The Lone Star state welcomes the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) with open arms. There must have been a lot of pent up desire for a diesel event because there was still a line to get into the gate at 12 pm; that’s 4 hrs after it opened. Recently, the Texas weather has been making it quite difficult for promoters. There have been a number of cancelled events due to rain and it was a welcome sight to see the weather report showing no rain Saturday!
“We have over 2000 tickets pre-sold,” said Randy Cole, President of the NHRDA, Friday night. As Saturday rolled around, people just came out in droves. Even as late as 5 pm after drag racing had ended there were people still showing up. At that time, over 5,000 people had come to see what turned out to be quite an event filled day.
Friday, after an eventful trip down from Marego, Illinois, the guys at Dan’s Diesel Performance were happy to just set up their dyno. Midway down from IL they cracked a piston on their tow truck. Thanks to a friend of a friend, they were able to borrow a truck and make it the rest of the way. To their surprise, they ended up getting pulled over when they entered Texas because the truck they borrowed had farm plates and they were running a personal load…long story short, they were happy to have made it and were ready for a busy Saturday. By 9am, they had a line of trucks ready to run the rollers and they were off to the races. By the time we left at 11 pm, they were still rolling trucks! All said and done, they rolled just over 60 trucks with the biggest horsepower truck belonging to Ronnie Pene. His ’08 Ram 2500 truck laid down an impressive 985 horsepower and 1649 ft-lbs of torque.
In the pits, racers were excited as for many of them, this marked the start of their season. Only a hand few of the competitors had been able to compete in an earlier race. There were quite a few that weather had kept them parked and even more that were just finishing their winter upgrades. One of the quickest guys around, John Robinson with his Power Services diesel powered funny car was excited for their season to start. They just upgraded to a new Scheid Diesel billet 5.9 Cummins engine and they are chomping at the bit to break into the 6’s.
Last weekend, they were making their first shake down passes trying to make their debut a personal best for them. Robinson’s personal best was 7.40 at 188 mph. This year, the team is trying something new. They are actually running two different bodies. They have their standard Funny Car body that they have been running for a few years and a new ’48 Fiat Topolino body. They both use the same chassis but with NHRA rules, they are in two different classes. Robinson runs Super Comp with the funny car body, but he can run top dragster with the Topolino.
During the testing the previous weekend, they were running the new Topolino! After a lot of learning, they were confident they were going to be able to make quite a debut. Sure enough, by the time all was said and done, Robinson and the entire Power Services crew managed to run a 7.12 at 191.24 mph with the Funny Car body. This is not only an ET best but, also, a MPH best for the crew. Our prediction is that the next event they attend, they will break into the 6’s. So, stay tuned for an exciting year of racing to come out of the Power Services camp.
For the MBRP Pro Stock team, they were working with their new driver Ryan Milliken. While they were the only Pro Stock diesel to show up in in this class, they did put on quite a show for the fans. Perhaps not the show Milliken had intended. In the final round of competition, Milliken did his burnout to get the tires warm. Then he lined up at the line and pre-staged, got her spooled up, and inched forward to stage. The lights dropped and Milliken let off the brake and to Milliken’s surprise, “the steering wheel actually him me in the face.” Luckily, Milliken has quick reflexes and got on the brakes as quickly as he could. While no apparent damage was caused to the truck, we are sure this one will be brought up around the drinking table for years. Milliken was able to redeem himself with the NHRDA’s ok, by re-running his final pass and laid down an 8.89 at 151.05 mph.
In Pro Street, Jarid “Ironman” Vollmer continued Bully Dog’s dominance taking another victory for them. While they were still figuring out a new transmission setup, Vollmer was able to take the victory home in the finals with a 8.96 at 153.81mph run. Luckily, the final round was a bye for Vollmer because while warming up the tires, the parachute popped. Since it was a solo run, the NHRDA allowed Vollmer to roll the truck back and repack the shoot while other classes ran.
In Super Street it was an all TSD finals as Chris Buhidar co-owner of Truck Source Diesel (TSD) was lined up against custom Randy Strey in his 2006 Dodge 2500. Buhidar in his 2000 F-350 powered by a compound 5.9 common rail bested Strey with a 10.42 at 134.14.
