SunCoast Spring Shakedown: Outlaw Diesel Super Series Round #1

Finally! it’s that time of year. Whether you like it or not, or in some cases, if you are ready or not, it’s here! The coveted Outlaw Diesel Super Series kicked off on March 13th here at the growing Emerald Coast Dragway and I cannot fathom how excited I am for it to be drag racing season again. We set out on this trip early last week and headed down to catch all of the action and news. So, let’s dive in.

For starters, like all Outlaw Diesel Super Series events, we had all of our favorite classes. JAMO Performance Exhaust ET Bracket, ATS Diesel Power 7.70 Index, Thoroughbred Diesel 6.70 Index, Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 Index, Hot Shot’s Secret Pro Street, SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod, and Pro Dragster. As expected, the park was absolutely packed with eager drivers from all over the country ready to rip some passes off.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am loving this four wheel drive burnout action. It sure makes for some sweet shots.

To make things more interesting, the Emerald Coast team has put together even more classes that can get the local guys involved too. This included the Raybestos Powertrain No-Time Truck Shootout, WIT Transmission Parts, INC 8.00 Index, Truck Source Diesel Pro Limited, and the Atlantic Speed & Performance Factory Street Shootout. Together, these classes offered a $7,000 payout.

As if that wasn’t enough, S&S Diesel Motorsport stepped up and offered to do a Friday Night Grudge match at every ODSS event this year. Lucky for me, Dorian Reyna of PSE Houston and I was selected to battle it out at the first-ever Friday Night Grudge. Each class all weekend offered amazing performances and this is how it all unfolded.

Raybestos Powertrain No-Time Truck Shootout

Track owner Ryan Milliken and class sponsor representatives hand over the hardware after the victory.

There was a sea of trucks in the No-Time class and to be honest, I was excited about that. This seems to be a growing class that will involve local diesel and gas enthusiasts to come together and have some fun. Watching excitedly on the sidelines, tuner and business owner, Ben Shadday explained to me that he tuned Chase Ringer’s truck.

Ringer made it all the way to the final with his third-generation Ram and took home the money. It was a super close race and both his family and tuning team were excited for his weekend starting off right. Congratulations to Mr. Ringer on the victory.

WIT Transmission Parts 8.00 Index

For everyone wanting to prepare for their ET Bracket or 7.70 Index adventures on Saturday, they jumped into the 8.00 index fun for a little pre-race action. Although there was a crowd, only one person can win. That guy this weekend was Clarkrange, Tennessee native, Austin Swallows.

Truck Source Diesel Pro Limited

There has been a ton of chatter for this Pro-Limited class. This power and weight controlled classes somewhat even the playing field and the staging lines proved that there was interest. After a few rounds of qualifying and eliminations, it came down to Truck Source Diesel’s Chris Buhidar and Austin Doidge in the Firepunk Anteater truck.

Both trucks ran very strong throughout the day but Buhidar just edged out Doidge to take home the victory. Buhidar, a very supportive driver of this class, is excited to see where this class ends up and has already talked about sponsoring it at upcoming events in the future. If you’re interested in getting involved in a super competitive class, come on out and check out Pro-Limited.

S&S Diesel Motorsport Friday Night Grudge Matches

Each event will have multiple pairs of trucks to race but only one pair can race for the S&S Diesel Motorsport belt and the $1,000 cash prize. The pairs this go-around was Rick Fletes vs. Paul Vasko, Dylan Peacock vs. Daniel Hargrove, Derek Rose vs. Paul Cato, Nathan Wheeler vs. Brett Marcum, and Dorian Reyna vs myself for the belt.

Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. Dorian and I both battled issues coming up to the grudge race and I decided to throw in the towel. Too much to do and not enough time and Dorian agreed he would rather race for the money and belt versus just taking it. So, we’ve moved on down the list. Up next, was Logan Epling and Montana Cherry. Both of these guys didn’t have a vehicle at the event so there was no way for them to race.

Next up was Paul Cato and Derek Rose. These two guys, who are good friends, did have their trucks and decided sure, let’s do it. There was some friendly banter building up to this but Cato even admitted, he didn’t have anything for Rose, YET. But, this is drag racing. Anything can happen. Well, sure enough, anything did happen.

Everyone is suited up, getting ready to pull onto the racing surface and Rose suffered a rolled sprag in his transmission keeping him from being able to race. This gave Cato the automatic win light. All he needed to do was making it safely down the track with a green light and the money and belt were his. Although he would’ve rather battled for it, Cato went on to have a stellar weekend after this evening.

Congratulations to Cato on winning the first-ever S&S Diesel Motorsport Friday Night Grudge Race.

