For a young man in the midwest, it is basically a prerequisite to own a truck. After the first truck, it’s up to them on where they go from there. In the small town of Novinger, on the northern edge of Missouri, a seventeen-year-old named Jason Wayman bought his first truck. Something as simple as exhaust and a tuner on a 1998 Dodge Ram 24-valve would eventually change his life forever.
Wayman, now 32, campaigns a 2006 Dodge Ram called “Megatron” in the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League circuit and is recognized at most events he competes in. The truck started out as just a rig for transportation, but it has slowly evolved into a crowd favorite and an absolute nightmare for the competition. Here is the truck that is now competing for first place in the most prestigious pulling sanctions in the country.
Back in 2008, Wayman found the Cummins at a dealership, where he paid $24,000 for it. “Ever since I picked up the truck in 2008, it has been street-driven. I drove it daily up until the winter of 2011,” said Wayman. “In that time frame, I slowly modified it and drove it to a few local pulls and was being very successful.” Everybody knows, after success, there are bad decisions to be made.
So, shortly after Wayman’s local dominance, Megatron was in the operating room. “The winter of 2011 after pulling locally, I decided to turn it into a full-time sled puller,” Wayman said. “Ever since then, I have been building and modifying the truck every year to stay as competitive as possible.” As everyone knows, all sports evolve into something more and more every year. The setup you won with last year won’t always win next year.
“When my pulling became competitive, it wasn’t always successful,” said Wayman. “We had a ton of breakage and issues and something had to give. We would go pull for a weekend, and the truck would work flawlessly on Friday, but on Saturday, it would fall completely on its face. I knew that as stiff as the competition was in my class, we couldn’t just keep doing what we were doing.”
After the struggles, Wayman was directed to the help of Done Right Diesel Performance owner, Ben Shadday. “We discussed several options that could be issues and dissected the truck to try and get this pulling program back on track,” said Wayman. “So, together, we jumped in with both feet and turned it all around.” The guys worked alongside Chase Fleece of Fleece Performance and decided it was time for a re-power.
Located in Brownsburg, Indiana, Freedom Racing Engines began constructing what was going to be the new heart for Megatron. “I’ve been with Freedom since 2015 and after Fleece talked me into running a different displacement engine, we chose to go with the 6.8-liter displacement over the original 6.4 we’ve run in years past,” said Wayman. “Ever since that engine has been in the truck, we have seen mostly success with Megatron. We are a great team and plan on continuing to succeed together.”
The 6.8-liter power plant from Freedom Racing is designed to take about as much abuse as Wayman throws at it. So far, it’s doing perfectly. “We travel throughout the year competing in the points series and usually in a year, I will put about 30 to 40 hooks on the truck per season,” said Wayman. “We freshen up the motor every winter, so we always have a fresh start in the spring.” In the long run, it’s worth it for the extra insurance.
This 6.8-Liter Cummins engine is equipped with CP Carrillo connecting rods, a Hamilton Cams camshaft, Steed Speed T6 exhaust manifold, and a Fleece Performance side draft intake. These stronger installed parts are there to handle the additional power the engine will make from the Harts Diesel And Machine turbocharger mixed with the S & S Diesel Motorsport fuel injectors.
Something to note – Wayman is using a turbocharger that fits in his class, but he’s actually running a turbo that is much smaller than his competition. With that being said, it goes to show that all the power in the world doesn’t guarantee you a win. It’s all about having your truck dialed in with proven parts and knowing how to drive.
Using a Chiseled Performance air-to-water intercooler, Wayman can cool incoming air down before it makes it to the big Cummins cylinder head. This significantly lowers the air temperature entering the engine, which results in more horsepower and torque.
When sled pulling, your parts are your soldiers. During every pass, they are at battle, meaning every part needs to be downright tough. Backing this high-horsepower Freedom engine is a Profab Machine All-In-One DropBox/Reverser with a Valair Performance quad-disc weighted pulling clutch. As the power runs through the transmission, the heat is then loaded onto the two-piece driveshaft with the carrier bearing equipped with 1550 Spicer yokes and universal joints.
