Rocky Top Diesel Shootout 6
Great Racing + Great Weather = Perfect Weekend!
Bad weather has adversely affected most of the major diesel events during the 2019 season, with rain falling and storms raging before, during, and after many of them. Promoters, racers, vendors, and spectators have grown accustomed to seeking shelter at some point during an event to wait out a storm or two. In the weeks preceding RLC Motorsports' sixth annual Rocky Top Diesel Shootout, eastern Tennessee experienced extreme weather, with temperatures in the high 90s accompanied by high humidity and several thunderstorms, so it looked like we wouldn't get a break from the weather that's haunted diesel drag racing thus far in 2019. Then, as the days drew closer, the forecast began to show lower temperatures in the low- to mid-80s with mostly sunny skies.
When race day came around on Friday July 26, the forecast held true and the diesel community was treated to the best weather we have seen for a major diesel event in years, with mostly clear skies and highs in the mid-80s! Over the weekend, around 5,000 spectators enjoyed great side-by-side drag racing as well as the chance to check out some of the best rigs in the region during the show-'n'-shine competition. Manufacturer representatives and shop staff were on hand to answer questions and demonstrate the latest and greatest diesel-performance products. The crowds were also entertained by Jesse Toler and Dale Kiesgen as they performed thrilling motorcycle stunt shows up and down the dragstrip between rounds on each day.
The RLC Motorsports crew even had something fun on tap for the kids—a foot race down the track on Friday night, but with a unique twist: The track was scattered with $1 bills, giving the kids a chance to run for the win or pick up cash on the way. They ran fast and went for the cash, with some coming away with a handful of green.
Friday afternoon and evening featured test-'n'-tune passes as well as two rounds of qualifying for the Outlaw Diesel Super Series Pro Classes, including Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index, Hot Shot's Secret Pro Street, SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod, and Flo-Pro Performance Exhaust Pro Dragster. In addition to the standard qualifying rounds, the Gas vs. Diesel Quick 8 Shootout invitational race ran two qualifying rounds as well as eliminations throughout the night, culminating in a Gas vs. Diesel (and Ford vs. Chevy) final round with Beau Hugeley's Ford Fox Mustang gasser paired against Larson Miller's Cummins-powered Chevrolet S-10. Larson put down a few quick passes earlier in the evening to qualify well, but the truck smacked the wheelie bars, which unloaded the chassis and spun the tires off the line, while Beau's Mustang hooked up and ran a 4.44-second e.t. for the win.
ODSS events typically have at least one diesel-powered dragster blasting down the track in the Flo-Pro Performance Exhaust Pro Dragster Class, but that wasn't the case at Crossville Dragway. After his burnout in the Scheid Diesel Motorsports dragster, Jared Jones lined up to launch down the track for qualifying, but the stout Cummins engine was too much for the transmission's internals, putting Jared out of the running for the weekend. We know the Scheid team won't be down for long and expect to see the rail blasting down the track once again at Scheid Diesel Extravaganza in August.
Mindy Jackson qualified with a perfect 5.90-second pass in Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index, setting the standard for a wild weekend of multiple drivers hitting their index and/or dial-in in qualifying and elimination rounds.
The gates opened Saturday morning to flood both sides of the track, with spectators as well as a vendor alley that stretched nearly the entire length of the raceway. Around 40 show-'n-shine competitors staged their beautiful rigs along the far side of the track. This year, judging was handled by the show-'n'-shine participants, with each one picking their favorite trucks to determine the peer-judged Best Dodge, Best Ford, Best GM, Best Other, and Best of Show rather than just a popular vote among the spectators or industry judges. Kyle Bennett's huge Ford F-250 took home the Best of Show honors while Ryan Cranford's classic Dodge D350 dualie won Best Dodge, Tyler Williams' F-350 dualie won Best Ford, Lisa Goode's lifted GMC Sierra Denali won Best GM, and Brad Killmon's Cadillac Escalade won Best Other.
Saturday's racing action included the third round of qualifying for the Pro Classes as well as two rounds of qualifying for the JAMO Performance Exhaust E.T. Bracket, ATS Diesel Performance/Diesel Power Magazine 7.70 Index, and Maryland Diesel Performance 6.70 Index Classes. With approximately 140 racers hitting the track, the action was nearly constant, except for a late afternoon cleanup in the shutdown lane. Fortunately, there were no wrecks on the track and very little breakage during the weekend. Throughout the day, Jesse and Dale brought the crowd to their feet twice with motorcycle stunt shows ending with colorful bike-to-bike tandem burnouts after various wheelies, stoppies, and all kinds of variations on their bikes. Dale even stunted on a Harley-Davidson!
