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