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Fastest Passes of 2020: 5 Diesels That Owned the Eighth-Mile This Season

Despite the nationwide disruption caused by Covid-19, it didn’t stop a slew of new records from being set in the world of diesel drag racing this season. The shot heard ‘round the world came when John Robinson’s Power Service dragster reset the all-time eighth-mile elapsed time record in March. That same weekend Brian Gray would raise the bar even further for the 7.3L Power Stroke, besting his previous record by nearly a full tenth of a second. A few short months later, Charlie Fish would lay claim to the all-time 6.0L Power Stroke eighth-mile record for both E.T. and trap speed. After that, Stainless Diesel’s Johnny Gilbert set a new Pro Street mph record and then reset it again at the very next event—along with breaking the E.T. record. And though it wasn’t a record, Jeremy Wagler’s wild creation, a screw-blown Duramax-powered rail, went 4.23 at 166 mph in one of its first clean passes through the ‘660.

For a look inside each of these commendable efforts, keep reading. There’s a whole lot more below.

Quickest Diesel Eighth-Mile E.T. in History: 4.10

Power Service Diesel Dragster

After years of trying, John Robinson broke into the record books on March 14th while piloting the Power Service dragster to a 4.101 at 181 mph. In beating the previous eighth-mile best of 4.119 (held by NGM Diesel’s Wade Moody), he became the quickest man in diesel as far as the eighth-mile is concerned. Following a short celebration, Robinson got right back to business, however, stating that he’d be gunning for the quarter-mile record next: a 6.31-second blast at 226 mph from Jared Jones behind the wheel of the Scheid Diesel dragster. As for Robinson’s newly-established eighth-mile record, it went unmatched all season, although the aforementioned Jones did come close with a 4.106 of his own.

390 Cubic Inches & 2,860 HP

Compound Turbo Cummins Race Engine

Like the mega horsepower Super Stock truck pullers that have trophies to show for it, Robinson’s Power Service rail sports a competition Cummins from Scheid Diesel. A billet-aluminum block provides unequaled strength while saving weight at the same time, a 12-valve head provides plenty of airflow and a compound turbo system produces roughly 160 psi of boost. A Scheid 14mm P8600 (P-pump) and a set of its billet body, triple-feed injectors supplied the fuel that was needed for the 390 ci inline-six to make 2,860 hp and 3,380 lb-ft of torque on the dyno.

The Undisputed Pro Street King: 4.82 at 156 mph

Stainless Diesel Pro Street Dodge Ram

Thanks to three different Cummins-powered trucks breaking into the 4’s, it proved to be a remarkable year for the ODSS-sanctioned Pro Street class. After grabbing the trap speed record in July (155.7 mph), driver of the Stainless Diesel second-gen Dodge, Johnny Gilbert, set his sights on the E.T. high mark—a 4.86—that had recently been set by Josh Scruggs. At the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza in August, Johnny got his chance, and pulled off a 4.828-second pass at a blazing 156.72 mph, collecting both the elapsed time and trap speed records on the same pass. Perhaps the best thing about the feat is that Johnny has remained in the 4’s ever since—proving the 4.82 was no one-hit wonder (perfect track, perfect day, right tune-up, stars aligned, etc.).

World’s Fastest 7.3L: 4.83 at 143 mph

Pro Mod Ford Power Stroke

We’ve highlighted Brian Gray’s phenomenal Pro Mod OBS Ford in the past, but he continues to push the envelope further and further each racing season. When the 2020 ODSS schedule commenced back in March, his 7.3L Power Stroke wasted no time besting its previous high mark of 4.92 in going 4.836 at 143.60 mph. While the 444 ci V-8 has been treated to a dry sump oil system, it still makes use of the stock forged crank, OEM (concrete-filled) cast-iron block, ported factory heads, and unbelievably the HEUI injection system, which sports a set of his own hybrid injectors (from Gray’s Diesel Performance). The single turbo’d, nitrous-fed 7.3L cranks out somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,700 hp and, for the simple fact that it’s not a Cummins, is exceptionally fun to watch go down the track.

On Top of the 6.0L World: 5.63 at 124 mph

2005 Ford Super Duty Power Stroke Drag Race

It was a breakout year for KC Turbos’ Charlie Fish and his short-bed ’05 Super Duty. What he and his 6.0L Power Stroke accomplished in 2020 is nothing short of amazing. First, he decided to enter his 5,100-pound, four-wheel drive Ford in the ODSS’s 5.90 Index class even though no 6.0L-powered truck had run quicker than low 6’s up to that point. Then, after having pushed the truck into the 5.90s (and even running a best of 5.85 at 117 mph), Charlie outpaced fellow 6.0L 5.90 competitor, Austin Denny, in early August with a 5.639-second blast at 124.01 mph, making his Super Duty the quickest and fastest 6.0L in existence. What’s more is that Charlie also set a new quarter-mile ET and trap speed record for the 6.0L Power Stroke, a 9.06 at 125 mph even with letting out of it!

A Surprisingly Simple, Crazy-Powerful 6.0L Power Stroke

6.0L Power Stroke Diesel Big Single Turbo

So what does it take to make a 6.0L Power Stroke survive 1,500-plus horsepower at the crank? In Charlie’s case it’s a Stage 2 Kill Devil Diesel long-block, with Callies’ Assassin forged-steel rods, de-lipped and fly-cut Mahle pistons, one of Kill Devil’s stage 2 cams, and factory-based, O-ringed heads with ARP Custom Age 625+ head studs. Nothing crazy! A single BorgWarner S480 SX-E, modified at KC Turbos, sends 70 psi of boost through a dry ice (ice barrel) intercooler from C&R Racing, and two stages of nitrous feed dense, 100-degree air into the 6.0L. Similar to Brian Gray, Charlie still makes use of the factory-based HEUI injection system, with help in the injector department coming from industry titan, Warren Diesel.

The Anomaly: 4.23 at 166 mph

Wagler Competition Products Duramax Dragster

Idles like a diesel, revs out like a Top Fuel car. What is it, exactly? It’s Jeremy Wagler of Wagler Competition Products’ latest high-speed creation: a screw-blown Duramax sporting both nitrous and water-methanol injection, and packed into a dragster chassis. After a few test hits went viral on social media, driver Andre Dusek soon turned in a 4.74 at 145 mph, followed shortly thereafter by a 4.65 at 151 mph, and ultimately its current best, a 4.23 at 166 mph, at the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. The rail hasn’t set a record yet, but we’re pretty sure it will. After all, its’ come a very long way in an extremely short a­­mount of time so far—and Wagler happens to have his own drag strip to practice on…so expect some noise from this one-of-a-kind diesel in the near future.

Blower, Water-Meth and Nitrous

Screw Blown Duramax Diesel Rail Engine

The 385 ci Duramax V-8 in Wagler’s rail forgoes turbochargers in favor of a PSI blower spec’d for a low-rpm application, which means instantaneous boost is always on tap. The blower is cooled by using a 50/50 mixture of water-methanol, while a two-stage Nitrous Express system is employed to keep intake temps at bay. Still a common-rail, the Duramax’s fuel system components were supplied by S&S Diesel Motorsport and are controlled via a Motec ECM. Once faster speed pulleys are in the mix (the blower is currently only producing 40 psi of boost), as much as 75-psi of boost will be on the table—and hopefully eighth-mile passes in the 3’s…

Select photography provided by Amy Gilbert of Stainless Diesel

  • Most of the vehicles in this article made an appearance (and passes) at the 2020 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. You can catch up on our coverage of diesel’s biggest event right here.
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