When race teams sit down to figure out their calendar each season, there is one event that keeps getting listed more and more. The TS Performance Outlaw Event has been going on for 14 years now, and it’s fair to say it gets better every time. Sure, there were a few bumps in the road along the way (rain one year, idiot vandals another time), but as the years go by, the event gets bigger and runs smoother.
Dennis and Sheila Perry, proprietors of TS Performance, make great hosts and manage to convince most of the major players in the industry they need to attend. The vendor alley on Saturday is legendary. The Friday/Saturday event has been expanded just a bit with the addition of an industry golf event on Thursday and the CompetitionDiesel.com Kick-Off Event at Whabah Steakhouse. There is a definite camaraderie that feels good. A lot of people feel as though they’re visiting extended family from across the country when they come to the event.
Bowling Green, Kentucky, is the home base of TS Performance as well as Beech Bend Raceway Park, which has hosted many racing exploits over the years. The diesel drag racing action gets underway first thing Friday morning and typically goes into the late afternoon unless there’s rain or an unusual number of trucks dumping their innards onto the dragstrip and requiring extended track maintenance. This year was rather uneventful -- if you’d call seeing the Scheid Diesel dragster go nearly 220 mph uneventful. Most people held their breath during the rails’ runs. The fastest trip down the quarter-mile turned out to be a 6.629 at 219.54 mph. After a 7.02-second run at 213 mph, driver Jared Jones said, “She wasn’t at wide open.” It’s worth noting that the car ran 6.372 seconds at 225.30 mph at the NHRDA event in Indy two weeks later.
| This old F-100 had a diesel engine shoved into the engine compartment.
The track was not an easy one to navigate, as traction could be elusive for the high-horsepower vehicles. The Power Service Altered drag car broke loose more than once and gave driver John Robinson some interesting moments. Good driving kept the car on the track, but
the 2,500-plus-horsepower vehicle was never able to hook up and get a good run. The best the car has run in the past is a 6.88 and the top
speed it has attained is 205 mph.
About the time the drag racing was winding down on Friday, the sled pulling was just getting revved up. The sled pull portion of the event is
held at a separate location (about 30 minutes away) in Franklin, Kentucky -- the Jim Roberts Community Park -- which allows a whole lot of
people to see the competition. But it’s not only sled pulling that goes on at the park on Saturday. The must-see vendor alley is pretty
spectacular. The vendors bring lots of parts and cutaways, as well as company reps who fully comprehend the diesel performance world. It’s a great time to discuss your specific needs with a whole bunch of different companies.
The show ’n’ shine has grown dramatically in the past few years, as the competition builds a reputation for attracting top-level trucks. The fact that multiple magazines send editors to the event for coverage and to shoot features no doubt influences some truck owners’ decision to attend. Kentucky is surrounded by seven states, so you will usually find contestants from West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. We talked to truck owners from New York, Wis consin, and Canada, too, so it’s plain to see this event draws a wide variety of trucks and owners. The top award went to Jacob Neuenschwander for his 2004 Dodge Ram.
With event number 14 in the books, all that’s left is to look forward to event number 15. We’re sure it will be even bigger and better. If you’re within driving distance of Bowling Green, you owe it to yourself to make it to this celebration.
| The Diesel Service funny car (right) was wicked and clearly had lots of power, but it never did hook up enough
to put down a run worthy of the vehicle. The competition was fierce all day long, with plenty of classes and
brackets to suit just about everyone.
| The Scheid Diesel dragster ran in the mid-6s at nearly 220 mph.
That will get your attention.
| DieselSite.com was showing off its
new transmission. It’s a stout piece
with a coast clutch (exhaust brakes
put extra stress on the coast clutch),
full snap rings, full roller bearings,
more clutch plates, and lots more.