Rolling coal may no longer be legal on Colorado roadways, but the foothills just west of Denver were filled with the stuff on June 10. That’s because the National Hot Rod Diesel Association blew into town for Diesels on the Mountain.
This was just one of the events in the association’s 11-part Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Drag Racing Series. The NHRDA hit Bandimere Speedway bright and early for the extravaganza, sending environmentalists running for the hills and diesel fans basking in black smoke from dusk to dawn.
We were there first thing Saturday morning, and stayed through until dark, taking in all of the sights. There was something for everyone at Diesels on the Mountain.
On one side, we saw pristinely washed and waxed mall crawlers on 35s, lifted sky-high in the Show-n-Shine paddock. On the other, we watched squatted-out work trucks jet down the quarter-mile. It blew our minds to think that these rigs could still go that fast, after seemingly carrying any combination of lumber, farm implements, and tree branches all week long.
Of course, keeping anything in the truck was a big no-no. One thing that was stressed by event staff was clearing out all those pesky beer cans, two-by-fours and unsecured tools before hitting the burnout box and trying for best times down the quarter-mile strip.
While fans certainly got a kick out of the dozens of show vehicles on display, ranging from Volkswagen TDIs (yes, we’re serious) to Pimp My Ride-style semi trucks, the main attraction was certainly the full day of drag racing, showcasing everything from “stock” diesel trucks to high-horsepower diesel Pro-Stocks.
By the end of the day, Pro-Stocker Jarid Vollmer had taken top class honors in his MBRP-sponsored 1941 Willys with a fastest ET of 9.141 seconds. This was after fan favorite and number-one qualifier Richard Mead ran his 1932 Bantam into the catch barriers at the end of the track, ending his run for first.
Other standouts of the day included Philip Franklin, who won the Super Street category with a 9.349-second run in his 2006 Dodge; Jim Disher, who ran his 1971 Kenworth to a Big Rig Bracket win with a quarter-mile time of 15.645 seconds; and Mike Skinner, who ran (intentionally) a 22.196-second quarter mile to win the Pro Street category after Jon Jacobs of broke his 9.8-second, number-one qualifying 2006 Dodge. These times may all seem a bit high, but remember, Bandimere Speedway sits a whopping 5,800 feet above sea level!
As the drag racing segment of the day came to an end, award winners for the Show-n-Shine were announced in three categories, with Luis Chavez taking top honors for his immaculate 2016 Chevy 2500, Kelly Meisman taking top honors for his tricked-out 2001 Kenworth W900, and Jeremy Reuter taking top honors for his impressive 2006 Peterbilt.
Following the Show-n-Shine awards and the last few rounds of drag racing, it was on to the burnout contest. Multiple pickups hit the burnout box to see who could generate the most tire smoke. In the end, it was Joseph Lopez and his 2009 Dodge who filled both sides of Bandimere’s stadium seating with a billowy white fog like no other.
To finish out the day, spectators and racers alike moved to the north end of the complex, where a sled pull track had been made for the Diesels on the Mountain conclusion. From 6:30pm until well after the track lights took over, the sled pull was a sight to behold.
Fans hollered as trucks and farm tractors from Colorado, South Dakota, Utah and Nebraska pulled the sled to lengths of 140 to over 392 feet.
Of the four NHRDA Sled Pull Series classes, it was the Work Stock Class winner, Seth Baladez, who piloted his pull rig the furthest distance of 392.53 feet. Baladez was followed in length of pull by Limited Pro Stock Class Winner, Rocky Horn in “Southern Cumferdt” with a pull of 334.36 feet. Taking third overall and the win for the Pro Stock Class was Tom Hansen in “The Hybrid” with a pull of 320.88 feet, followed by 2.5 Class Winner, Eric Whitmarsh in “Strictly Business” with a pull of 308.84 feet.
Suffice it to say, it was an exciting day filled with immaculate show trucks, impressive race trucks, a whole lot of grunt, and of course, plenty of “Prius Repellent.” June 10th’s NHRDA Diesels on the Mountain will leave a mark on the 2017 show and race season like no other.
For more sights of the NHRDA Diesels on the Mountain, be sure to check out the photo gallery below!