The Grand Finale: 2017 NHRDA World Finals
Dragsters in the 6’s, fullsize pickups in the 8’s and semi trucks in the mid 11’s! With this type of clientele, you could say it was another action-packed year at the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) World Finals. Once again held in Ennis, Texas, dozens upon dozens of trucks showed up to light up the quarter-mile drag strip at the Texas Motorplex. With points, championships, sponsorships and bragging rights all on the line, the NHRDA season finale brings with it a certain amount of pressure and excitement. In 2017, one new record was set, several others were challenged and every heads-up racer had their combination set on kill.
In the Pro Street field, everyone expected the two fastest trucks in the industry—Lavon Miller and Dustin Jackson—to once again face off in the finals. As for Top Diesel, three 200-mph-capable rails would make the call. Super Stock would bring out a slew of heavy hitters as well, with names like Phillip Franklin, defending champion Chris Buhidar, Anthony Reams, Wade Minter and Jared Ring all on the docket. The icing on the cake would come in the form of Gord Cooper’s ’68 Kenworth storming through the 1320 in 11.5 seconds.
Follow along for the highlight reel from this year’s World Finals show and mark it on your calendar to be there in 2018. It’s worth the trip!
Pro Street Domination
Back on the same track he was kicked off of for being “too fast” one year prior, Dustin Jackson returned to Ennis with his Cummins-powered Lightning. The triple-turbo’d Pro Street F-150 would rocket to a “legal” 8.09 at 170 mph during qualifying, which was not only the number one qualifier position, but a new personal best for Dustin. He would click off an 8.10 at 167 mph in the final round for the win and also secure the 2017 Pro Street Championship in the process.
“DeMaxed” Goes 8.53
In an astonishing display of power, Jared Deletka put the Industrial Injection-backed Super Street Chevy through the quarter-mile in 8.53 seconds at more than 167 mph. Not only did this earn him the number one qualifier position, but it demolished the truck’s previous best elapsed time of 8.72 seconds. At 6,000 pounds and this trap speed, at least 1,900 hp is making it to the wheels! No longer Duramax-powered, the ’01 Silverado benefits from an Industrial Injection-built and fueled, triple-turbo Cummins, a Randy’s Transmissions Stage 4 48RE automatic with a Sun Coast converter and goes by the name "DeMaxed."
Hard Luck is Temporary
After putting in an 8.21 during qualifying and an 8.63 to advance to the final round of Pro Street, Lavon Miller and the Firepunk Diesel encountered unfortunate transmission issues, which eventually forced them to settle for the runner-up position. However, the record-breaking Ram would be alive and well less than a week later, where it scored multiple bottom 5-second eighth-mile passes at the Rudy’s Fall Diesel Jam in North Carolina (i.e. 7.90’s in the quarter-mile).
Master Shredder Carnage
Graced with cut tires, Shawn Baca’s 2,500 hp “Master Shredder” Ram tried its hand in the truck pulls the night before the drag racing began—and he would earn the carnage crown for the evening. Near the end of the track, one of the engine’s atmosphere turbochargers checked out in catastrophic fashion, exploding the compressor housing and spitting out most of the compressor wheel. Still, Baca’s Ram would travel 284 feet and change before coming to a stop, which was good enough for Second Place in the Super Stock class.
Super Street is a class unique to NHRDA—and it’s been a big hit. Back-halving, tube chassis’, three-links and four-links are prohibited, which means these trucks are full-framed vehicles with leaf spring rear suspensions. For four-wheel drive competitors, a 6,000-pound minimum weight limit is in play—which means a lot of these trucks, a handful of which are now running 8’s, are applying in excess of 1,500 hp to the track. Wade Minter’s triple-turbo’d, “Ill-Tempered” Duramax is shown above. It’s been as quick as 8.96 in the past.
Trouble on the Line
Another nasty Super Street truck on hand at the World Finals was the common-rail Cummins-powered second-gen owned by Manning Motorsports and driven by veteran drag racer, Jared Ring. Although the truck would have trouble getting off the line at Worlds, at any given event it can never be counted out when it comes to hanging with the fastest trucks in Super Street (having gone 9.10’s in the past and being more than capable of running 8’s).
Mid 6’s from the Scheid Rail
For a taste of the ultimate in speed, Jared Jones and the Scheid Diesel team hauled the Cummins-powered, Spitzer chassis dragster down from Terre Haute, Indiana. They didn’t disappoint. Jones would snag the number one qualifier position with a 6.60-second pass at 215 mph and then go even quicker in the final round with a 6.55 at 215, which isn’t far off the rail’s NHRDA best-ever pass of 6.46.
Deeper in the 6’s
With a new ECU on board, Wade Moody’s Flo-Pro-sponsored ’05 Spitzer turned in an impressive effort of 6.74 at 199 mph. While his Duramax-powered dragster has been 200 mph in the past, its 6.74-second elapsed time in Ennis is a new personal best for Moody and his crew. Ultimately, he would finish in the Runner-Up spot, right behind Jared Jones and the Scheid Diesel team. We look forward to seeing how much quicker this rail will be in 2018!
Back-to-Back Pro Stock Titles
Due to Matt Kubik’s “Demented” P-pumped 7.3L Mustang suffering from converter lockup issues on the line, Jarid Vollmer would cruise to the Pro Stock win aboard the G&J Diesel/MBRP-sponsored ’41 Willys known as the Batmobile. Vollmer would also defend his Pro Stock title in the process.
Blown, Twin-Turbo’d and Nitrous-Fed
Gord Cooper made the 1,900-mile journey from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to compete at the World Finals—and we’re glad he did! His ’68 Kenworth, coined “Smokin’ Gun,” earned the number one qualifier spot in the Hot Rod Semi category with a blazing 11.59-second pass at 115 mph. By our calculations, the truck—with a supercharged, twin-turbo’d and nitrous-fed 8V92 Detroit under the hood—sends roughly 1,100 hp to the rear duals. Cooper would take First Place in the finals thanks to an 11.67 at the same 115 mph. While neither of his 11-second passes were personal bests, they weren’t too far off of his NHRDA E.T. record of 11.403 either.
Neck-and-Neck in Super Street
While Phillip Franklin is no stranger to running 8’s in his Super Street ’06 Dodge Ram 2500, a mid-9 would be enough to edge out fellow competitor, colleague and friend, Chris Buhidar, in the finals. The last Super Street race of the day would see Franklin’s 9.52 at 144 mph beat out Buhidar’s 9.79 at 143 mph. However, Buhidar would have the final say in his triple-turbo, Cummins-powered ’00 F-350, as his Runner-Up finish at Worlds would provide enough points to lock him into yet another Super Street championship.
At the Top of His Game
Photos provided courtesy of NHRDA
Jim Greenway is known for taking his truck pulling pretty seriously. You can find the Galena, Missouri-based competitor (and owner of Baillie Diesel) at nearly every major national event in the summer months, campaigning both of the championship-caliber Dodge Rams he’s put together. Once again, Greenway found himself down in Texas and atop the podium, as he would lay claim to First Place in both the Super Stock and Pro Stock classes at the truck pull portion of the NHRDA World Finals on Friday night. In the photo above, his ‘07 Dodge is in the midst of an impressive 370.09-foot winning effort in the Pro Stock class.