NHRDA World Finals in Ennis, Texas was scheduled as a two-day battle between the top competitors in the nation. However, it ended up being a three-day battle between both the competitors and Mother Nature. While it went an extra round (Saturday/midday was rained out), ultimately, the competitors won out and we have new national and world champions. But, this wasn’t just your average race series final. There was a really special story happening during this race from a team that traveled half way around the world to come racing. Who you ask? A diesel team came all the way from Thailand to compete.
The Team From Thailand
The team from Thailand brought their Duramax powered tube-chassis truck over to see if they could break into the 7s with a 4-cylinder 3.0L Duramax. In order to participate, they first needed to obtain their NHRA license. So, Thursday before the race started, they went to a local track in Denton, the North Star Speedway, and started making passes to get their driver licensed.
Unfortunately, doing their first pass at about 8 p.m. the motor decided not to cooperate. Pulling the truck in to the overhang area of the concession stand, the team thrashed on the engine. Their goal was to do a complete motor swap. They got it completely pulled out, disassembled and the back-up engine that they brought with them back into the truck by 5 a.m. the next morning (using only hand tools). Still at the track, they lined back up and were making passes until 6 a.m., when the track finally closed.
During the three day event in Ennis, they managed to get licensed and make multiple low 8-second passes, but were unable to achieve their goal of reaching a 7-second pass. This was an extremely hard working and dedicated team. As if taking the 15,000-mile journey wasn’t hard enough, they actually put the truck together in 30 days, in order to be able to ship the truck here and make the race (international freight can take 30 to 60 days to arrive via ocean liner).
Motors TV, which broadcasts the NHRDA events live, reported that during the weekend, there were 15,000 people tuned in, most of which were from Thailand. This truly was a World Finals in the heart of the Lone Star State.
During the weekend, there were a few national records set. Wade Moody set a new Pro Stock ET and mph record of 7.46 at 184.74 mph and Jared Jones in the Scheid diesel dragster set a new ET record of 6.64 but their speeds were too far apart to back up. Pretty impressive for their new billet aluminum powered rail.
John Robinson took home the World Championship in Top Diesel, while Jared Jones just needed to qualify to bring home the National Championship. Wade Moody brought home the National and World Championship in Pro Stock Diesel. The battle for Pro Street was an interesting one as the finals pitted number one seat Philip Palmer up against number 2, Seth Sullivan. While Sullivan got the jump at the line, shortly after he experienced a problem and Team AirWerks (Palmer) ended up taking home the victory and their third World Championship. Jarid Vollmer set the world on fire this year when ran a 8.81 at 157.08 mph earlier this year and kept the pace up, winning the National Championship. In the Super Street class, it was a close race but Brian Spooner driving his 2002 GMC ended up bringing home the win with a run of 9.80 at 148.51 mph. Pat Liskey was a man who landed on the podium many times throughout the year and took home the National Championship.
For the ET class (Super Diesel and Sportsman), it was all about consistency. Texan, William Elligton, won over Ryan Dubois who ended up red lighting, for the victory in Super Diesel. Nick Adamson won the National Championship. Tyler Radewad driving his ’06 Duramax also brought home the win in Sportsman with a run of 13.45 sec on a 13.10 dial in, but it was Verlon Southwick who proved the most consistent by winning the National Championship.
In the dirt, the attitude was a little different. The NHRDA officials reported that there were 5 to 6 inches of rain Saturday and everyone was worried about the condition of the sled track. The grader said if he can make it across once, then they would be able to grade it and get the track prepped.
All of the officials and many spectators who were there early were holding their breathe as the grade made his first pass over the extremely sticky and slippery clay. To everyone’s relief, he made a full pass and it was going to be “game on” later in the day! As chances would have it, the track actually dried out a bit too much.
Many of the guys had a tough time getting enough grip because of how dry and packed down the track ended up. It was a really odd sight with standing water on one side of the sled track, sticky/slippery clay in front and back of the track and yet a dry and hard packed track is what the competitors had to face.
Van Haisley mentioned in passing to Randy Cole (President of the NHRDA) that it was so hard, he couldn’t get his poker even into the track. (A poker is something sled pullers use to test the denseness of a track, basically a thin metal rod some of them use to push into the track to see where the hard stuff is.) In the 2.6 class, Jim Greenway won the National Champion title but local, Gary Wolf, driving the Valiar Clutches “Farm Truck” brought home the World Title with a pull of 314 feet, beating out fellow local, Jeremiah Peek by a mere .07 feet.
In the 3.0 class, there was little contesting Curt Haisley as he took home the World Title, but Brad Ingram had the National Championship pretty much gift-wrapped even before arriving.
In the Super Modified, there were four veterans competing for the World Final. Talking to Brad Deeter (Pullin’ To Please) before the pull, he mentioned that the closest one of them lived 1,200 miles away, but they were happy to make the long haul to the Lone Star state to put on a good show. He was a little concerned with the amount of rain Saturday but, ultimately, things worked out as he brought home the National Championship and Van Haisley took home the World title by .07 feet over Kent Crowder.
It’s So Shiny
Unfortunately, the show and shine was cut short due to the weather. As the morning turned into midday, more and more trucks were entered into the show and shine contest, but as soon as the rain came through, it put an end to the show crowds. There were quite a few good looking trucks and it looked like it would have been a really close competition.
In The Pits
In the pits, the mood was still high during most of the event despite the weather turn. Even when the rain started to pour, spirits were kept high by camaraderie and friendly competition between teams. It was really nice to see large groups of competitors hanging out with one another and shooting the breeze. That is certainly one of the many things that makes diesel motorsports so much fun.
Another is the fact that the pits are open to spectators to walk through and talk with vendors and racers alike. This really gives people the ability to see what’s working and what’s not, get to know their favorite racers a little better and who knows, hopefully inspire the next generation of racers!
NHRDA had another amazing event this year with their World Finals series. From drawing competitors from around the world to record setting performances, there was a little something in it for everyone. Even the rain couldn’t tear this event apart. Droves of spectators returned on the third day to see how it all was going to play out, many of them spending their entire weekend at the track. We look forward to seeing it all unfold again next year – stay tuned for more up-to-the-minute event coverage right here on Diesel Army!
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