Outlaw Diesel Super Series: 2019 Season Recap
It was another successful year for the Outlaw Diesel Super Series and diesel drag racing as a whole. Hundreds of competitors signed up to compete within the ranks of ODSS in 2019, and spectators were privy to 4-second side-by-side battles, tight points races and record-breaking passes from April through October. In 5.90 Index—arguably the organization’s hottest and fastest-growing “Pro” class—the championship came down to the last race of the season. By contrast, in Pro Street and 6.70 Index, seasoned veterans Johnny Gilbert and Landon Miller all but ran away with their respective titles. Then there was the ever-talented Ryan Riddle, a natural born index racer who brought home a trophy in each hand (7.70 Index and ET Bracket).
With the 2019 ODSS season now in the books, it’s time to recap how each champion earned his or her spot at the top of the podium. As a bonus, we’ll also highlight the Pro Mod exhibition race that was held at the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) World Finals in Virginia and detail a captivating end-of-year grudge race that may have been the precursor to a huge Pro Mod battle coming in 2020.
Pro Mod Winner: Larson Miller
The 2002 Chevy S10 Pro Mod better known as the Save the Racks S10 is powered by a D&J Precision Machine common-rail Cummins, campaigned by Firepunk Diesel and driven by Larson Miller. It holds the current eighth-mile E.T. (4.25) and trap speed (177 mph) records for a diesel door car and is always a threat to take home the win at any given ODSS event. Believe it or not, Miller didn’t collect his first win until round five, at the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza in August. While there, he met up with 2018 Pro Mod champion, Ben Shadday, in the finals. Despite his slower reaction time, Miller leapt off the line with a 1.1-second 60-foot, taking the eventual win by going 4.43 at 163 mph.
Pro Mod Runner-Up: Rawlings Barnes
It was a strong year for the Rudy’s Performance Parts’ F-250 piloted by Rawlings Barnes, with the die hard Ford crew pushing their 6.4L Power Stroke deeper and deeper into the 4’s. After grabbing the win in round three (the inaugural Outlaw Diesel Revenge event held at Kilkare Dragway in Xenia, Ohio), Barnes found himself second in the Pro Mod points chase. Then he pulled ahead in the standings after securing the victory at the Rocky Top Diesel Shootout. Barnes would hold on to his narrow points lead until round seven, where the aforementioned Larson Miller caught up with him.
Going Out with A Bang
Though it didn’t mean anything as far as the 2019 Pro Mod points standings was concerned, the grudge race between Wade Moody’s newly-debuted Pro Mod Corvette and Larson Miller’s Save the Racks S10 may have been a sign of very exciting things to come in 2020. After cutting an incredible 1.02-second 60-foot, Moody’s Duramax-powered C7 (sporting a beautiful Jerry Bickel body) was off to the races. Though Miller was pouring the power on in the last 330 feet of track, his 4.40 at 173 mph wasn’t enough to overcome Moody’s quicker reaction time, neck-breaking 60-foot and his own 4.39 at 165 mph journey.
5.90 Index Winner: Mindy Jackson
For 2019, Mindy Jackson climbed aboard her husband, Dustin Jackson’s old Pro Street truck: a first-generation Ford Lightning coined “Old Hustle, New Flow” packing a common-rail Cummins. But instead of competing in Pro Street, she entered the booming 5.90 Index category, where the growing class was already filling up with some tough competition. Following a decent start, Mindy officially found her groove at the Rocky Top Diesel Shootout in round four, taking the win there and then immediately backing it up at the following race (the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza). Heading into the final race of the season, just 11 points were separating her from Second Place Paul Cato, who’d just pulled out a win the round before the finale. At Rudy’s Fall Truck Jam, she would grab her third W and walk away the 5.90 Index champion.
5.90 Index Runner-Up: Paul Cato
Though Paul Cato competes in 5.90 Index, his second-gen, common-rail Cummins-powered Dodge is more like a Pro Street truck in disguise. After all, it went 5.41 at 134 mph this summer and was probably even capable of 5.30’s. Long story short, Cato spent much of his season trying not to break out in 5.90. However, despite his struggles to keep within the class dial-in Cato threw a lot of points on the board in 2019 thanks to two wins, one third, two fourth place finishes and one fifth place appearance. His final race against Mindy Jackson would prove one of the best of the year in the semi finals at Rudy’s Fall Truck Jam. Cato nabbed the quicker reaction time but lost the race to the 60-foot mark and then couldn’t get back around Jackson by the stripe. With everything coming down to one last race, at the final event of the year, 5.90 Index definitely lived up to the hype in 2019.
