The Midwest: Diesel Land
We Know Where The Diesel Heartland Is
Have you ever wondered why diesel performance is so strong in the middle of our country? I'm here to tell you there's a reason for that. Rural America is often associated with agriculture, heavy equipment, and hard work-all of which is motivation enough to rely on the power of diesel and benefit from all of its advantages on a daily basis. So, logically, everyone equips themselves with diesel-powered trucks in order to get the job done. The result is an array of Fords, Dodges, and GMs that are not only used for work throughout the week, but become play toys on the weekend.
With that said, there is also a reason people bring their trucks from all over the country to this specific region twice a year. Whether you've been around diesel performance for a substantial amount of time or you're just getting into it, you know Scheid Diesel and TS Performance put on the two largest events our industry has to offer. It's not a coincidence that both competitions are located in our nation's heartland. Simply put, this is where diesel happens.
The names you hear every day, like Cummins, Duramax, Navistar, International, John Deere, and Caterpillar, are stationed here in diesel land. But this region isn't just full of engine, tractor, and equipment manufacturers-it's where some of the biggest names in diesel performance reside and even where Diesel Power is printed.
In Iowa, Empire Diesel Performance is busy supercharging diesels and solving the age-old spool-up issues with any modified Ford, Chevy, and Dodge you can think of, while Goerend Transmission is putting together some of the toughest Dodge transmissions money can buy (and I'm told it builds one heck of an Allison 1000 now, too).
Crossing over into Illinois, Hypermax possesses more than 40 years of experience in the tractor pulling game, extensive knowledge of any International mill under the sun, and some of the best parts available in the aftermarket. Hypermax is right next door to Navistar International, and it's no secret that it's had an insider's edge when it comes to improving the engines powering Ford trucks for the last 28 years. And, in the heart of the state, John Deere green and Caterpillar yellow products supply jobs not just within their immediate vicinity, but all across the globe.
Making our way east into Indiana, we begin picking up even more steam in the aftermarket with names like Scheid Diesel, Fleece Performance, South Bend Clutch, and sled pull central: Haisley Machine. And just south of Indy lies a very magical place: the Cummins MidRange Engine Plant (CMEP). It's where the 5.9L Cummins has been built since 1992, and where the 6.7L engine currently goes together.
Even further east, we end up in Ohio-one of the most diesel-saturated areas on Earth. In the southwest portion of the Buckeye State sits the Duramax engine plant in Moraine. Another big name, located in the center of the state, is Columbus Diesel Supply. Founded more than half a century ago, it is now the go-to place for the kind of injection components and mega-sized turbochargers many competitors in the extreme realm of diesel motorsports can't live without.
Columbus Diesel Supply originally started 200 miles away in Kentucky, which brings us slightly into the South-and to TS Performance. It's a business that not only helps to improve the agricultural and transportation industries Monday through Friday but also actively promotes diesel motorsports by walking the walk every weekend at the dragstrip. Ask any Pro Street drag racer if they've ever sought out TS Performance's expertise on their setup at one point or another-they all have.
Granted, there are hundreds of great diesel shops cranking it out day after day in the Midwest; these are just some of the heavy hitters we often look to for guidance, advice, answers, and arguably the best aftermarket components you can buy.
This is also why I've highlighted them on the map, which is serving as an outline of sorts for all the shops and manufacturers I plan to visit once I return to diesel land. Some of the shops I've been to, but many I haven't-and I can't wait to show all of you what they've been working on.