Talk'n Torque: Flying Under The Radar

June 2017 Column, Feature Brady L. Kay

Blame it on my day job, but I love to talk trucks. Like a moth to a flame, what feeds my passion for the diesel industry is talking with owners in an attempt to learn more about their builds. Often this is how I get ideas for my own projects or sometimes I stumble upon products I may not have found on my own that I just have to get my hands on.

It works both ways too. My wife call them “truck flirts” when guys come up to me and ask about my truck. Now who doesn’t love talking about their own truck…even if it’s just an old lady snapping a quick picture with her cell phone because she knows her grandson “would just love to see this.”

Regardless of how the conversation starts, it seems that most of the time the topic of black smoke usually finds its way into the mix. I sincerely hope I’m “preaching to the choir” on this one, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to the diesel industry to not do anything that will put ourselves on the Environmental Protection Agency’s radar.

Whoa, now before you label me a Prius lover and flip the page, stay with me a minute and let me explain my stance. The black smoke I’m trying to eliminate is from the few idiots out there who make the rest of us look bad by smoking out pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcycle groups because they feel it’s some form of cheap entertainment.

I was recently talking with an owner of a very loaded Duramax and as usual our conversation turned to those few idiots out there. The Chevy owner told me about seeing some young punks black smoking cyclists during a bike race this summer. As the bikers were stretched out along the side of the road, this diesel truck would pull up beside each and every group and black smoke them and drive off. This kind of thing is very upsetting and it honestly makes me embarrassed for our industry. There is zero need for this and again, I hope those reading our magazine know better.

I’d like to hop on my soap box for just a quick moment and encourage you not to support this behavior in any way. Certainly don’t hurt our industry reputation by doing these dumb acts and there is no need to encourage others by sharing or posting these types of videos when you come across them. Notice I wrote when you find them and not if you find them. It’s only going to lead to angry people protesting all diesel trucks and we just don’t need any more pressure from the EPA. There are already enough lunatics out there who would shut down all diesel pickups if they could and we just don’t need to give them more ammo.

Be smart, don’t support it and let’s do what we can to stay off the EPA’s radar. There is a time and place and I just can’t think of any possible scenario when black smoking a lady walking down the street or a guy peddling his bike up a hill could possibly justify doing something this stupid.

Speaking of stupid, as a magazine we don’t always make the right choices either. Last year I came across a cool song, “Smoke Stack” by The Lacs and discovered an even better music video. We decided to do a story on this video shoot in our April 2015 issue and even ran a couple of photos on the cover of trucks blowing black smoke with the headline, “FROM MY SMOKE STACK” and we all thought it was great. As soon as the issue hit the newsstand I started getting calls from those in our industry giving me the, “C’mon guys, what are you doing?” line. The feedback and criticism was warranted. As a magazine we should have known better than to attract attention like that. It’s still a great song and I’m glad we ran the story, but I regret putting it on our cover that month. We made it very easy for someone scanning the newsstand that month to find a magazine promoting black smoke and that’s just not something we ever want to do again.

I’m not the fun police, don’t worry. I’m not trying to outlaw black smoke in any way. I just feel we could all do a better job at flying under the EPA’s radar moving forward.

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