This article originally appeared in our September 2021 issue.
I was recently reminded by a “friend” – or maybe a former friend depending on how I want to look at it – of a time when my alternator went out on my truck. It of course just had to go out at a diesel event and as luck would have it I got called out to race that night when I was just trying to get it back to the hotel parking lot.
It was after hours when the streets are packed with diesel enthusiasts looking to race, and the wrap on my truck wasn’t helping me stay under the radar despite my lights continuing to dim. With a giant Diesel Tech magazine logo on the sides of my heavily-modified truck, I was an easy target and viewed by others as a sure bet to want to throw down.
A friend in the industry, clearly not recognizing my truck’s struggles at the time, caught me at a red light and began to give me an earful as guys tend to do. He wanted to find out first-hand how his truck build matched up against mine, but my truck was unfortunately not up for the challenge on this night. He backed off the good-natured ribbing once he figured out I was having technical difficulties to say the least, but to this day he still likes to remind me that we never got the chance to find out which truck was faster.
With summer winding down and drag strips cooling off, I can only imagine some of the races that went down this year as diesel events once again returned. Sure the Power Stroke versus Cummins battles are always fun, but what about the really old grandpa-looking truck versus the shiny new truck where both are far from being stock under the hood?
I recently watched a Tesla battle a RAM Cummins on a drag strip, which was a first for me as I’m still getting used to the idea of electric-powered cars being fast. Unfortunately the outcome wasn’t a favorable one for diesel enthusiasts as the Tesla tore him up, but it did get me thinking about unusual pairings.
You’re not going to sneak up on too many drivers these days, as people are fully aware of what a diesel pickup can do, yet I can’t help but grin when a hot-shot Camaro, Corvette, Charger or Mustang owner gets a lesson in humility at the hands of diesel truck. A quick Google search and you are sure to find a diesel truck racing a motorcycle or other crazy pairings, although I’ve yet to see this type of race in person.
Of course if you want to talk about a diesel truck in a category by itself, we have to give a shout-out to Firepunk Diesel whose Cummins-powered 2000 Chevrolet S-10 diesel drag truck clocked a 3.998-second 1/8-mile pass at 182.67 mph during the 2021 Lights Out 12 event at the South Georgia Motorsports Park. The S-10 is (unofficially) the quickest and fastest diesel in existence down the 1/8-mile track after Larson Miller made the lightning-quick pass earlier this year.
Even just ten years ago the thought of a diesel pickup being able to make a pass in less than four seconds would have seemed impossible, yet the diesel evolution continues. For the record, if I’m ever at a drag strip and Firepunk Diesel owner Lavon Miller shows up, I’m just getting back in my truck and heading home.
There are plenty of drag race stories out there and we want to hear them. What unusual race pairings have you personally seen and more importantly, who won? Drop me an email or get on our Facebook page and let us know. In case you hadn’t heard, diesel pickups are kind of fast these days.