s go­ing fast while its sit­ting still.

Mov­ing over to what was the pas­sen­ger side of the truck you can see the fine tin-work that was fab­ri­cated to keep the truck look­ing clean as well as the Old­skool­fab car­bon fiber door panel trim. The large box that oc­cu­pies the area where a pas­sen­ger...

Jack­son is well pro­tected in the co­coon in­side his Light­ning thanks to the new NHRA 25.6 spec roll cage fab­ri­cated by the team at Fleece Per­for­mance En­gi­neer­ing. No­tice the Sparco steer­ing wheel, Sparco race seat and Simp­son 5-point race har­nesses as...

A bank of ten switches is used to con­trol nearly all of the truck’s vi­tal func­tions. It is mounted to the roll cage within reach of Jack­son from the driver’s seat while he is strapped in.

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