Pro Street Winner: Johnny Gilbert
Stainless Diesel’s Johnny Gilbert made winning one of diesel drag racing’s fastest classes look easy in 2019. He and his triple-turbo, common-rail Cummins-powered Dodge pulled off five wins and proved capable of 5.20’s with trap speeds in the mid 140’s. Unique to the class, Gilbert’s Ram makes use of a Wilson Patterson Diesel-prepped TH400 with a lockup Sun Coast converter and trans brake but is also 4x4. If you want to see one of the nastiest, side-skating four-wheel drive diesels in the nation, you owe it to yourself to see this 2,500hp monster blaze the eighth-mile in person. Gilbert might just be in the hunt for bottom 5’s in 2020.
Pro Dragster Winner: Jared Jones
Even though turnout was low in the ODSS Pro Dragster field for 2019, it didn’t stop the Scheid Diesel team and driver Jared Jones from pushing the limits of the iconic, Spitzer chassis rail. The Terre Haute, Indiana based team even continued campaigning their P-pumped, 12-valve Cummins in the NHRA’s Top Dragster field at select events. It was there that Jones earned a new personal best quarter-mile trap speed, going 228.89 mph (with an ET of 6.36 seconds). The feat topped the rail’s previous best of 226 mph, though its quickest quarter-mile ET to date still stands at 6.31.
6.70 Index Winner: Landon Miller
Despite the close battle for Second Place that was raging behind him between Zack Pierce and Joshua Grahmann, Landon Miller’s two wins and rock-solid consistency throughout the course of the year led to his walking away with the 6.70 title in 2019. Another naturally talented drag racer from the Firepunk Diesel camp, this isn’t the first time Miller has cleaned house in any particular class. In the past he’s been a strong contender in both the ET Bracket class and 7.70 Index. This year, he put together two wins and six top five finishes in his dominance of the 6.70 class.
7.70 Index Winner: Ryan Riddle
We’ve spotlighted Ryan Riddle’s drag racing prowess in the past, but the guy just keeps on winning. Despite more than 200 competitors signed up to compete in 7.70 Index in 2019 (most of which are thoroughly experienced drag racers), Riddle finished the season more than 100 points ahead of Second Place. He and his regular cab Dodge seemed to be on autopilot the majority of the time, winning four events and only finishing outside of the money on one occasion. Even though he’d already locked in the championship before heading into the final event of the year, “Mr. 7.70” showed up at Rudy’s Fall Truck Jam and closed out 2019 with one last win (and running a perfect 7.700 in the final round). This title makes it two in a row for Riddle.
ET Bracket Winner: Ryan Riddle
Proving yet again that he can double-dip with the best of them, Riddle secured the ET Bracket title in addition to the 7.70 Index trophy this year. His two wins, coupled with strong performances across the board, made the feat possible. Just as he’d done in 7.70, Riddle had to beat the likes of Second Place finisher and tough competitor, Nick Morris. Then before the offseason officially set in, Riddle signed up to compete in the spectator races at the King of the Street Challenge. After qualifying number one with (you guessed it) a 7.70 pass, he later found himself in the all-too-familiar winner’s circle.
Great PR at the PDRA World Finals
Hooking up with the folks of the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA), ODSS officials were permitted to bring a couple diesels out to make exhibition runs at the PDRA World Finals in October—and nothing showcases how far oil burners have come quite like pitting two 4-second trucks against each other. The Firepunk/Save the Racks S10 and Rudy’s Performance Parts’ F-250 made the call and, despite the S10 shelling its turbo just past mid-track, both trucks put up mid-4-second passes. For Rudy’s, its 4.51 at 156 mph blast marked a new personal best for the truck and its driver, Rawlings Barnes, which also included his first sub-3-second sprint to the 330-foot mark.
Photography provided by Amy Gilbert of Stainless Diesel
Curious as to what makes a Pro Mod diesel tick? You can find a quick tutorial here.