Fastest Manual Diesel Record

Previous record shattered

April 2015 Feature Jeffrey V. Shirts

Drag trucks are valued on their ability to cut across the finish line in record time, and currently Dirk Stratton of Beloit, Ohio, is the king of the manual transmission speed time. On June 6, Dirk completed his drag with a time of 11.4898 seconds, hitting a monstrous 118.76 mph. Dirk’s record-setting time eclipsed the previous record time of 11.82 seconds at 117 mph, set by the same truck but driven by the previous owner, Caleb Baker from Blackout Performance. The manual transmission truck that set the record is a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 2500. 

Before owning this Silverado, Dirk owned an LB7 dually that sported bolt-on exhaust, intake, and a tuner that he sold for a ’04 V06 Corvette. Dirk did not own his Corvette for very long before the Siren’s song of diesel truck drag racing called him again. Before purchasing the Silverado, Dirk knew he wanted a Duramax and that it had to be a manual. After shopping around, he found his truck and sold his Corvette to fund the purchase.

The Silverado was already a monster of a truck before Dirk got his hands on it. The previous owner had dragged it before, and therefore had worked under the hood to make it competition ready. When purchased, the Silverado was equipped with several upgrades including a twin turbo kit Dirk later placed, performing extremely well on the drag racing circuit. However, Caleb was interested in a new project truck.

The Record Holder

Dirk’s family owns Stratton Chevrolet, including a 2006 Duramax pull truck affectionately named Social Security that they sponsor. Dirk is fortunate in that his family’s company is able to assist him with the parts and the labor and sponsors his record-breaking truck.

While Dirk describes his Silverado as a daily driver, he also mentions that he tows his truck to and from events, stating, “It’s quite the challenge to drive. It shifts like a dump truck.”

After purchasing the Silverado, Caleb mentioned that the truck was down for a year while he rebuilt and replaced parts to fit his needs and wants. According to Dirk, after he purchased the truck and installed a new EPR Twin Turbo Kit, one of the still-stock injectors popped up because it was missing a washer, and he discovered the Silverado had a cracked piston. Repairing these problems snowballed into repairing and rebuilding the engine at Jenkins Competition Engines and Machine in Beloit, Ohio. Dirk is proud to report that he paid for the build by himself with the help of his sponsor. Once the build was complete, Caleb Baker and South Bend Clutch advised Dirk in tuning and upgrading the truck.

The Build

The list of modifications and upgrades to Dirk’s Silverado is impressive, as would be expected for a title-holding drag truck. As Dirk remarked, “It’s quite a challenge to build a 6,000-pound 4x4 manual transmission diesel truck to be reliable for the street, yet be able to run elevens at the track.”

Modifications were made to the chassis, the suspension and the drivetrain to include new tie rod sleeves, a straight center link and adjustable Rancho RS9000XL rear shocks. After tackling these changes, Dirk lowered the Silverado with rear shackles and removed two leaf springs while he lowered the front removing torsion bar bolts. For pure stopping power he added Powerstop brakes and pads. Calvert CalTracs traction bars were added along with a South Bend Clutch Dual Disc with a sintered iron clutch. The transmission is a stock ZF6 manual transmission, on top of stock axles, driveshaft and differentials.

The engine is equipped with Crower rods, Mahle cast race pistons cut and coated from SoCal Diesel. Dirk used SoCal Diesel for the camshaft, the valve springs and the push rods. For the head studs and the main studs, Dirk used ARP parts. He modified and added an ATI Super Harmonic Balancer Damper, and left the crank and the heads stock. Fuel system upgrades include an AirDog Raptor Lift Pump and an ATS Twin CP3 Kit. As mentioned, Dirk also changed out the turbos for an EPR Twin Turbo Kit, using Garrett PowerMax Stage 1 VGT Turbos, a BorgWarner S475 with billet wheel, a BD intercooler, ProFab cast ProFlo exhaust manifolds and twin turbo up pipes, along with a 4-inch downpipe into a 5-inch exhaust. The Silverado is complete with DEI turbo blankets and heat wrap. The intake manifolds and Y-Bridge are stock.

Dirk has tested the truck on two different dynos. The first time the stats of the truck were 762hp with 1,269 ft/lbs. of torque. The second time was 730hp with 1350 ft/lbs. torque.


The Silverado is decked out in a midnight blue metallic color cab with a long bed. The bed is covered with a tonneau cover and has a roll pan, plus a billet grille. Recon LED taillights, cab lights and brake lights light the way for the truck. Auto Meter Cobalt Boost and EGT Gauges line the interior and all of this sits atop two different tires, depending on whether or not the truck is racing or on the street. When on the street, Dirk’s Silverado uses Weld Racing 056 20-inch wheels with 420s 285/50/20 Nitto tires. When racing, Dirk is all business with Raceline Renegade 8 16x10s with Mickey Thompson 295/50/16 tires.

The Record

The drag event was held at Quaker City Motorsports Park in Salem, Ohio. The weekend before Dirk set the new record he raced his truck with street 20-inch wheels with a best time of 11.83 seconds at 114 mph. Returning the next weekend, Dirk switched to 16-inch Mickey Thompson radials and made several passes launching at 3,000 rpm in third gear. All of his passes were in the 11.80-second range.

For his final run he decided to rev up into fourth gear, knowing that he needed more rpm so he wouldn’t bog down the line. He launched at 4,200 rpm. Barely letting up the clutch holding the line lock, the power boosted him through the quarter-mile finish line at 11.48 seconds traveling an impressive 118 mph. Dirk immediately knew that he had broken the record, as he had been chasing the record through the last year.

“It was pretty exciting,” Dirk exclaimed, his words underpinning the incredible feat he had just achieved. At the end of the night Dirk had made five runs with the slowest time being 11.87 seconds. Afterward Dirk drove his Silverado home.

  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!



Recapping the Vegas Show

Sneak Peek

Already a subscriber? Please check your email for the latest full issue link.