Thick, black smoke billowed across shiny asphalt and the smell of half-burned diesel and melting rubber filled the air. The roar of wide-open turbocharged V-8 and six-cylinder engines echoed into the stands at Salt Lake's Rocky Mountain Raceways. Early fans trickled in to watch the warmup runs where drivers would evaluate the track and determine their dial-in times.
Owners of modified Fords, GMCs, Chevrolets, and Dodges came to the annual Weekend on the Edge, and the Edge dyno competition held the following day at the company's Ogden, Utah, facilities. The competition was divided into three classes: Modified, Open, and Wide Open. Modified allows minor bolt-on improvements such as exhaust, air filters, intake and exhaust manifolds, injectors, and plug-in power chips. The basic fuel system and turbo remain stock. Open class can include aftermarket turbos, modified fuel-delivery systems, and injectors. Wide Open gets into major engine modifications, dual turbos, and alternative fuels such as methanol, nitrous oxide, and propane.
Just a few years ago, 13- and 14-second quarter-mile times were good. With today's technology, e.t. (elapsed times) of 11 and 12 seconds are common, with many top speeds well over 100 mph.
| Stacks may not increase your speed, but they sure make the truck look faster. Reaction time, the lapse in 100ths of a second between the instant Christmas-tree light turns green and the moment you trip the timing light, becomes critical.
Zane Koch, owner of Wide Open Performance in Sandy, Utah, noted that's pretty fast to move 6300 pounds of truck. His 1997 Ford F-350 runs two monster Bell Power Turbos pumping through a five-inch stack. The engine is fueled with a MagnaFuel by ITP through injectors by Industrial, and programmed by BTS. A BTS 4R100 transmission and a converter by Precision Industries put the horses to the wheels.
Adding NOS two-stage injection boosts rear-wheel horsepower to around 900 and torque to 1450 pound-feet. This is the world's quickest Power Stroke, with a record of 124 mph, finishing the quarter mile in 10.83 seconds. It retains a full factory body, stock dash and interior, and is still a street-legal daily driver. The boost runs between 110 and 112 psi. Despite some wheelhop problems getting off the line, this Super Duty turned in the best performance of the day, with an e.t. of 11.42 seconds and a speed of 122 mph.
Weekend on the Edge is an interesting type of drag competition called bracket racing. During initial warmup and qualifying runs, drivers decide the fastest elapsed time they think they can duplicate. For example, Jerred Mattingley, driving the Wide Open Performance truck, knew it was capable of 10.83 seconds, but given the conditions of the track and the day, his best time was 11.42. He entered a dial-in time of 11.00 seconds, which was written on his windshield. During competition, he would try to duplicate that time, but not any faster. The closer he could come to that 11-second time without going under it (faster), the better his chances to win. In this case, running faster than 11.00 (even a 10.9) would be "breaking out," which would result in an automatic loss. His reaction time, the lapse in hundredths of a second between the instant the Christmas-tree light turns green and the moment he trips the timing light, would be critical.
What all this boils down to is not just power and speed, but driver skill. To further complicate things, the timing lights are programmed to give each entry a handicap, based on their chosen dial-in time. This means that a really fast truck, like Jerred's, might have a green light on the Christmas tree of a second or two later than the guy next to him at the line. (Remember, he's trying to match that 11.00 e.t. without breaking out.) As he speeds down the track, he can see the timing board. Even if he knows he can easily pass the competition next to him, if he thinks that he will significantly beat his dial-in time, you'll see the brakelights come on before the end of the quarter mile.
As serious competition began, Kyle Dudley, in a 2001 Power Stroke, took top honors in the Wide Open class. Cliff Kano captured the prize in the Open class with a 2005 Dodge. In the Modified class, Karl Martin dominated the field in a 1999 Power Stroke. It was an exciting afternoon: Fords, Chevys, GMCs, and Dodge Rams continued to battle it out as a tangerine sunset faded behind a fluttering American flag.
By eight the next morning, trucks were already lining up for the Weekend on the Edge Dyno Day. Two of Edge's three dynamometers, a Mustang and a SuperFlow, were open to all diesel enthusiasts who wanted to test the performance of their machines. Dyno Day is a family event with a D.J., barbecue, show and shine, and some of the most amazing diesel trucks we've seen anywhere in the country.
Among the most impressive of the show machines was the awesome diesel dragster by Wide Open Performance, sporting a 7.3-liter Power Stroke engine, slightly modified--it uses four Bell turbos. Builder and driver Zane Koch hopes to take this 1200-horsepower rocket to a 6.9-second quarter mile at 200 mph.
Equally intriguing was Ken Jones' Wild Diesel sled-pulling 1942 Dodge WC53 weapons carrier. Its Cummins 5.9-liter diesel is topped by two huge turbos pumping up to 145 pounds of boost to produce 1350 horsepower on regular diesel, and it's street legal. The 50-caliber machine gun was optional.
Weekend on the Edge is not just about competition. It's a time when fellow diesel owners can lean over fenders and share information. While others were drooling over the exhibition trucks and munching on gourmet burgers, the Edge crew was running the two dynos like a well-oiled assembly line.
Mike Clunas turned in 542 horsepower in a 1999 Dodge to win the Open class, and Dave Sanders beat out Zane Koch with 971 horsepower in a 2007 Chevy for top honors in the Wide Open class. Many expected to see the Wide Open Performance Super Duty clean up, but Zane said they didn't strap it down tight enough, so it only reached 735 horses with the tires squealing. In the Modified class, Wayne Owen's 2003 Dodge reached 431 horsepower for the trophy.
We chatted with a few of the other truck owners to find out their formulas for power. Chris Hall brought his impressive Toxic Diesel Dodge 2006 2500 Mega Cab. The truck's 5.9-liter Cummins starts with twin HTB turbos, and ends with Aero Turbine mufflers and MBRP stacks. Along the way, fuel flows through DDP90 injectors controlled by Diablo. HM head studs hold things together. This is a 600-horsepower engine. All that power gets to 37-inch Toyo Open Country tires on RBP wheels by way of a custom Toxic Diesel RKL transmission and an ATS Five Star converter.
A Duramax that caught our eye was Mike Meyer's 2008 Chevy. Mike is in a wheelchair, the result of a car accident, but that doesn't dampen his love for fast trucks. The engine showed a respectable 470 horsepower and 934 pound-feet of torque on the Edge Dyno, thanks to an S&B intake, a Garrett turbo, and a custom Alligator exhaust system. Fueling is by PPE through Extrude Honed IDI injectors. Programming is custom by EFI. A Suncoast Stage 4 transmission and a Suncoast 1058 torque converter connect the engine to Dune Grabbers mounted on KMC Rockstar 20-inch wheels.
This two-day event was exciting for everyone. We'll look forward to next year's Weekend on the Edge, when diesel truck owners and their families can round up their incredible trucks and chat, compare, learn, and compete.