I have been into drag racing for most of my life. When I got my start into diesels, there were only a few different sanctions that were putting on diesel-dedicated racing. At that time, there were multiple trucks that I remember seeing but one in particular was Chris Perales’ second-generation Ram. That extended cab, all-black machine has made pass after pass and to top it all off, it wins.
While down at the SunCoast Spring Shakedown in Holt, Florida, the pit area began filling up. I expected to see a lot of people from last year as well as some newcomers, but I was pleased in seeing this Floresville, Texas, native Mr. Perales whip into Emerald Coast Dragway. I have actually only seen this truck in videos but never in person. Naturally, I had to go over and talk with him and set this up.
At a glance, it looks like your ordinary 4×4, 2001 Dodge Ram. Once you get a little closer, you can tell this truck is only “ordinary” from a distance. You start seeing things like a cut up truck bed, drag slicks, and a hood stack. This is obviously much more than it appears. Once the hood is popped, it’s a sight for sore eyes too. This thing is a part of the mechanical mafia.
This truck was purchased originally for only $15,000 dollars but it wasn’t his first diesel truck. “I bought this truck in 2008 to just use as a daily driver. Before this, I had a 2002 24-valve truck with a six-speed manual trans,” Perales said. “The first few mods on this truck were an Edge Juice With Attitude and a South Bend clutch to follow. I started hopping that truck up to play around with at the local mud drags, and realized I needed an automatic.”
You know as well as I do, once you get these things going there is no turning back. “It’s been an ongoing project for quite a few years now. I’m not really sure what it would cost to rebuild or replicate this thing because I quit counting the dollars many years ago,” he chuckled. “Luckily for me, my wife Sarah has let this go on for so long. I couldn’t do it without her.”
AM: There have been some interesting stories about this truck I’m sure after owning it for the last twelve years, right? CP: “There are many instances we could talk about but I would say the most memorable memory of this truck is sending a connecting rod through the side of the block just casually driving it to work one day. This was just days after winning the 2016 NHRDA 10.90 Index championship, but still.”
Though Chris has been racing his truck for years, he hasn’t followed any specific order for how he’s decided to upgrade it. “One thing just led to another. you know how it goes, right? I wasn’t planning on turning this into a stripped-down race truck but lighter is quicker and easier on parts,” he said. “As parts would break, I would replace them with better ones until we’re making passes safely again.”
Perales, like some of his racing friends, have done everything to the truck from the beginning. “All of the engine builds for this truck were done by me back at home. I would just tear them down in the garage and do what I needed to. When it came to transmissions, I would tear it out of the truck and take it to a friend’s house and build it over there.”
After all these years of tinkering, racing, and enjoying the truck, Perales’ favorite part about it all is its fuel system. “Yeah, my favorite part has to be just keeping it old school mechanical injection. This P7100 pump has been working flawlessly for a long time,” Perales said. Blacky here has evolved from a mildly-tuned daily-driver until the dragstrip became the place to be.
When asked where all of his diesel knowledge has come from, Perales actually said the forums. Believe it or not, some of the old-school Competition Diesel guys will be proud knowing someone used the search function. —Inside Joke— “I did a ton of reading throughout the years on Competition Diesel and it’s really gone a long way,” he said.
On the inside of the 5.9-Liter Cummins engine is a set of Wagler connecting rods. These rods are heavy-duty and will handle the abuse that Perales’ puts it through every chance he can. Other important parts of this powerplant are the Industrial Injection Gorilla Girdle, ARP main studs, and a Hamilton Cams 188/220 camshaft.
The cylinder head has been ported and equipped with Hamilton’s valve springs and a Joker Fab intake manifold for maximum RPM and air intake. On the exit side, a BD Diesel S472 SXE turbo is mounted to a BD T4 wastegated manifold and exits the right side of the hood. Being a p-pump 24-valve, Perales relies on a big Seth Ferrel-built P7100 injection pump and a set of Haley Speed-built 6x.016 injectors.
- 24-Valve 5.9-Liter Cummins
- Wagler Competition Products Connecting Rods
- Industrial Injection Gorilla Girdle
- ARP Main Studs
- Hamilton Cams 188/220 Camshaft
- 2006, Hand-Ported Cylinder Head
- Joker Fab Intake Manifold
- Hamilton Cams 110lb Valve Springs
- BD Diesel Performance T4 Gated Exhaust Manifold
- Seth Ferrel-built 215-HP P7100 Injection Pump
- Haley Speed-built 6×016 Fuel Injectors
- BD Diesel Performance Intercooler
- BD Diesel Performance S472 SXE Turbocharger
- Park’s Engine Service Machining
The truck is right there in the middle. It isn’t overly heavy, but it is also not the lightest thing on the property. It takes some steam to get this truck down to the times it runs and with that, he needs a stout driveline. This RAM is equipped with a self-built 47RE transmission with a combination of billet shafts from TCS and Sonnax.
In front of this NV271 transfer case is home to a Goerend Transmission constant-pressure valve body, BD Diesel Flexplate, and 2,000-RPM stall converter. These are the kinds of parts you need to be insured and competitive in this type of racing.
Driveline And 47RE Transmission Build
- TCS Aermet Input Shaft
- TCS Intermediate Shaft
- Sonnax 29 Spline Output Shaft
- 48RE Planetary Gears
- BD Diesel Performance Flex Plate
- BD Diesel Performance 2000 Stall Torque Converter
- Goerend Transmission Constant Pressure Valve Body
- Dual B & M Supercooler Transmission Coolers
- NV271 Transfer Case
As we mentioned earlier, this truck isn’t the lightest or heaviest. The bottom line, it needs a good suspension and chassis setup to continue to hook on every surface. Perales relies on multiple items working together to make a smooth pass including Calvert Racing ladder bars, QA1 Motorsports double adjustable shocks and Hoosier Quick-Time Pro tires on all four corners.
Suspension And Traction
- Calvert Racing Rear Suspension
- Removed Leaf Springs (Two Remaining)
- QA1 Double Adjustable Shocks Front
- QA1 Double Adjustable Shocks Rear
- BD Diesel Performance Steering Stabilizer
- Raceline Wheels 16-inch by 10-inch Renegade 8 Wheels
- Hoosier Quick Time Pro 28-inch by 14.50-inch by 16-inch
Perales’ racing career is a long and fun one. Without his support group, he was sure to let us know that it wouldn’t be possible. “It’s been fun and I owe some thank you’s to a few individuals. Larry Brown, for all of the good leftover parts, Bodie Armstrong, Jacob Middleton, and Johnny Still for all the pit crew support and food,” he said. “Henry Poff, a great friend and transmission builder, Scott Walker owner of All Out Diesel in Cibolo, Texas for the help and support over the last ten years, and last but certainly not least, Brian Roth at BD Diesel. BD has offered the best support to me over the last five or six seasons.”
I am glad we finally linked up with Chris and got to see this rig in person. If you haven’t seen this truck in person, you need to get out to the next Outlaw Diesel Super Series event you can and see it in action. In fact, you need to come anyway and support the sport. For more truck features and event coverage, stay tuned right here to Diesel Army.