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NHRDA 2016 Diesels on the Mountain: Dominating the Dragstrip

The NHRDA Brings Drag Racing to Colorado

Jason Sands
Jun 22, 2016
Photographers: Jason Sands
When it comes to heavy-duty diesel power, the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) is a one-stop venue for everything diesel. To get an up-close glimpse at what the NHRDA had to offer, we stopped by its Morrison, Colorado, Diesels on the Mountain race at Bandimere Speedway. There was a vendors’ row, a show-’n’-shine area, and also a dragstrip, where trucks of all shapes and sizes could make their way down the track. While drivers with trucks quicker than 13.99 seconds in the quarter-mile needed to wear a helmet, no other major safety equipment is needed until 11.49, which means even the most powerful show trucks were able to make some passes on the track.
The most popular class in the NHRDA is the Sportsman Class, in which virtually anyone can compete. The class is also a bracket class, which means competitors guess what they think they’ll run and that time is written on their window. Run as close to your guess as you can without going under and get to the finish line first, and you win. If you run quicker than your guesstimation (called a dial-in), you lose—unless the other competitor leaves before the green (called a red light) or runs quicker than his or her dial-in by a larger margin (called a break-out). This means a 15-second truck would get a 3-second head start versus a 12-second truck, theoretically making the finish line even. With this kind of pairing, even stock trucks with huge lifts could compete successfully, provided they got their dial-ins close.
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The next class up is the 11.90 Index (called Super Diesel), which means you run as close to 11.90 as possible without going under. When we’re talking about an 11.90-second quarter-mile, we’re talking about a pretty fast vehicle. Even the Shelby GT350R, which starts at about $65,000, can only manage a 12.1 stock—and it doesn’t come with four doors or a bed. Still, there were a few brave diesel enthusiasts who took on the 11.90 Class, in both lifted and lowered trucks, and did quite well. The next two classes up are 10.90 and Super Street, which usually requires a pretty dedicated race truck effort. Super Street saw Anthony Reams go as quick as 9.22 seconds at 153 mph in his 6,000-pound XDP-sponsored drag truck, which means he’s putting down about 1,500 hp to the rear wheels! An impressive competitor at the other end of the spectrum was Rick Fenwick, who shifted his 13-speed transmission to low 15-second times in the Big Rig Bracket Class.
As the sun started setting, the weekend came to a close, and the champions were crowned. By the tired smiles, it was clear a good time was had by all, whether they competed in the show ’n’ shine, braved the dragstrip, or just spectated. If you were in Colorado, Bandimere was the place to be on the NHRDA’s race weekend. With hundreds of diesel enthusiasts competing and thousands in attendance, there was definitely something for everyone up on the mountain.
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NHRDA Race Results:
Pro Stock:
Jarid Vollmer ’41 Willys 7.46 seconds at 185.41 mph
Pro Street:
Matt Kubick ’05 Ford Ranger 9.34 seconds at 151.56 mph
Super Street:
Anthony Reams ’95 Dodge Ram 2500 9.22 seconds at 153.82 mph
10.90 Index Class:
Ray Ross ’06 Chevy Silverado 11.15 seconds on a 10.90 dial-in
11.90 Index Class
Verlon Southwick ’06 GMC 2500 11.98 seconds on an 11.90 dial-in
Sportsman Champion
Arik Frost ’94 Dodge Ram 2500 12.56 seconds on a 12.52 dial-in
Hot Rod Semi
Jim Disher ’71 Kenworth 15.61 seconds at 93.49 mph
Big Rig Bracket
Rick Fenwick ’97 Peterbilt 20.83 seconds on a 16.40 dial-in
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The National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) focuses on competitions of all kinds, whether it’s drag racing, sled pulling, or the show ’n’ shine. The pits were full of GMs, Fords, and Rams of all shapes and sizes, including this silver, lifted Ford/Dodge pair.
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The owner of this Ford got high marks on creativity for turning the front emblem of his ride into a tribute to both Ford and Colorado.
Some of the show ’n’ shine competitors decided to try their hand at drag racing. With a large set of compound turbos, this Ford ran a blazing 117 mph in the quarter-mile, indicating an impressive 900 to 1,000 hp to the rear tires.
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Not all the trucks in Colorado were over the top. Some subtle color-matching, BMF wheels, and 35-inch tires gave this Ram an oh-so-clean look.
Into old iron? This unfinished older Chevy was turning heads, especially when spectators heard the 6.6L Duramax diesel fire up!
If you're an inline-six fan, this older Ford with a Cummins (also known as a “Fummins”) was bound to attract your attention. Other than the swap (which appeared to be a body swap), the engine looked relatively stock.
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Not all show trucks were content to sit around the truck show area—some hit the strip! Scott McKinstry's lowered Duramax-powered ride proved that two-wheel drives can be fast, too, by running in the low 12s at more than 110 mph.
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In addition to the show trucks, there were a number of drag trucks in attendance, like Anthony Reams' XDP-sponsored Dodge, which ran a 9.22 at 153 mph in the quarter-mile! For a heavy diesel, that's crazy fast.
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If you're a fan of eight lugs, how about 10? Rick Fenwick's semi was on hand, where it ran consistent low 15-second passes, at about 94 mph. Prior to the event, he had the compound-turbo Detroit Diesel truck on the dyno, where it put down a whopping 1,270 hp.
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In addition to the new rides and swaps, there were some clean older trucks, too, like this old-body-style (OBS for short) Ford, which was leveled and had a clean two-tone paintjob.
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We saw a number of different exhaust options at the NHRDA event. There were hood stacks, bed stacks, and the ever-popular chrome bull hauler stacks, which are a sure way to get noticed.
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Some diesel owners kept things more understated. The exhaust on this Dodge dumped right behind the rearend, which adds some extra bling to the underside of the truck.
The show ’n’ shine winner was Mark Vecellio, who was running a prototype 12-inch lift from Bulletproof Suspension on his truck. Combined with some aggressive 40-inch tires and numerous exterior modifications, Mark's Dodge was a hard truck to beat and came away with the well-deserved win.
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Just because a truck is lifted doesn't mean it's not fast. Here J.D. Gleason's lifted Ford takes on a full race Duramax! The big Blue Oval managed a time of 11.98 seconds at 116 mph.
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As the drags went on, we were able to glimpse another fast Ford, and quite a sleeper. This Platinum-edition F-250 stormed down the quarter-mile in 12.75 seconds at 105 mph.

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