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  • 2008 Hot Rod Drag Week - Drag Week

2008 Hot Rod Drag Week - Drag Week

Four Diesels, Five Days, And 1,100 Miles

Jason Sands
Jan 1, 2009
Photographers: Jason Sands
Photo 2/24   |   2008 Hot Rod Drag Week 2003 Dodge Ram 2500
Hot Rod Magazine's Drag Week event is simple: non-stop drag racing for five straight days, on five different racetracks. Here's the catch: you have to drive your vehicle the whole way, then blast down the track in record time. Each day brings a 200 to 300-mile drive, along with as many dragstrip passes as you need. This is Diesel Power's third year in a row at Drag Week, and we had quite an interesting group.
Starting off the diesel entries from slowest to fastest, Kenny Laughlin and the Dr. Performance team brought a brand-new '08 Dodge Ram dubbed Project 6.7. Their goal was to show that a nearly stock truck could be made to run some pretty impressive numbers. With a programmer, water-methanol injection, nitrous, and the DPF and EGR systems removed (track use only of course) the truck was capable of running low 13s, with a best of 13.18 seconds in Monday's test-'n'-tune session. Not bad for a nearly stock Dodge.
Photo 3/24   |   2008 Hot Rod Drag Week burnout
On the top of the heap was Mike Woods, who built one of the first true street-and-strip diesel conversions we have seen, by shoehorning a 6.6L Duramax into his '94 Mustang. With testing in the low 10s, we were expecting big things during the week for this car.
Next on the ladder was Greg Hogue in Project X, an '03 Dodge that ran a 12.1-second elapsed time at 122 mph in the test session. Craig Colburn and Dennis Perry of TS Performance brought along their 11.80-second truck, which looked to be a threat in the bracket race at the end of the week.
Day One:
Bowling Green, Kentucky
For Project X, it would be the beginning of a very rough week. Its 4.33 axle gears had a chipped tooth and Project X had to rely on a set of 2.70 land speed racing axle gears. With only one tire spinning, a low 13-second time (at almost 120 mph) was the best that the truck could muster up. Mike's turbodiesel Mustang on the other hand, blasted off numerous low 10s without any issues, while Craig and company made two 11-second runs then headed to the next track. Dr. Performance was hard at work fighting a computer that refused their attempts at increasing power, and mid-13s was all they could manage. Still, the entire group was having a fun time, and everyone was looking forward to day two.
Day Two:
Steele, Alabama
The second day saw more problems for Project X, as a deeper set of cogs couldn't be found, and the 2.70 gears were still in place. To make matters worse, a wastegate leak meant Project X was having a very hard time spooling at the line, which meant, yep you guessed it, another 13-second pass-well off the 11.50-second pace of last year. Craig and Dennis rattled off another high 11-second run before venturing on to the next track ahead of everyone else. The Dr. Performance 6.7L continued to thwart every attempt at making the truck more powerful, and the 13.2-second run in test-'n'-tune couldn't be duplicated. Mike threw some bigger nitrous jets in his Mustang, yet still continued his 10.30-second pace. The big news for Mike was that after the first day, he had gotten better fuel mileage than any other vehicle in the event, including the rental cars! After the first day, the diesel-powered Stang had gotten an unreal 33 mpg, not bad for a 10-second car!
Day Three:
Montgomery, Alabama
Day three saw an unfortunate event: Craig Colburn's mother passed away, and Craig and Dennis had to hightail it back to Bowling Green, Kentucky, before the start of the Montgomery race. It was too bad, since the truck had run a Drag Week-best 11.85 seconds at 116 mph the previous day. With a 300-mile drive to the next track, all of the diesel class competitors elected to just make a couple runs and then head out. Mike's Mustang was still running low 10s, Kenny was still running low 13s, and Greg was still fighting turbo issues and running low 13s with big mph trap speeds.
Day Four:
Memphis, Tennessee
On the fourth day, the Dr. Performance team started out by hot-lapping their new '08 Dodge. The truck had still been running mid-13s, although the Dr. Performance team had started trying to trick the computer, by disconnecting it, changing tires, and more. They said they were looking for a 12.99-second pass, and so far the new truck's computer just wasn't letting it happen. Mike put in two .110 jets in his Mustang's nitrous system-the biggest jets his .157 solenoid would flow. In going for broke, Mike's 6.6L Duramax-powered Mustang ran a 10.27-second pass, although he guessed that was more due to his outrageous 1.36-second 60-ft time than anything else. Greg Hogue and Project X had yet to show by 1:00 p.m. We were starting to get worried as 2:00 p.m. was the deadline to make a pass, and sure enough at 1:56 p.m. Greg and his co-driver Zach McVey came flying in, and pulled straight to the staging lanes. They had a horrific day that included replacing a starter and alternator in a parking lot, and they lined up with all the tools and gear in the back, and puttered down the track on street tires. With a 17-second pass, Greg was now out of the hunt and just looking to survive.
Day Five: Final Day
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Drag Week was about to be over, and it seemed odd not to be planning for the next day's races. This meant that everyone could go for broke. The Dr. Performance team had finally started making headway on their computer issues, and their 60-ft times improved from 2.0 to 1.8 seconds. The truck was running low 13s, with a best of 13.18 seconds. Project X had 4.33 gears back in, along with a fixed wastegate, so everyone was hoping that Greg could pull off a 10-second pass. Sadly, it was not meant to be, as the converter just wasn't loose enough to let the turbo spool at the line. After the loudest nitrous backfire we have ever heard, the truck ran 114 mph on the top end with the turbo lighting at half track. The combination is there for 10s, it just needs tuning. Mike decided to listen to our complaining that he wasn't running enough nitrous on his Mustang, and wired up a second stage. Guess what? He found that his first stage hadn't been coming on, and he had been running the entire week with no nitrous! After a pedaling mid 10-second pass, he pulled off a 9.91-second run at 138 mph, to become the quickest diesel of Drag Week with the quickest single pass. Congrats to Mike on the victory, and for proving to the world how incredible diesel-powered vehicles can be. We're expecting Mike to soon be in the eight-second zone, and we'll keep you updated on his progress.
Everyone had a good time at Drag Week, and that's really what this event is all about. You'll see eight-second cars pulling trailers and driving through rainstorms, get to make multiple passes at five different tracks, and meet new and interesting people. Although we've focused mostly on the racing here, the drives through the countryside are a unique part of Drag Week. We hope to see you there next year.



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