Unfortunately, because of prior obligations, I wasn’t able to make the trip down to Florida for the second annual Outlaw Diesel Super Series event, Hardway Sunshine Showdown. Though, luckily for the ones that couldn’t make it down, Stainless Diesel fired up a small live feed that would get us by during the weekend of racing. From the angles we were offered, it looked like some stiff competition as always and the points are shaping up to be wilder than I anticipated.
Unlike other events, both track owner Ryan Milliken and Outlaw Diesel Super Series admin decided to make this Florida heat not a factor by pushing the event times back into the evening. With the later times, the temperatures would drop and result in a more comfortable afternoon/evening of racing versus melting in these cars and trucks throughout the heat of the day.
For only being the second year of existence, the Hardway Sunshine Showdown is shaping up to be one of the biggest events of the circuit. There were many different events and options for you and your family to check out throughout the weekend. Power Stroke Enginuities-Houston-backed Show-N-Shine, all of the industry’s best Vendors, Friday night No-Time Racing, and the usual Saturday ODSS show.
Among other things that happened this weekend, we had some exciting Diesel Army alumni news. Montana Cherry, the owner of “Cocaine” the 1,600-horsepower street truck we did a feature on just a few months ago, reset his personal best elapsed time in the truck. Dipping into that five-second zone is tough as it is but to do it with a full weight street truck is even tougher.
I’m excited for Cherry as he has finally reached his goal and reached a goal that many can only dream about. But, all good things come to an end but there is a method to his madness. Cocaine can now rest with 5’s on her resume. What is next for that red-hot powerplant and driveline?
Lane Wakeland, a featured trucker from last year‘s event has moved on to much bigger things with his old-school body style Ford truck that he has prepared for the Show-N-Shine and more. “For the 2019 Hardway Sunshine Showdown Show And Shine, we had just over twenty entries which have been the going rate for the last few events we have hosted, Wakeland said. “PSE-Houston has made this free by being the sponsor of the event and the owner, Dorian Reyna, has generously offered to sponsor the 2020 event at Emerald Coast Dragway in March. Because of Reyna’s generosity, the entry to the Show And Shine will be free!”
In the Flo~Pro Performance Exhaust Pro Dragster class, it was Jared Jones once again taking the victory. Jones was still the only dragster on scene, but he still put on a show with nearly beating his personal best elapsed time of a 4.12 with a 4.13. Obviously, he has the points sealed up for the year but with Rudys in his sights, it would be cool to beat that personal best time during the season finale.
Suncoast Diesel Pro Mod, the class that everyone has been eyeing, was sealed up by Larson Miller and the Firepunk Diesel team. The S-10 had what it took to hold off Ben Shadday in the final landing them in the pole position in points. Following the Scheid Diesel event, Rawlings Barnes had the lead over Miller by 14-points but as you can see, this class is so tight, one mishap and things change.
The Hot Shot’s Secret Pro Street class is one that has been dominated all year long by Johnny Gilbert. There hasn’t been a huge field of trucks in this class, but Gilbert has held his own against the classes toughest competitors. Fortunately for Derek Rose, even though they suffered a breakage in Indiana, things are looking up just as I suspected. That race program is starting to come together and it shows. Rose put the big blue Ram in the final round and beat Johnny Gilbert. Although the time is running out for a points championship, Rose has something to look forward to come 2020.
Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index is probably the closest race in points in my opinion. Following the Terre Haute event, Mindy Jackson had a 31-point lead over Brett Marcum and a 43-point lead over Rick Fox. As close as this class is, anyone can be a winner and if there is a new winner, things can and will get shaken up.
Royalton, Illinois is 632-miles from Emerald Coast Dragway. Paul Cato, which was fourth place in points heading into this race resides from here and they made the trip down to Florida in hopes to just have a fun week with family and unloaded the truck with the mindset of, whatever happens, happens and we just want to have fun.
This trip was made worth it as he has now won the Hardway Sunshine Showdown for the second time. In a tight one in the final round, Fox took the stripe due to a lift job from Cato, but had too much momentum and broke out. Cato’s performance lands him in a prime position in the points and Rudys season finale will a winner take all.
In the Maryland Performance Diesel 6.70 Index class, Landon Miller in the “Quad Cab” got his first win since the HollyRock Customs event back in June. Though his Schied performance was disheartening, this brings the confidence back with only one event remaining. Miller held off Zach Pierce in the final putting him even farther away from second place in points.
Somehow, Ryan Riddle, the ATS Diesel Power 7.70 Index class points leader, managed to get out of a wedding and make the trip to Florida and defend his points lead. I’ve been there. But he got out of a wedding. I’m impressed, Ryan. Riddle went all the way down there and pulled off yet another win in this class. Ryan is safely leading the points and is now $1,000 richer. There is some tough competition behind him in 7.70 and anything can happen. I guess we’ll know here in a month when we head to NC.
Last but certainly not least, the JAMO Performance Exhaust E.T Sportsman class. This class is also led by Ryan Riddle by almost 100-points. Riddle didn’t make the quarter-finals which opened the door everyone following him in points. Both Ken Phillips and Nick Morris, which was following close behind in points, took advantage of this and capitalized by racing each other in the final round. At the end of the day, it was Morris who got the win. Now, both Morris and Phillips follow Riddle by 100-point deficit heading into Rudys.
A 100-point lead seems way out of reach for the number of points available at these events but Rudy’s events are enormous in the E.T class. It has been said that there will be so many trucks in the class and so many rounds that the winner could be rewarded 100-plus points. I’ve personally never been to Rudy’s event so I can’t wait to see it unfold.
For more information about the class sponsors, check out their website links in their specific areas above. If you were down in Florida, be sure and share this so the rest of the drivers and fans that couldn’t make it can catch up on all the action. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for live feeds and a full event recap from the Rudy’s Diesel Fall Truck Jam in North Carolina coming up next month. Who will take home the championships in 2019?