Blowin' Smoke

Need A Sticky?

August 2009 Column

So two summers back at a diesel event I found myself being ridiculed by a couple of my buddies when they noticed the little yellow Post-it note stuck to the dash of my truck.


Now it's not so much the sticky note in itself they found amusing, but what was written on that note. You see, every time I go to the track, I get extremely nervous and find myself losing every bit of my memory. Something about the adrenaline rush and anxiousness of racing, I guess.


To help combat losing my train of thought while sitting in the staging lanes and pulling up to the staging tree at the track, I made myself a little checklist of things to remember. You know, the basic stuff you want to be sure and do before making a full power pass down the quarter-mile. Turn the radio off, roll-up the windows, switch the chip to the race tune, engage the transfer case for the 4wd launch, turn the air conditioning/defrost off, etc. It's just a short list of four or five things I always want to have done before I pull up into the staging beams. Why my friends found that so amusing I'll never know, as I'm sure they get just as nervous when they line up to race. Either way,

I turned out being the butt of their jokes all weekend long.


With that story being told, let's move onto one that happened just this fall. I was attending a local diesel club's dyno event: just hanging out with a bunch of diesel junkies, swapping stories, watching everyone flex their muscle on the dyno. When mid-afternoon came along one of my close friend's name was called for his time to run on the rollers. He pulled his truck into the shop and patiently waited in the cab while the shop crew strapped the truck down for his upcoming runs. I couldn't help but snicker under my breath as I noticed how nervous he appeared to be. He started getting all fidgety and I think I even saw a bead of sweat start down his forehead. Turns out I'm not the only one that gets nervous when it's time to put up or shut up.


Well, he made his first pass and laid down a pretty impressive 496 hp, a good number for just about any truck. With the boys standing around clapping and cheering him on, you could see a bit of disappointment in his eyes. Come to find out, he'd been chasing that elusive 500 hp number for quite some time and while 496 hp was pretty close, he hadn't broken 500 hp yet. The dyno operator was now ready for the second run and you could see the heavy determination in my friend's eyes. He wasn't about to be denied that 500 hp dyno chart after being so close. After the run was finished and the new graph came up on the screen, again, that same look of disappointment and denial struck my friend's eyes-497 hp. So close, but still not quite enough to claim he'd done it.


Just as the shop crew was ready to unstrap the truck, it was brought to my friend's attention that his defrost knob was switched on, indicating his defroster had been running through both runs. Doh! So after turning the defrost off and bargaining with the dyno operator to make just one more run, my friend was finally able to break that goal with a run of 501 hp. Finally, he'd done it, the newest member of the 500 hp club.


Jump forward a few months to this past weekend. Wintertime has come and gone and here we are at another dyno day. I was pleased to see that same friend signed up and in line to dyno once again. We talked for a while about the changes he'd made to the truck over the winter break, a larger turbo and some modifications to the injection pump were bound to bump those 501 hp numbers a little higher. His turn came and he made two really strong runs on the dyno, the best being 527 hp. Perfect-he couldn't have been happier. After he'd pulled off the dyno and we were all out back talking about his runs, his close friend just kind of jokingly piped up and said, "You turned the defrost off right?" Honestly, I think that was the fastest I'd ever seen someone's face turn 10 shades of red as the look of total embarrassment came over him. "Ahh . it could have been 530-plus!" he said sheepishly as he looked at me.


"Hey man, need a Post-it?"

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