Rudy’s Diesel Season Opener, Part 1: Drags

After taking the 6.4L Power Stroke platform to new heights just seven to eight years ago, Aaron (Rudy) Rudolf quickly became a household name in diesel drag racing. In addition to presiding over a growing business, Rudy’s Diesel Performance, Rudy hosted his first event in 2011. Since then, the Rudy’s Diesel gatherings have morphed into some of the largest drag race and sled pulls in the industry. Not only that, two events are held each year. One kicks things off in the spring and the other one wraps up the racing season in the fall.

For the 2017 Rudy’s Diesel Season Opener there would be no shortage of action, as the event served as the first stop on the Outlaw Diesel Super Series (ODSS) points circuit. As expected, the nation’s top drag racers turned out at Piedmont Dragway’s eighth-mile track in Julian, North Carolina. By the conclusion of the two-day event, spectators had been treated to a 4-second blast courtesy of the Scheid Diesel rail, ultra-tight Index racing in 6.70 and 7.70 classes and a captivating Pro Street final that saw two 4,500-pound trucks make side-by-side, low-5-second passes.

Read on for the drag race recap, and stay tuned for all the details from the truck pull in Part 2.

Low 5’s

001-Lavon-Miller-Firepunk-Diesel-Pro-Street-Dodge

Less than a week after winning his second Ultimate Callout Challenge, Lavon Miller and the Firepunk Diesel crew hauled its battle-tested, triple-turbo’d ’06 Dodge out to North Carolina to do battle in the Pro Street class. After running consistent 5.30’s (and one 5.41) in the 140 mph range all day, Lavon found himself in the final. There he would click off the truck’s fastest pass to date — a 5.32 at 140 mph.

Another Race, Another Record

002-Dustin-Jackson-Pro-Street-Ford-Lightning-Cummins

Showing up once again was Dustin Jackson’s Pro Street, Cummins-powered ’94 Ford Lightning. After making it to the final round (against the aforementioned Lavon Miller), he would narrowly pull out the win — and set a new ODSS Pro Street record in the process. His 5.18 at 137 mph equates to an 8.1 at more than 170 mph in the quarter-mile.

6.70 Index Class Runner-Up

003-Bruce-Wilson-6-70-Index

Bruce Wilson would take the Runner-Up position in the 6.70 Index class (10.50 quarter-mile) behind the wheel of his standard cab ’12 Ram. Just one week after the Rudy’s event, he would lay claim to a 10.27 at 131 mph on his local quarter-mile track.

6.70 Index Class Winner

004-Banean-Woosley-2005-Dodge-2500-Cummins

Veteran drag racer Banean Woosley put his extensive experience to good use at the Rudy’s Diesel opener, pulling off the win in the 6.70 Index class. He and his ’05 Dodge Ram 2500, nicknamed the “Great White Buffalo,” are regulars on the ODSS scene and are always in the hunt for a win.

Parts, Swag and Expert Advice

005-Rudys-Diesel-Manufacturer-Midway

In just seven years' time, “Rudy’s” (as the events hosted by Rudy’s Diesel are known) has continued to attract the biggest companies in the diesel industry to its vendor/manufacturer row. Names like FASS, BD, Bully Dog, ATS Diesel, Sun Coast, S&B Filters, Fleece Performance Engineering and PPEI were all on hand for the 2017 season opener.

First Steps

006-Rudys-Diesel-Ford-Super-Duty

It was the first time out for the latest go-fast creation from Rudy’s Diesel: a sub-3,500-pound ’08-’10 body style Super Duty. The featherweight drag truck features a host of fiberglass and carbon fiber components in order to weigh-in this light — and a triple-turbo 6.4L Power Stroke under the hood should be good for somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 hp on nitrous. We’re told Rudy’s goal is to get the truck into the 7’s in the quarter-mile.

Deep in the 4’s

007-Scheid-Diesel-Dragster-Cummins-2500hp

Even though the Scheid Diesel rail was the sole entry in the Top Dragster class, it didn’t keep them from leaning on the 2,500 hp car. Driver Jared Jones would pilot the Spitzer chassis, Cummins-powered dragster to a 4.32-second blast at 172+ mph before the day was through.

Dyno-Verified, Track-Proven

008-Tyler-Brancifort-2011-Ford-F350

Tyler Brancifort has been pushing the envelope of the 6.7L Power Stroke for several years now with his ’11 F-350 and all of his hardwork was on full display at Rudy’s. After applying 1,422 hp to the mobile chassis dyno on hand at the event, Tyler’s big Ford made a 7.05-second pass through the 660 at a blazing 104 mph. Checking in at 8,300 pounds, this trap speed backs up the numbers Tyler’s truck laid down on the rollers. Even more impressive is that he did this running Nitto Terra Grappler G2 tires, not race slicks!

Making 6.40’s Look Easy

009-Seth-Higgins-2001-Dodge-Cummins

Last season, this ’01 Dodge was knocking down 5.60’s in the eighth-mile while under the ownership of Chase Lunsford of KingSpeed Race & Repair. Now, it’s owned by Seth Higgins and the Rudy’s season opener was its first time down the track with a different engine under the hood — and one that’s geared toward running consistent 6.70’s. The single turbo’d, 5.9L common-rail Cummins went 6.74 and 6.78 during its initial test hits and also turned in a best E.T. of 6.48.

7-Second 6.0L

010-Rob-Yianakopolos-6-0-Power-Stroke-Ford

Don’t ask Rob Yianakopolos where his mirrors went... but his nasty, 6.0L-powered Super Duty gets with the program. In test-and-tune, Rob was clearing 7.40’s with fairly conservative four-wheel drive launches. Out in the real world, you can bet this 6.0L hurts a lot of feelings.

Too Fast

011-Adrian Forkum-Dodge-Ram-Cummins-7-70-Index

The biggest problem Adrian Forkum and his Dodge faced in the 7.70 Index class was trying to slow down. After making a 7.53-second pass, Adrian launched the truck noticeably softer on a subsequent pass but still ran a 7.65. This type of struggle speaks volumes as to how well you have to know your machine in Index racing. But this type of hardship (going too fast as opposed to going too slow) is the best kind to have, as simply changing tunes may yield 7.70’s on the dot.

New Personal Best

012-David Petrick-Dodge-Ram-2500-Cummins

While David Petrick spent time running the 7.70 Index class, seeing just how fast his Dodge could rip through the eighth-mile was fun to watch. His hood-stacked Cummins on Nitto 420S tires would put up a very respectable 6.87 at 103 mph on its best pass to date. David’s goal is to click off a 6.70 on fuel before the 2017 racing season is through.

(Photos courtesy of Amy Gilbert at Stainless Diesel)

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