Diesels drag racing? A diesel truck is a work vehicle, designed to haul cargo or pull trailers, right? That perception is changed every year at Weekend on the Edge, an event sponsored by Edge Products in Ogden, Utah. Once a year, that company takes over the Rocky Mountain Speedway outside Salt Lake City and invites all comers with diesel pickups or SUVs to test their skills and horsepower on the track. Entrants come from all over the country.
Quarter-mile times translate to bragging rights. We've clocked a stock 2005 F-250 Harley-Davidson Power Stroke turbodiesel reaching 81.0 mph in 16.9 seconds. However, once you add a fuel chip, custom exhaust, locking differentials, and aftermarket air filters, times drop into the low 12-second range. Inject propane and/or nitrous oxide with bigger injectors, unrestricted exhaust systems, and twin turbochargers, and things can get very fast.
John Kennedy from Loyal, Wisconsin, brought his 2002 Duramax to race and won the $750 Single Turbo honors with a time of 15.01 seconds at 90.14 mph. Brett Williams of Salt Lake City, Utah, hammered his 2004 Cummins into the Open Class winner's circle, earning $750 for his run of 13.22 seconds at 104 mph. Jim Bigley from Montana took a sharp 1989 Silverado Sportside K1500 half-ton 4x4 (Project Diesel Hot Rod, seen in the November/December 2004 and March/April 2005 issues of Truck Trend) to a quick 12.94 seconds at 112.82 mph. And this is a daily driver. Auto Meter exhaust temperature and boost pressure gauges let him know how far he's pushing the mechanical envelope.
Quick and Fast
Some of the quickest in the 120-truck field arrived after the qualifying rounds and made exhibition-only passes. The fastest Duramax belonged to Weekend on the Edge dyno champion Clint Cannon from ATS Diesel in Arvada, Colorado. His 2002 Chevy 2500 4x4 posted a 12.6-second time at 110 mph. Its 6.6-liter Duramax develops 842 rear-wheel horsepower and 1460 pound-feet of rear-wheel torque on just diesel.
The only internal modifications to the engine are head studs in place of the factory head bolts. Clint uses his truck as a daily driver for towing and for fun things like sled pulling and drag racing.
Not to let a Chevy beat a Ford, Zane Koch in Salt Lake City clocked the fastest time of the day in his 1997 Ford 7.3 Power Stroke--12.21 seconds at 114 mph--and that's on regular pump diesel. We stopped by the Wide Open Performance shop in Sandy, Utah, to learn some of his secrets.
A pile of cracked heads and blocks were stacked in the corner. Experimentation has its price. Zane gave us a quick overview of the $30,000 engine that pumps out nearly 800 horsepower. Two high-pressure oil pumps are stacked, one for each bank of injectors. A stock injector flows 120cc of fuel. The ones Zane runs push 500cc. Heads were modified to handle the extreme boost, like 90psi on the track with ETG running 1600 to 1700 degrees.
This kind of fuel needs lots of air. The primary turbo came off a 31-liter Perkins Generator. It's about 10 times the size of a stock unit. The second turbo is only twice the factory size. A divorced wastegate keeps control of the pressure out of the secondary turbo and dumps it back into the main turbo, so no energy is lost.
An E40D transmission built by BTS in Arkansas sends power to Toyo Proxes S/Ts on American Racing 20x10 wheels. We took a quick spin around the block. Zane punched it about halfway down the street, and when he backed off, the speedo was at 95 mph.
Applying the NHRA altitude correction factor for Rocky Mountain Raceway (4400 feet above sea level) of 0.9566 for time and 1.0412 for speed and dividing by two for turbocharging, Zane's corrected time is 11.945 at 116.35 mph. That's faster than a stock C5-generation Z06 Corvette and comparable with a Ford GT and Lambo Gallardo--at more than twice the weight.
Day two of Weekend on the Edge brought everyone to the Edge facilities in Ogden, Utah, for a Dyno Day, barbecue, and a show 'n' shine. The three dynos were kept busy all day. John Kennedy took top honors, with 725 horsepower and 1373 pound-feet of torque. The real shootout would've been between the ATS Duramax and the Wide Open Performance Power Stroke, but both trucks developed unknown problems with one of their injectors, keeping us all guessing and waiting for next year's Weekend on the Edge.
Jim Bigley's 1989 Silverado
• Duramax 6600
• ATS Allison Extreme w/triple-lock torque converter
• ATS Co-Pilot module
• Edge Juice with Attitude
• AFE Stage I air intake
• Banks Big Head turbo wastegate actuator
• Kennedy Diesel boost valve (taking it to 32 psi)
• PPE Hot Xcelerator: power increase, raises governor to 4500 rpm, andvehicle speed limiter to 150 mph
• U.S. Diesel Parts single-stage nitrous system with size-78 jet
• Disc brakes
• Randy's Ring & Pinion Yukon Gear 3.42 rear axle w/Eaton Posi limited-slip
• Caltracs traction bars
It's impressive what twin monster turbos, huge injectors, and dual oil pumps can produce o
An interesting bit of engineering is this Cummins stuffed into a Ford F-350.