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  • 2007 Las Vegas Diesel Hot Rod Association - Smoke At The Strip

2007 Las Vegas Diesel Hot Rod Association - Smoke At The Strip

The Diesel Hot Rod Association Invades Las Vegas

Jason Sands
Oct 8, 2007
Photographers: Jason Sands
Photo 2/18   |   One of the meanest-looking trucks at the event was the Dirtymax built by G&J Diesel. Few people had heard of this truck before, so its presence took almost everyone by surprise. New truck bugs and a soft 60-foot time kept it in the 11s, but its 130-mph top-end charge showed awesome potential.
Diesels from across the country made the trip to Las Vegas to attend the Diesel Hot Rod Association (DHRA) Vegas Diesel Nationals for a weekend of drag racing, sled pulling, and a show 'n' shine. There was a manufacturer's midway as well as extras like a dyno challenge and a burnout contest. Some of the quickest, fastest, and most powerful diesels showed up for the event-everything from the Predator drag truck to some East Coast sled pullers. There were a number of street diesels in the 11- and 12-second range, with diesel drag vehicles making 10-, 9-, and 8-second passes.
Plenty of records fell in Vegas, including the Predator drag truck's new elapsed-time and mph records, Zane Koch's record for the quickest 4WD, 7.3L Power Stroke with an 11.27-second time, and the Orange Crush team's new fastest Duramax record of 10.38 seconds. The sled-pulling event was also highly competitive, and a number of trucks pulled in the 280-300-foot range. Serious pulling rigs showed up, and it wasn't uncommon to see trucks being started with ether because of their low-compression motors.
All in all, the Vegas event was a blast, with some of the country's most serious racers showing up and setting records. Next year's event should be even bigger, so make sure to mark May 3 on your calendar for the '08 DHRA Vegas Diesel Nationals.
Photo 9/18   |   1970 Chevy C10 side View
The Will To Win
"It hasn't really been two days, but one really long day," said Scott Starling when we asked him how the weekend of racing had been. Scott and Chris Calkins are co-owners of Orange Crush, a Duramax-powered '70 Chevy C-10. During the very last qualifying pass on Saturday, the truck tied up two gears during a shift, tearing out all the splines on the Second gear planetary and leaving them without a transmission for the next day's race.
With no spares, they were forced to sit out eliminations after being the No. 1 qualifier-or were they? Steve Cole was on hand from TTS Power Systems helping tune their truck, and his shop was a mere 300 miles away. He wanted to win as badly as they did, so at about 6 p.m., they loaded the injured Allison transmission into their truck and drove to TTS in Los Angeles. The time period from about 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. was spent tearing into the transmission and replacing the broken and damaged parts, and at about 4:30 a.m., they hit the road to Vegas.
By 8 a.m., they were back, and by about 9:30 a.m., they had the truck up and running again. After one test pass to make sure everything was OK, Chris drove the truck to a First Place finish in his class, after about 20 minutes of sleep during the whole ordeal.
Photo 10/18   |   predator rear View
The World's Quickest Diesel Drag Truck
No matter what has been said, speculated, or rumored, the quickest and fastest diesel drag truck on the planet for the last few years has been Dr. Performance's Predator. The first diesel pickup in the 8s, the truck ran an 8-second pass every time it hit the track in Vegas and has run a best of 8.42 at 161 mph.
The Predator also set a DHRA record for the Pro Diesel class in elapsed time (8.61 seconds) and speed (157 mph) in Vegas despite slipping and sliding all over the track. The Predator itself has a Jerry Bickle-built Pro Stock truck chassis and a single-turbo'd, P-pumped, 24-valve Cummins engine. The 24-valve has a Dr. Performance-built P-pump and injectors along with an Industrial Injection turbocharger, which doesn't blow through an intercooler, but instead relies on multiple stages of nitrous to keep the charge temperature down.
The 3,000-pound truck sends 1,400 hp back through a Lenco three-speed manual, which helps generate 1.2-second 60-foot times. What's scary about this truck is that there's a lot left in it. Doc Sadler, co-owner of Dr. Performance, reported he found water in the No. 5 and No. 6 cylinders after Vegas, indicating a leaky head gasket. Not only that, but the truck still has plenty of power left in it if he can ever find a track that will hook. Doc reported that when the truck runs in Indy, he's looking for low 8s, which should keep the Predator firmly on top of the heap.


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