Super Diesel was a class packed full of entries. There was a number of times the NHRDA announcers mentioned how surprised they were at the number of 11.90 street trucks in Texas. After a number of rounds it was Joshua Harris in his 2006 Chevrolet Van that took home the victory over John Daffis in his 2012 Ram.
Sportsman, which is an ET class, featured a number of entries but it is a matter of consistency and skill at mind games to take home the victory. Trey Sikes in his 2010 Volkswagen TDI proved to be extremely skillful at both. Even his final competitor, Charlie Meaux said he didn’t want to run against him just before the final round. Sikes ran a 16.40 dial and ran a 16.40 pass with a .204 reaction time. That will take the victory almost every time.
After the drag racing was over and trophies were handed out, and before the sled pulling started was a burn out competition. After the smoke settled it was Jayson Rains in his Dodge Ram that won. He had gone to his local tire shop and got an old set of used tires he could burn off. Little did he know that he was actually literally going to burn rubber while doing his burnout. When the run was over, there was a nice size fire behind the truck from the rubber.
While all of the action was going on, there were over 30 trucks entered into the Show and Shine competition. There were a number of unique creations and killer customs. Kendall Brown in this Super Duty ended up taking the win thanks to a ton of attention to detail. Other notable rides were Phil Waddell’s ’77 12 valve Cummins powered Suburban, Daniel Chambers ’86 Extended Cab 3500 powered by a 12 valve, Robert Lawson’s 2012 Ram work truck and the list could go on and on. There were just a ton of beautiful rides. There were even a number not entered just on display in the show and shine.
NHRDA teamed up with the Texas Truck and Tractor Pulling Association (TTTPA) for this pulling part of this event. The TTTPA has two diesel classes (2.8 Super Street and Hot Farm tractor) and NHRDA has 2.6, 3.0 and Super Stock Diesel. In addition to these 5 diesel classes, the TTTPA, also, has Limited Modified Tractor, Econo Rod Tractor, Pro Stock 4×4 Truck, Pro Modified Tractor and Super Modified 2wd.
Between all of the classes, there were an estimated 60 pullers there to hook to the X factor sled. The Texas puller sure represented in the 2.6 class, taking home all podium places. Darvin Bradley in Half Breed took home the top spot with a pull of 310.04 feet. Close behind was Buck Hyndman in Ready 2 Rumble at 306.05 and Dan Vallance in The Farm Truck rounded out the group with a pull of 301.03 feet.
The next class to run was the 3.0 where the battle was between Joshua Deeter in Pullin’ To Please and Tom Hansen part of the Hybrid Pulling Team. Deeter took the victory with a pull of 326.11 feet over Hansen’s 288.03.
After the 3.0 class, the TTTPA’s Super Street (2.8) class was up. To many spectators surprise, many of the same pullers pulling in the 2.8 pulled in the 2.6 class. That is because the TTTPA pullers are getting ready to next year’s turbo size to drop down. So, many of them are actually already running a 2.6 turbo. Once again, it was Bradley, Hyndman and Vallance. This time, Hyndman took the top spot pulling 317.09 feet to Bradley’s 310.11 and Vallance’s 304.10.
The final NHRDA class was the Super Stock diesel. This class was an exciting class to watch. Brad Ingram started the class off with a pull of 290.06 foot pull. Then Brad Deeter in his new truck over powered the track and only managed a pull of 273.00 feet. The last to pull was Brad’s brother, Joshua Deeter (yes the same Deeter who won the 3.0 class) who just put it on everyone with another 326 foot pull to take home his second first place trophy of the night!
Rounding out the diesel classes was the guys in Hot Farm pulling with the TTTPA. John Link in Revvelation managed to outdo Clint Metting with a 304.04 foot pull. Metting in Bull Frogg pulled 301.09 and again in Bull Dozin Deere pulled 301.00.
While the TTTPA pulls continued well past midnight, the diesel event was over. It was an extremely exciting event. It was great to see and be part of it.
For the results of the remaining gasoline classes, be sure to visit TTTPA’s website. To see more images, be sure to check out our GALLERY below!