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Diesel Power Challenge 2019 Competitor Steven Lucero - #DPC2019

Crewmembers’ Knowledge and Experience May Be the Advantage

John Lehenbauer
Jul 8, 2019
Steven Lucero is co-owner of and light-duty diesel-engine specialist at Black Diamond Diesel Performance and Fab in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
During high school, he devoted all his time to playing baseball. But, in addition to playing ball, Steven also developed an interest in diesels after receiving his '06 Dodge Ram graduation gift. The truck was completely stock and had roughly 130,000 miles on it. Modifications began slowly, but improved performance is what Steven had in mind: "I started with simple box tuners and upgrades like air intakes, exhaust, and such."
After receiving a B.S. from New Mexico State University, Steven had a big decision to make: "Either pursue a job in my field of study or follow my heart and hobby—diesel performance," he explains. So, in March 2018, Steven and his brother Eric opened Black Diamond Diesel Performance and Fab.
Photo 2/18   |   DPC2019 Competitor Steven Lucero Team
"Eric is my right-hand man and a very good fabricator and technician," Steven continues. "We work very well together and, as of April 2019, with business picking up, we moved to a larger location to better suit our needs and hired extra help to aid in our increased workload."
Over the years, bigger injectors and larger turbochargers have been added to the Dodge, along with supporting modifications such as valvetrain, cylinder-head, and transmission upgrades. The bottom end of the engine remains completely untouched and has held up to the power surprisingly well. To date, the truck has gone through three different fuel setups and five forced-air configurations.
Photo 3/18   |   DPC2019 Competitor Steven Lucero Engine
In addition to adding power, Steven also addressed the weak links in the truck's drivetrain. "Once I found a reliable transmission from Firepunk Diesel and upgraded my two-piece driveshaft to a one-piece aluminum version, the truck has been nothing but awesome," he continues.
Prior to getting the news that he could potentially be competing in Diesel Power Challenge 2019 Presented by XDP, Steven's truck was equipped with a single T6 76/96/1.15 turbocharger from Forced Inductions, 200-percent-over Exergy Performance injectors, Exergy's 10mm stroker CP3 injection pump, and a Firepunk Comp 2 transmission.
Photo 4/18   |   DPC2019 Competitor Steven Lucero Turbo
Right before DPC, the engine suffered a cracked cylinder head, so Steven replaced the stock piece with a fire-ringed, street-performance head from Industrial Injection.
"We were back and forth about keeping the setup just the way it appeared in the magazine's voting issue or changing it up," Steven continues. After much thought they decided to upgrade the turbo scheme. Ditching the single 76mm 'charger, the team went with a 72mm over an 88mm compound setup to hopefully get an edge over the altitude they will face as well as other competitors running compound systems. The nitrous-oxide system and plumbing locations were also upgraded.
"Getting the call from KJ informing me I was selected as a competitor for DPC was both stressful and exciting at the same time," Steven says. "It is certainly going to be an experience."
Photo 5/18   |   DPC2019 Competitor Steven Lucero Front
"As we move forward into the competition, I feel I have crafted a well-rounded set of crewmembers who bring plenty of knowledge and experience to the table. This is going to be a team effort, and it can certainly be anyone's game in the end," Steven says. "We will definitely enter this competition with some precaution, as we want to play it smart but also be as competitive as possible while representing the Dodge Ram and Cummins crowd well. I feel I will be able to excel in the drag racing portion, since I have a lot of experience (racing in the former NHRDA circuit)."
He also feels confident about the dyno segment, having some experience running the truck on the rollers. As for the trailer tow, cone course, and sled pull, they will certainly be a challenge; the truck has never been hooked to a sled and hasn't towed a trailer in years.
"We will certainly give it our best shot and look forward to this challenge!"
Photo 6/18   |   DPC2019 Competitor Steven Lucero Interior
Build Sheet
Year/Make/Model: '06 Dodge Ram 2500
Owner: Steven Lucero
Hometown: Las Cruces, New Mexico
Odometer: 217,000 miles
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6, stock rotating assembly, Industrial Injection street-performance fire-ringed cylinder head, 95-pound performance valvesprings, Hamilton Cams extreme-duty pushrods, ARP 625 cylinder-head studs
ECM Tuning: EFILive with tuning by Ryan Milliken at Hardway Performance and Gordon Lindamood at GL Tuning Solutions
Fuel: FASS Fuel Systems 260-gph lift pump, Exergy Performance 10mm stroker and stock Duramax LBZ CP3 injection pumps, Exergy 200-percent-over injectors, 5.9L rail, 6.7L rpm sensor
Air: Compound turbochargers by Forced Inductions (88/96/1.32 over a 72/87/1.0), On3 Performance intercooler
Exhaust: 5-inch hood stack
Transmission: Firepunk Diesel Comp 3 transmission, Diesel Performance Converters quad-disc torque converter
Lubricants: Amsoil 15W-40 diesel engine oil, ATF, and Severe Gear 75W-140 gear oil
Horsepower: 1,150 hp
Torque: 1,800 lb-ft
Tires: 305/50/R20 Toyo Tires Proxies
Wheels: 20x10 KMC XD Grenades
Suspension: Lowered front and rear, Bilstein shocks, Calvert Racing CalTracs traction bars, Top Gun Customz HD control arms
Axles: 3:73 gears

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