Diesel Thunder Spring Break 2018
When one of the diesel industry’s most recognizable racers delves into the practice of operating his own drag strip, it stands to reason that he’ll eventually invite all of his diesel friends to come play. Such was the case for Ryan Milliken, driver of the infamous, small-tire Cummins-powered ’66 Nova and owner of Hardway Performance in Mary Esther, Florida. Joining forces with the Diesel Thunder racing circuit, the Spring Break rendition of Diesel Thunder 2018 would attract diesel heads near and far to Holt, Florida’s Emerald Coast Dragway. Among them were the 8-second Cummins-powered Chevy Silverado of Industrial Injection, two-time runner-up UCC competitor Derek Rose, the relentlessly fast, Cummins-powered first-gen Lightning owned by Dustin Jackson and the wild, Duramax-propelled creation campaigned by Enrique Gonzalez.
Diesel Thunder Spring Break 2018 would also serve as a launching pad for a few brand-new Pro Street trucks, including Anarchy Diesel’s new vibrant red, Pro Street Ram and Redline Diesel Power’s second-gen Dodge. Highly-contested Sportsman (E.T. Bracket) and 7.70 Index classes would be run as well, along with 6.70 and 5.90 Index categories. In a surprising race, the Pro Mod class culminated in dramatic fashion. Although just one dragster made the trek to Florida, it was worth the trip for driver Wade Moody. His Flo-Pro-sponsored, Duramax-powered rail picked up right where it left off last season (and then some) clicking off a blazing 4.31-second pass at 164 mph—an ET and speed that converts to a 6.76 at more than 205 mph in the quarter.
For a full recap, check out all the eighth-mile action below.
Anarchy Diesel’s New Ride
The first time we met Emilio Blanco, he was running low 12s in a crew cab 6.4L Ford. Now, this! The Anarchy Diesel-built “daily driven drag truck” he was driving at Diesel Thunder was impressive to say the least. In what we believe was its inaugural event, the bright red Ram was good for 5.80s and the win in Pro Street. That’s a heckuva starting point for any Pro Street rig’s racing career.
Redline Diesel Power’s Common-Rail Second-Gen
More than two years in the making, Karl Mireiter of Redline Diesel Power showed up in Florida with his new Pro Street Dodge. It would go rounds all day and end up in the finals pitted against the aforementioned Emilio Blanco. Unfortunately, a turbo issue forced Mireiter into the Runner-Up position for the weekend. No stranger to competitive drag racing, Mireiter used to campaign one of the only 10-second VP44 Cummins trucks in the country. This new common-rail 6.4L? We have no doubts it’ll be good for mid-8s when it’s all said and done.
Old Hustle, New Flow
Dustin Jackson’s ’94 F-150 Lightning is one of the more consistent Pro Street rigs in the business and is almost always good for low 5s in the eighth. Unfortunately, the first race of the year was not meant to be for the triple-turbo Cummins under the hood. After Jackson earned the number one qualifier position, he lost his harmonic damper, sidelining him for the rest of the day.
Stainless Diesel’s Triple-Turbo Dodge
In its first appearance of 2018, Stainless Diesel’s Pro Street Dodge, piloted by Johnny Gilbert, cut a neck-breaking 1.233-second 60-foot during testing. Two years ago, the triple-turbo, common-rail Cummins ran an 8.60 at 162 mph in the quarter. Last year, it was good for high 1.3-second 60-foots while turning in repeatable 5.3-second eighth-mile passes in the 138 mph range. Needless to say, if the truck’s 1.2-second 60-foot hits are its new normal, it should be good for 5.2s in the eighth and low 8s in the quarter this season.
DeMaxed Travels East
Industrial Injection’s ’01 Silverado always puts on an awesome display of power. Graced with one of the company’s triple-turbo “Shredder” series Cummins engines, it plants somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,900hp to the ground. At the truck’s new sub-6,000-pound race weight, it’s looking like 5.3-second eighth-miles (at more than 150 mph) will be a regular occurrence, provided all four tires find traction. Just one week after Diesel Thunder, driver Jared Delekta would set a new NHRDA Pro Street record out in Arizona.
The Diesel Shop Miami’s Duramax Colorado
Once a service truck for Comcast and now running 5s in the eighth and eating GT-Rs on the street, Enrique Gonzalez’s wheels-up ‘06 Colorado is definitely one-of-a-kind. The LBZ-based Duramax he shoehorned into the engine bay makes use of Industrial Injection injectors and twin CP3s, while a 98mm Precision turbo supplies boost. The truck itself has been back-halfed and equipped with a 9-inch, but retains most of its original sheet metal and all of the OEM glass. Shifts come courtesy of a Sun Coast Turbo 400 with a lockup converter.
RLC Motorsports’ Short Bed Cummins
One year after its debut, Michael Dalton’s fourth-gen Ram has low 6s down pat. Competing in the Pro Mod category, Dalton’s single turbo’d, 5.9L-powered two wheel drive short bed edged out Susan Soga’s ’34 Chevy in the semifinal and nearly took the overall win against Ryan Milliken’s 4-second Nova.
The Green Reaper
When traction issues temporarily left Ryan Milliken’s 2,100hp Nova back at the starting line, it looked like Michael Dalton might pull off an upset in the final round of the Pro Mod class. However, Milliken’s Nova was eventually able to grab ahold of the track and run down the bright orange Ram. In what was the closest race of the day, Milliken took the win with a margin of just 0.0024 seconds—which works out to two inches. In case you’re wondering, yes, this is the same Cummins-powered Nova that’s been setting the X275 world on fire, once ran a low 5 with its parachute deployed and is the leaf sprung, 3,600-lb door car capable of trapping 163 mph in the ‘660.
Multi-Tasking Diesel Rat Rod
Susan Soga’s ’34 Chevy is a regular on the Outlaw Diesel Super Series racing circuit and is always in the hunt for a win. At Diesel Thunder Spring Break 2018, she cleaned house in 6.70 and also made it to the semi-finals in the Pro Mod category. Her ultra lightweight rat rod tips the scales at a little more than 3,000 lbs and sports a VE-pump 5.9L Cummins with BD Diesel Performance Injectors, an S300 from BD Diesel and a Powerglide transmission.
One of few competitors that actually pointed his tow rig northbound for the Diesel Thunder event was Jonathan Wayne Coblentz of Jon Wayne Automotive in Sarasota, Florida. With 250-percent over injectors, dual CP3s, a Sun Coast 48RE transmission and Hardway Performance tuning, his single turbo, stock bottom end 6.7L Cummins-powered Ram has been as quick as 10.69 seconds in the quarter-mile (roughly 6.80 in the eighth). At Diesel Thunder, he dialed back the tuning and feathered the brake just enough to squeak out the win in the 7.70 Index class.
DNR Customs' R&D Session
Getting some practice in before UCC 2018, Derek Rose of DNR Customs signed up to compete in the 5.90 Index class. The Diesel Thunder event offered him a break from the long Michigan winter and the opportunity to test the new five-disc converter he’s running in the truck’s 48RE automatic. Look for Rose’s center-drive Ram to (once again) be a top contender for this year’s Ultimate Callout Challenge crown.
Photography courtesy of Amy Gilbert at Stainless Diesel