Built On A Deadline

Air Force training pays off for 7.3L owner

September 2021 Feature Seth Harper

This article originally appeared in the July 2021 issue.

Most people actually own a diesel before they start buying upgraded parts. Lane Wakeland isn’t most people. He had the vision, so why wait for the truck? After buying axles and a lift kit, he went on a hunt for the perfect diesel pickup to match the parts.

His search ended when a buddy sent Lane a photo of a 7.3L 1996 F250 in desperate need of a wash. A test drive proved it drove just fine, so Lane brought his diamond in the rough home.

Daytona Truck Meet

As luck would have it, Lane found himself with an opportunity to show off his truck in the American Force booth at the 2019 Daytona Truck Meet in Florida. Along with a handful of friends, he had just 10 days to complete nearly the entire build but they somehow managed to pull it off.

The build consisted of swapped front and rear axles off a 2005 Super Duty with 12-inch King coilovers and coil mounts and a traction bar from RYD Motorsports. It comes as no surprise that an American Force booth truck would have 24x18 American Force Wheels, with 375/40/24 Nitto Trail Grappler tires.

Other upgrades include a PMF custom short arm kit, 5-inch Diamond Eye exhaust, and headlights/taillights from CP ADDICT. When building it, they didn’t put in a front drive shaft, but that’s coming soon.

With his finished product at Daytona, Lane felt like this was a build that everyone could enjoy.

“No matter who you were there was something you could find on the truck that you would like,” he explained. “If you were classic and hated the big wheels but loved the 7.3L it was just an overall attractive build everywhere you looked.”

At the end of the show, Lane wanted to do a burnout because hey, you’re not at Daytona everyday. He pressed down hard on the brake, gave it some pedal, and heard a lot of noise coming from the truck not typically heard during a burnout. Lane had slung the fan clutch out of the truck. Needless to say for Lane and his friends, the Daytona Truck Meet ended with a bang.

Bragging Rights

Building up his diesel with some friends isn’t Lane’s only experience working and succeeding in a team environment. Lane is a working member of the Air Force and participates in load competitions.

A load competition consists of loading munitions, typically a missile and two bombs, onto a plane. They’re scored based on how well they follow a checklist with the least number of discrepancies, as well as completing it as quickly as possible. While working on the F-15, Lane won four quarterly competitions resulting in a chance at the yearly competition, which Lane and his squad have won twice.

A Family Affair

Joining the military was an easy decision for Lane. It’s what his family does.

“I have a really good friend of mine who I consider a brother that was in the Navy for four years,” Lane said. “I’ve got four step siblings, three of which were also in the Armed Forces and one that’s still serving. I’ve got a grandpa who was drafted to Vietnam in the Army, and it just seemed like a good thing to do.”

Lane’s wife, Courtney, is a maintenance analyst in the Air Force, where they met. She analyzes flight hours and briefs officers on what needs to happen in the repair of planes. She’s also won quite a few awards herself, something that seems common in their family.

The only problem with serving in the Air Force? The gate on Lane’s base in Florida is too narrow to fit his 8-foot wide diesel through. Sounds like another challenge for Lane and his friends. 



American Force








Diamond Eye








Nitto Tire




PMF Suspension




RYD Motorsports



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August 2022

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