A modified engine-management computer, allowing the engine to be tailored for street and salt conditions, controls fuel delivery. Unlike some vehicles that pursue speed records using a potent brew of fuel, the Banks Sidewinder Dakota swills ordinary No. 2 diesel from a truck stop. Banks is proud to note that Project Sidewinder used "no swamp gas, no laughing gas; I'll kick your ass on straight diesel."
For shifting duties, Banks went with a New Venture Gear six-speed manual transmission. While it had been thoroughly blueprinted by New Venture technicians, it was filled with stock ratios, from a 5.63 for first gear to 0.73 for sixth. Robust, it tipped the scales at 300 pounds, but it handled Bonneville duties flawlessly.
On the dyno, the 5.9-liter straight-six turbodiesel punched out 735 horsepower as well as more than 1300 lb-ft of torque. During the development stage, Banks figured this was sufficient to break the 200-mph barrier, a first with a diesel pickup truck. With his extensive background in pursuing elevated speeds, he knew that a proper aerodynamic package was essential to maximizing the engine's output. A front air dam was designed, clearing the salt by only one inch with race tires. To the airstream, a rigid, flush tonneau cover acted like a fastback, helping minimize parasitic drag. The result, driver Don Alexander noted, was a remarkably stable vehicle. "There's enough to concentrate on heading down the salt. Driving a vehicle that isn't trying to kill me makes breaking a speed record a lot easier."
Stability at speed is helped with a fitment of an unequal A-arm front suspension, using Grand National hubs and spindles, along with coil-over shocks. Aiding in high-speed stability is the four-link rear suspension with a Watts Linkage. Essentially a NASCAR piece, it allowed Alexander to get the power down, despite the inherently slick conditions on the Bonneville Salt Flats.