With this Profab unit, Megatron has a single forward and reverse gear. The straight cut gears on the inside provide the gear ratio he desires. If he wants to go slower or faster, he replaces these gears with either larger or smaller gear sets.
The front differential is a Dana 60 with a Yukon Grizzly locker and chromoly axles. Out back, Wayman is actually using some old yet reliable technology. “The limited-slip rear differential is actually a real old rearend called an SSR,” said Wayman. “It’s basically equivalent to a 20-145 with a factory-welded carrier. It’s nothing fancy.”
For transferring all of the horsepower Megatron makes to the ground, Wayman depends on the suspension modifications that No Way Man Diesel and Done Right Diesel Performance has created. With solid suspension out back, the custom traction bars are welded solid to the frame from the rearend all the way to the back of the front control arms. On the front, the Rancho shocks and factory springs have been tried and true.
When asking Wayman what his favorite part of the build was, he had an interesting answer. “I can’t name just one or two things about the truck,” he said. “This whole truck from front to rear has so many key features and ideas that have contributed to my success. Just opening the hood and seeing all of the mirror finish, to laying underneath and taking in all of the framework and driveline parts – it tells a story about all of the time and expertise that went into this, therefore making it all my favorite.”
Sometimes in peculiar builds like this, truck owners find at least one thing that bothers them or one thing they would like to change. For Wayman, he likes every bit of it, but things change all the time. “With sled pulling, the sport is constantly advancing and new ideas are surfacing,” he said. “However, we’re trying to stay ahead of the field, which means we use our off-season to make either small changes or take completely different routes.”
Determination To Succeed
Wayman comes off as a stubborn man, and his motivation to build this truck proves that. “My motivation to build Megatron was all of the people telling me I couldn’t,” he said. “I am not the kind of person to let negativity stop or hold me back. I set my mind to it and set out to do the best I could, no matter what happened. I’ve failed many times with several ruined engines and a ton of broken driveline parts with many, many sleepless nights in the shop, but my determination has gotten me to where I am today.”
As you can imagine, there is a reason why the truck is called Megatron. “I named the truck Megatron because I was obsessed with the Transformers movies and the truck is a mega cab,” said Wayman. “The mega part is obvious and the tron comes from all of the moving parts associated with it. It all just made sense.” Wayman also went on to say that the name was and still is a huge hit for the kids in attendance.
“The kids love it! I have so many kids come up to me with huge smiles on their faces and ask if it’s a transformer truck because of the giant emblem on the weight box,” Wayman said. “Of course, I say yes and it just makes their day, as well as mine.” It is important to have family-friendly drivers in this sport, because the kids are the future, and whoever they encounter will be influential to them in years to come.
In the pulling industry, Wayman is known as everybody’s friend, and it shows. “At the pulls, I’m not out there for just myself. I really enjoy helping everyone in my class that I can,” he said. “Winning is a lot of fun, but if I can help someone with ideas or advice, or even wrenching on their truck just to make sure they can have fun too, I’m happy.”
Like most builds, it requires a solid support system and good friends. Wayman credits his success to all of the companies and individuals that have helped him. These include Ben Shadday and the Done Right Diesel Performance team, Fleece Performance, Freedom Racing Engines, 21st Century Seed, Valair, and S & S Diesel Motorsport.
During our time with Mr. Wayman, we were at the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. The Scheid event is the most prestigious event in the pulling industry and to even make the show is awesome. Not only did Wayman qualify, but he also went on to win Friday night and runner-up on Saturday night at the most competitive truck pull in the country. Wayman finished off his year with a second place overall in the PPL points series and looks to come back swinging in 2019.
We are excited to see what Team Megatron has up their sleeve for next year and are glad to have learned about him and his truck’s story. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for more event coverage and truck features like this one.