In every class, the crowds were entertained with great side-by-side drag-racing action down the concrete eighth-mile Crossville Dragway. Once again, JAMO Performance Exhaust E.T. Bracket was the largest eliminator of the weekend, with 52 vehicles racing for the win.
The second largest class of the event was ATS Diesel Performance/Diesel Power Magazine 7.70 Index, in which 43 drivers battled for class supremacy. At least three perfect 7.70 e.t. 's lit the scoreboard during eliminations, along with other passes that were within a tenth of a second against the index. The Maryland Diesel Performance 6.70 Index Class was also healthy, with nearly 30 entries laying down quick passes in head-to-head competition. The Pro Classes featured 24 of the best diesel rigs running for the big prize purse and the honor of earning an ODSS event win. Low 4-second passes were a common occurrence in SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod, while low 5-second blasts were seen in the Hot Shot's Secret Pro Street Class.
Racing wrapped up around 7 p.m., with champions crowned in each ODSS Class, including first-time winner Mindy Jackson in Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index. Mindy beat Rick Fox to the stripe with both a quicker e.t. and better reaction time. Tennessee native Corey Smith ruled in the JAMO Performance Exhaust E.T. Bracket category, defeating Ryan Riddle in a double breakout final round. In the ATS Diesel Performance/Diesel Power Magazine 7.70 Index Class, Devin Ratliff took home the win over Nick Morris. Nathan Wheeler won the Maryland Diesel Performance 6.70 Index Class. In the Hot Shot's Secret Pro Street eliminator, Johnny Gilbert continued his winning ways, this time defeating Josh Scruggs. The quickest and fastest diesel runs of the weekend were turned in by the teams competing in SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod, in which low- to mid 4-second passes were common. Rawlings Barnes won the Ford vs. Chevy (Cummins-powered) battle in the final round, besting current Pro Mod record holder Larson Miller to take the win. While Cummins- and Power Stroke-motivated trucks took home First Place hardware, the Duramax crowd was locked out of the top positions in all the classes.
BDS Suspension Show-'n'-Shine Results:
Best In Show Kyle Bennett '17 Ford F-250
Best Dodge Ryan Cranford '92 Dodge D350
Best Ford Tyler Williams '18 Ford F-350
Best GM Lisa Goode '15 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD
Best Other Brad Killmon '16 Cadillac Escalade
Drag Race Results
|JAMO Performance Exhaust ET Bracket||NAME||HOMETOWN||BRAND||E.T.||MPH||DIAL|
|Winner||Corey Smith||Dandridge, TN||'03 Dodge 2500||11.33||57.11||11.35|
|Runner-Up||Ryan Riddle||Bellefontaine, OH||'07 Dodge 2500||7.65||86.56||7.70|
|ATS Diesel Performance/Diesel Power 7.70 Index||NAME||HOMETOWN||BRAND||E.T.||MPH|
|Winner||Devin Ratliff||Red Rock, OK||'05 Dodge 2500||7.76||83.94|
|Runner-Up||Nick Morris||Goshen, OH||'05 GMC 2500||7.82||89.34|
|Maryland Diesel Performance 6.70 Index||NAME||HOMETOWN||BRAND||E.T.||MPH|
|Winner||Nathan Wheeler||Austin, TX||'10 Ford F-250||6.78||98.58|
|Runner-Up||Ray Ross||Bastrop, TX||'06 Chevy 2500||6.67||104.05|
|Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index||NAME||HOMETOWN||BRAND||E.T.||MPH|
|Winner||Mindy Jackson||Flooresville, TX||'94 Ford F-150||5.92||114.97|
|Runner-Up||Rick Fox||Galloway, OH||'00 Dodge 2500||5.95||117.59|
|Hot Shot's Secret Pro Street||NAME||HOMETOWN||BRAND||E.T.||MPH|
|Winner||Johnny Gilbert||Middlebury, IN||'01 Dodge 2500||5.25||145.49|
|Runner-Up||Josh Scruggs||Timberville, VA||'06 Dodge 2500||5.47||136.78|
|SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod||NAME||HOMETOWN||BRAND||E.T.||MPH|
|Winner||Rawlings Barnes||Burlington, NC||'08 Ford F-250||4.62||153.95|
|Runner-Up||Larson Miller||Plain City, OH||'00 Chevrolet S-10||10.91||47.79|
|Quick 8 Shootout (non-ODSS Gas vs. Diesel)||NAME||HOMETOWN||BRAND||E.T.||MPH|
|Winner||Beau Hugeley||St. Mary's, GA||Ford Mustang||4.44||160.83|
|Runner-Up||Larson Miller||West Jefferson, OH||'00 Chevrolet S-10||7.93||62.02|