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Rocky Top Diesel Shootout 6

Great Racing + Great Weather = Perfect Weekend!

Chris Tobin
Sep 18, 2019
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.
Photo 2/129   |   Mindy Jackson had a great weekend in her Cummins-powered '94 Ford F-150 Lightning, going round after round in the Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index Class on the way to her first Outlaw Diesel Super Series event win.
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.
Photo 3/129   |   Mindy Jackson (Amsoil lane) launches her Cummins-powered '94 Ford F-150 Lightning hard off the line on the way to her first Oulaw Diesel Super Series final round win in the Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index Class, defeating Rick Fox and his '00 Dodge Ram 2500.
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!
Photo 4/129   |   Johnny Gilbert is making plenty of power in his Hot Shot's Secret Pro Street four-wheel-drive '01 Dodge Ram 2500.
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.
Photo 5/129   |   Bobby Dodrill really entertained the crowds with all-wheel-drive burnouts in the gas-burning supercharged big-block Miss Misery drag truck.
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.
Photo 6/129   |   The kids' race was a "dash for cash" this year, with dollar bills strewn about the dragstrip, making the kids choose between stopping and picking up cash or running the race all out.
Photo 7/129   |   006 Rocky Top Diesel Shootout 6 Kids Race P
Photo 8/129   |   Everyone was looking forward to a grudge race between the two fastest and quickest diesel-powered door slammers, but the race didn't live up to the hype. Ryan Milliken and his '66 Chevrolet Nova easily took the win over Larson Miller, who's '00 Chevy S-10 spun the tires off the line.
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
Photo 9/129   |   Larson's rig had much better traction during the Quick 8 Gas vs. Diesel Final round, but it was no match for Beau Hugeley's gasser Ford Mustang. Beau's winning 4.44-second blast gave the gassers another win over the diesel field.
Photo 10/129   |   Saturday's crowd was even better than Friday, with full grandstands and spectators lining both sides of the dragstrip.
Drag Race Results
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

Vendor Alley was packed all weekend, with diesel enthusiasts checking out the latest and greatest products from the best shops and manufacturers in the performance industry.

Photo 14/129   |   Rawlings Barnes had a great weekend running low 4-second passes on Friday and Saturday in the SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod Class.
Photo 15/129   |   Michael Dalton got the jump on Josh Scruggs and looked poised to take the win in the First round of Hot Shot's Secret Pro Street eliminations. That win wasn't to be, as Josh pulled around him at the stripe to put the RLC Motorsports truck out of the running early in the day.
Photo 16/129   |   Daniel Pierce got very loose with his Cummins-powered Mustang but stayed in the throttle and drove it out to the win over a struggling Ben Shadday in the far lane.
Photo 17/129   |   016 Rocky Top Diesel Shootout 6 Pierce Loose P
Photo 18/129   |   Mindy Jackson was unstoppable in the Outlaw 5.90 Index Class, taking out truck after truck.
Photo 19/129   |   The Rocky Top Diesel Shootout 6 BDS Suspension-sponsored Show-'n'-Shine crowd was deep, with more than 40 trucks on display. Peer judging was used to determine the winners, rather than a simple popularity contest as we have seen at some events.
Photo 20/129   |   Kyle Bennett won the Best of Show award for his massive '17 Ford F-250 with its custom Stryker Off Road Design suspension setting it high above the crowd.
Photo 21/129   |   Ryan Cranford took home the Best Dodge award for his slick-looking, lowered, two-wheel-drive '92 D350 dualie.
Photo 22/129   |   Best Ford honors went to Tyler Williams for his ruby red '18 F-350 dualie rolling on massive 10-lug American Force wheels.
Photo 23/129   |   Lisa Goode's '15 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali won the Best GM award for its amazing attention to detail and good looks under the hood as well as on the chassis.
Photo 24/129   |   Dale Kiesgen can put this big Harley-Davidson on one wheel without hesitation.
Photo 25/129   |   Jesse Toler got up close and personal with our photographer during the afternoon stunt show.
Photo 26/129   |   Dale and Jesse finished off the stunt show with a cool red-and-blue burnout!
Photo 27/129   |   Adam Doan came out on the good side of this pair of perfect e.t.'s by crossing the line first in his '72 Ford F100. The perfection happened during eliminations in the ATS Diesel Performance/Diesel Power Magazine 7.70 Index Class.
Photo 28/129   |   In a bit of an ironic twist, Artie Maupin was behind the wheel of Hot Shot's Secret's Chevrolet tow rig when he eliminated Trey Sikes' Hot Shot's Secret-sponsored BMW 335d in the JAMO Performance Exhaust E.T. Bracket Class.
Photo 29/129   |   Later, in the E.T. Bracket final round, Corey Smith literally looked back at Ryan Riddle as Ryan waited patiently for his green light to come on. Corey took home the win and the prize money at the stripe, with Ryan breaking out.
Photo 30/129   |   Devin Ratliff used a quick reaction time and lower e.t. to win the ATS Diesel Performance/Diesel Power Magazine 7.70 Index final round over Nick Morris and his GMC.
Photo 31/129   |   In the final round of the Maryland Diesel Performance 6.70 Index Class, Nathan Wheeler (in a Ford) defeated fellow Texan Ray Ross (driving a Chevy).
Photo 32/129   |   Mindy Jackson (wheels up in the far lane) dominated the field of Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index trucks, taking a final-round win over Rick Fox by having a better reaction time and quicker e.t.
Photo 33/129   |   The Hot Shot's Secret Pro Street Final round pitted two four-wheel-drive Dodge Ram trucks in a head-to-head battle. Johny Gilbert's '01 defeated Josh Scruggs' '06 to take home the top prize.
Photo 34/129   |   Rawlings Barnes defeated Larson Miller in the SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod Final, a classic Ford vs. Cummins-powered Chevy battle.
Photo 35/129   |   Outlaw Diesel Super Series Class winners lined up with their trucks for a group picture after the race.


Outlaw Diesel Super Series
RLC Motorsports