After months and months of waiting, the 2021 race season has officially started. After the 2020 year we had, on top of the dreaded winter months, I think we all needed that relief of some diesel motorsports. We wanted to smell the rubber burning, the fumes flying, and we wanted to hear those cars and trucks rip down the dragstrip.
Once again, the crews at both Epling Garage and True Street Diesel linked up and offered up a weekend of action-packed diesel chaos. Two heads of the event, Logan Epling and Montana Cherry, got this event rolling a few months back and wanted to bring everyone back to the vastly popular racetrack on the panhandle of Florida, Emerald Coast Dragway.
Just a few miles north of the Gulf, the Diesel’s On The Beach featured the E.T, 7.70 Index, 6.70 Index, Outlaw 5.90 Index, and Pro Street classes. Since we’re so early in the year, it is not uncommon for the turnout to be light, but the guys putting this on did a great job getting the event promoted anyhow. This Diesel’s On The Beach event, given its timing and location, looks to be one that will lock in its spot for a season opener for years to come.
With an $800 purse up for grabs, there were trucks cars of all shapes and sizes after the cash. As a matter of fact, I even saw a diesel-powered Ford Tempo. I didn’t even know they existed, but here we are. Not the most pleasant-looking vehicle ever, but hey, it’s a diesel and I can dig it. Among the bigger 3/4 and 1-ton trucks were a few diesel-powered sedans too.
Coming from more than 20 hours away in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Eric Lucero and the crew at Black Diamond Diesel Performance made it into the final round against Austin Dakota. Dakota was piloting a BMW sedan where he was chopping the tree down and managed to get have the closest race of the weekend in the final. After peeking at Lucero’s timeslip, it looks like he had the advantage at the stripe, and in an attempt to not break out, he threw out the anchor and gave it back to Dakota by .001-seconds. What a race.
Congratulations to Dakota on the victory and thanks to the Black Diamond team for making the trek all the way to Florida and seeing what this side of the world has to offer in terms of diesel drag racing. Stay tuned for the full feature on them and their truck very soon.
When 7.70 Index was called to the lanes, along with some of the E.T guys that doubled up in a chance at the money, David Beach was among them. His ruby-red 7.3-Liter Power Stroke was a needle in the Cummins-powered haystack and on top of that, he finished them off too. Beach was the last man standing in the 7.70 class.
Moving on to lighter and faster things, the 6.70 Index called for precision driving and dialed in setups if you were interested in winning the $1,600 prize. Since David Large was debuting his new truck in Outlaw 5.90, his known quad-cab flatbed Ram was up for grabs. Friend of Large, Dylan Moon, did great in dialing in the truck for the 6.70 class running dead on the number.
Just seconds later, class veteran Joel Armstrong, after a long offseason showed Moon, “I can too”. After the smoke settled, Armstrong went down and ran dead on the money 6.70 and edged Moon out of the number one spot in qualifying by only a few thousandths of a second. This was some tight racing and these guys look ready for the upcoming Outlaw Diesel Super Series season.
You guessed it, with the tight racing like it was, Armstrong and Moon battled it out in the final round where Armstrong took home the victory by what looked to be a reaction time advantage. When two trucks run exactly how they need to, the reaction time is everything. Congratulations to Joel on his victory. I am looking forward to seeing you both out on the track this summer!
Outlaw 5.90 Index
Ever since its inception in the Outlaw Diesel Super Series, the Outlaw 5.90 Index has become of of the hottest classes in diesel drag racing. It is the less powerful, but still professional, class. With that being said, the trucks it takes to compete in this class call for some funding. With that being said, it makes sense that the prize for this class was $2,000.
Class veteran Rod MacMaster had his work cut out for him with two new but lethal drivers in the class. David Large debuted his new to him shorty Ram with a healthy powerplant ready to compete. The other competitor in the class, Chris Hatzman, debuted his bright-blue Fummins build into the 5.90 class.
Hatzman struggled with getting the truck to stay planted to the racing surface, but you can tell this truck is a monster. Once he gets the bugs worked out, this truck will definitely be a contender. As for Large, his truck was ready. As a driver, he’s taking this weekend as a “practice run” learning the new things. Being used to a 6.70 index street truck, the transition over to essentially a race car with a bump box and a trans brake has will take time to learn.
Although it was close, it was MacMaster taking the victory over Large in the final round. The 5.90 class is wild and promises side-by-side racing all year long.
This Pro Street class is beginning to be one of the most popular. As race teams are starting to figure out how to take advantage of that chassis-law lift, it seems like breaking into that four-second range is becoming a little bit easier. When you have four-second capable trucks on the line, there is definitely some excitement.
Most of the known Pro Street field that we are used to seeing are not out of winterization yet or had prior obligations, but for Paul Cato and Co., Maverick Diesel, that wasn’t the case. They brought two project vehicles out for a weekend of fun. Cato, looking to just get the bugs worked out from sitting all winter and prepare for his ODSS points chase in Pro Street, ran into quite a bit of trouble in the front half of the weekend.
A few minor setbacks made the Maverick Diesel team wonder if they would ever get a good, solid pass. But, as expected, they got it figured out and managed to put on a crowd-pleasing low-five-second pass. Not where they wanted to be, but for sitting for this long and doing that out of the box, impressive to say the least.
Huge shoutout to Epling Garage and True Street Diesel for putting this event on, thank you to Emerald Coast Dragway for once again offering quality hospitality and a beautiful venue, thank you to all of the drivers and spectators who made the trip and make this possible, and thank you to all of the sponsors who were on board for this event.
What people don’t realize is that without event sponsors, they couldn’t happen. With the state of motorsports these days, it is important that we get out there and support the sport and keep racing alive. For more information about upcoming events, stay tuned right here to Diesel Army. If you were there, what was your favorite part? If you weren’t there, what is your first event of the year going to be? Let us know in the comment below.