Diesel Nirvana: The 2020 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza
When Scheid Diesel announced it was relocating its mainstay event, the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza, in 2020, the rest of the diesel world held its breath. The logistics alone that are involved in moving an affair of this magnitude were a worry to industry professionals, competitors and fans alike—but we’re here to tell you the folks at Scheid pulled it off. After joining forces with Jeremy Wagler, he and his team readied Wagler Motorsports Park, an all-in-one drag race and sled pull facility in rural Lyons, Indiana, to accommodate thousands of spectators and hundreds of competitors.
In the months and weeks leading up to the event, more power was brought into the campgrounds, a cornfield was cleared to free up additional campsites, 400 tons of rock was delivered, portable bleachers were hauled in and truck load after truck load of clay was dumped on the dirt track to form the perfect pulling surface. By early morning on the first day of the Extravaganza, the event’s success was already apparent. With the campgrounds full and the parking lots quickly populating, spectators were lining up to get in the gates and the drag race and pulling pits were hives of activity.
Out on the drag strip, the quickest eighth-mile diesels in the ODSS lit up the scoreboard with dozens of 4 and 5-second passes, and then for a bit of rail-on-rail crime, the Scheid dragster faced off against Wagler’s rail in a Cummins vs. Duramax battle royale. A few hundred feet east of the concrete, a different form of drag racing was taking place in the dirt: the strongest-running purpose-built 4x4 diesel trucks in the nation were dragging the 20-ton sled as far and as fast as they could. If you like what you see below, make sure you get yourself to southern Indiana next August. It’ll be the Extravaganza’s 25th anniversary.
Rail Vs. Rail: Cummins Vs. Duramax
The fastest drag race of the weekend was brought to us courtesy of the Extravaganza’s founder and this year’s host: it was Scheid Diesel vs. Wagler Competition Products. The crowd-captivating showdown pitted Scheid’s legendary Cummins-powered dragster, a proven performer (along with driver Jared Jones) against Wagler’s latest high-speed creation, a blown and nitrous and water-methanol injected Duramax-powered rail (driven by Andre Dusek). Though Scheid’s dragster got the jump and would hold the lead from wire to wire, Wagler’s rail didn’t concede much ground, running 4.23 to the Scheid machine’s 4.19.
Aggressive Tread Is Back
Nitto Mud Grapplers definitely made a comeback this year in the Limited Pro Stock and Pro Street truck pulling classes, where DOT-approved tires are a requirement. This pair of second-gen Dodges, Scott Barcus’ “In Harm’s Way” (front) and Craig McElfresh in “Smokin’ Goat Reloaded” (back), relied on the extreme terrain mudders to dig them to the front of the pack. On Friday night, McElfresh finished second in Pro Street while Barcus took third.
2 Days, Hundreds of Hooks
Trucks in the Limited Pro Stock and Pro Street classes had to earn a spot in the nightly show by first qualifying during the daylight hours. For 2020, 62 Limited Pro Stock competitors turned out to compete, with only the top 26 qualifiers being allowed into the main event. There were 38 Pro Street diesel trucks in the pits at the Extravaganza, but just the top 12 finishers were permitted to pull in the evening show. Across all classes, 124 vehicles hooked to the sled on Friday night, followed by 156 on Saturday.
Two 1,500 HP 6.0L Power Strokes?
Prepare to have your mind blown. Both of these Super Dutys compete (competitively) in the 5.90 Index class and they do it with 6.0L Power Stroke V-8’s. At more than 5,000 pounds, roughly 1,500 hp is required to get each one through the eighth-mile in that amount of time, and at speeds approaching (or exceeding) 120 mph. The ’06 on the left belongs to Austin Denny and sports compound turbos and a 5R110 TorqShift transmission. The ’05 on the right is Charlie Fish’s, a big single turbo, short-bed truck with plenty of nitrous and a 4R100 automatic. Austin moved on to the semifinals after running a 6.05 in this race, but both of them have been in the 5.70s.
The “Hall Pass”
Ronnie Hall put in two full days of hard work in the Pro Street diesel truck class. With the potent Duramax under the hood of his ’06 Chevrolet Silverado creating the power and four Mud Grapplers applying it to the track, he qualified for the finals on both days of the Extravaganza (even earning the number 1 qualifier spot on Saturday) and finished mid-pack each night. Ronnie calls the truck “Hall Pass.”
As proof that the chopped, lowered and Cummins-powered ’41 Chevy school bus we showed you back in May gets around, here is Jason Bliesner’s rat-rod people-hauler. It was parked in the show ‘n shine all day on Saturday and attracted more gawkers than the $100K builds did.
Pro Mod Diesels Continue to Impress
When Larson Miller’s S10 squared off against Ben Shadday’s ’63 Corvette in the Pro Mod final, fans were treated to one of the best races of the weekend. Both single turbo’d, common-rail Cummins-powered Chevrolets stormed the ‘660 in low-4-second intervals, with Miller going 4.32 to Shadday’s 4.40 for the win.
One of the subtler ways to show off your ride at Scheid is by placing your dyno sheet under the wiper blades. When attendees are done checking out the engine, paint or wheel and tire combo, they can see for themselves that the truck is more than just a show piece. Trust us, nothing caps off a build like a dyno graph displaying more than 1,000rwhp and 1,775 lb-ft of torque. R.I.P. street tires.
More From Driving Line
- The Scheid Diesel Extravaganza is also one of the hottest places to watch the 3,500hp Super Stock diesel trucks in action. You can learn more about these dirt-chucking monstrosities here.