Casey Hutton’s dive into the diesel world all started with the fateful words, “I do.”
Her husband, Cliff Hutton, had always been a diesel mechanic by trade. After their felicitous union, Cliff decided to try out sled pulling in 2006. Not long after, Casey got “bitten by the bug,” and the rest is weaving into their history.
The Huttons currently own a shop called Triple C Diesel Performance in Jacksonville, N.C., where Casey says, “We do it all!”
“We have two sled-pulling trucks and just completed building a Mega Truck for our Florida vacations,” she enthuses.
The truck Casey drives now is a used 1992 Dodge W250 with a regular cab and long bed. This P-pumped first generation Dodge is “completely murdered out.”
Like her, the whole family is big on Dodge. Casey has always had a love for the old school first generation Dodges, especially when they’re paired with the Cummins engine. She has to admit the 1989-93 first generation Cummins was pretty top-of-the-line back then, particularly when it came to the towing capability of diesels.
Casey loves using her truck for daily driving, but since she got into sled pulling and drag racing as well, she began to plan out her performance goals.
“More power to any lady out there wanting to compete with the guys!” she says.
Right after getting her Dodge, she wanted to get more power than the VE44 injection pump could throw out, so she went after a 13 mm P7100 Bosch injection pump. Casey and Cliff understood that this choice was too large for the current setup, but she plans to do an engine build later down the road and this way she wouldn’t need to buy another pump. Of course, by changing the pump to an aftermarket that’s not completely compatible with the original first generation Cummins, they had to grind down the metal on the side of the intake to make room for the larger pump.
They fully rebuilt and installed a 47rh transmission from a ’96 Dodge and worked on building the return line from scratch. After redoing the throttle with parts from a '94-.98.5 Dodge, they converted everything to the transmission and had to change the transfer case in the truck to line up with the front differential, since the pumpkin was located on the opposite side.
They also ran 5-by-14 injectors and an S300 custom turbo, then added a Stage 3 Colt Big Stick camshaft—a modification that can deliver very strong mid-range torque and horsepower while still maintaining good bottom end and drivability.
“So my truck really is almost a Frankenstein!” Casey laughs.
The fun didn’t stop there. Casey and Cliff also had to custom build her front and rear drive shaft since the factory shafts were no longer the right size. They also took care of a lot of rewiring. With a 4-inch exhaust to 6-inch miter cut stack and new Auto Meter Phantom gauges topped off with her traction bars, custom diamond-plated roll pan and door panels, and custom weight box, pulling hitch and sled stops, she’s got quite a setup.
Casey wanted to invest in upgrades that would help her truck be more competitive in the industry, particularly with regards to engine performance and horsepower capability. Her aim was specifically to try to push for 600 horsepower and so far, Casey says she’s happy with the outcome of her year-long build.
“Goals are dreams with deadlines, and I am proud to say this deadline has been reached!” she says.
Casey gets to see the modifications in action as she and Cliff both compete with the Carolina Antique Truck and Tractor Pullers Association (CATPA). The Huttons have thoroughly enjoyed their time sled pulling with the group.
“Everyone has a different goal in mind, and I've learned show trucks, drag trucks, and pull trucks are all great!” she explains.
She does have a little future work planned for her truck—after getting a good season or two out of her original 12v first generation engine, her future goal is to tear it down and do a complete engine build. When the day comes, she plans on upgrading the turbo, installing bigger injectors, and allowing her existing pump to enjoy its full potential.
One thing she’s learned through it all: Dawn dish soap removes trans fluid from blonde hair really well!
“Remember ladies, hair ties were invented for a reason,” she laughs. “Do not get on a creeper without one!”
With the extensive builds she’s worked on so far, Casey has put to good use the best advice she’s received so far: “Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty and do some work.”
“I learned all I needed to know about my truck by not only driving but also by working on it,” she says.
And of anyone she could have married, it’s a good thing she and Cliff hit it off so well. Casey is immensely grateful that she can always be learning from him. Throughout her time delving into diesel, her husband has always remained a huge influence and encouragement for her.
“When we aren't at the shop working together, we are on the track side by side. Always discussing strategies, how to launch, tire pressure, and having a good time. He's literally my best friend!” she says.
By now, obviously, diesels are a thoroughly engrained part of their family lifestyle. Casey loves helping out at the shop and learning from her best teacher—her husband.
Since their shop keeps them pretty wrapped up in Jacksonville, they’ve been working with CATPA to start hosting their own events in their area. So far it’s been a great hit; last October they headed up their first sled pull and hope to do it again this spring.
As Casey puts it, “There are two paths to achieve success: hard work and patience.”
Having already shown both of these qualities, we can be sure that Casey will go on to even greater success!
Photography by Blythe Crady Photography, Ricky B. Wilson, and Casey Hutton