Pro Dragster

Jared Jones, the long-time pilot of the Scheid Diesel Dragster ran into some issues in testing where the throttle was trying to hand. It was an injection pump issue and to repair it, they just next day aired a new, non-sticking pump to install. After their installation, they managed to make a few good licks and put down a best of 4.88 at 156MPH.

Obviously this car is capable of much more but this is the first event of the year and bugs are just getting worked out. After all, this is the SunCoast Spring SHAKEDOWN event, you know? I’m excited for J-Rod this 2020 season and hopefully, they can put on a show for us this year.

SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod

This has to be, or at least what I think is, the crowds favorite class. Pro Mod has the lightest, quickest, and fastest vehicles on the property and these teams go to extreme lengths to set the bar higher and higher. Over the winter, the infamous Firepunk Diesel S-10 was the recipient of a heart transplant for D & J Precision Machine’s all-aluminum “Executioner” Cummins engine and it was shining and performing.

It took multiple adjustments and multiple tune-ups to get it lined out somewhat but the new-looking S-10 managed to nearly break the Pro Mod record on their first outing ever with the truck. With a best pass of 4.289, the Firepunk crew is optimistic moving forward into the 2020 season. At the end of the day, it was Larson Miller and the S-10 going up against a California-based truck piloted by Logan Yelton.

Yelton managed to get some good licks in but battled all weekend to lay all the power available down. In the final round, after an oil down, Yelton’s machine managed to lose traction and touch the left lane wall just barely. Yelton was okay but did not complete the run. On the other side, Miller had his own problems with traction and backfiring down the track but it was enough to take home the victory.

Congratulations to Miller and the Firepunk Diesel crew on the victory.

Hot Shot’s Secret Pro Street

Dalton slowly returns to his trailer after a qualifying pass.

With the latest rule change just a few weeks ago, this was one of the most anticipated classes of the series. They lifted the E.T limit on this class and lowered the weight minimum allowing guys who would normally have to turn their trucks down to stay within their 5.00 chassis cert can now give it all they’ve got to go as fast as possible. You guessed it, they were flying.

Derek Rose, Johnny Gilbert, Jonathan Montesino, Michael Dalton, Chris Buhidar, and Paul Cato were all lined up and ready to kick off this Pro Street class. Everyone had high expectations with the new rules and this class, in my opinion, gets the most improved award. Nearly everyone bettered their E.T personal best and MPH too.

Cato’s crew lined him up straight but his horse did its best to go every direction except straight.

Derek Rose clicked off a few 4-second passes, Johnny Gilbert managed to best his E.T personal best with a 5.032, Micahel Dalton was able to click off a personal best elapsed time, and even the late 5.90 racer Paul Cato bested his personal best E.T and MPH by a few miles. We’ll touch base on that more later, but congratulations to all of the Pro Street drivers as you put on one hell of a show. Way to bring the excitement back to this class.

At the end of the day, it was Derek Rose and Paul Cato squaring off for the trophy and the money once again. Since Rose was broke during the Friday night grudge portion, we were certain we would get our rematch in the final round. Well, we did but it didn’t go as planned. Knowing Rose made more power and had way more seat time in his after huge changes, Cato gave it all the sauce and it was too much for the track.

Cato nearly hit the left lane wall, again, after the oil down previously, and Rose pulled away with the victory with a 4.99 at 147 MPH. Knowing how competitive these guys are and seeing how they are progressing this early in the season, I’m sure we’ll see these two square off again and I’m betting next time, it’s going to be close.

Congratulations to Rose on the victory.

Firepunk Diesel 5.90 Index

Austin Denny’s winter upgrades were put to the test in his first outing for competition. Denny is planning on setting the record for the first 5R transmission into the 5-second zone.

I knew the minute they announced this class that it was going to be a huge hit. The staging lanes weren’t nearly as packed as I expected but it is early in the season and I know for a fact there are trucks that aren’t’ done yet. Last year offered a good amount but you can definitely see that this class is growing quickly on social media.

There were some familiar faces and some new ones too this weekend. Rod MacMaster, Brett Marcum, and Austin Doidge are no strangers to the 5.90 class. However, Austin Denny and Dustin Sterling were all new to this. Everyone managed to get some good testing in and it was tight racing all day it seemed like. Unfortunately for everyone except one, there can only be one winner.

After breaking the transmission case in testing, Dusting Sterling thrashed to get his truck going again. All-day Sterling would ask me who he was up against and how they’ve been running. I just told him he needed to run his race, let go of the button on yellow and do his thing. His truck was dialed in and deadly and I knew he would go rounds.

In the final round, MacMaster, one of the most dedicated people I’ve met, finally has himself a hot rod. That truck is on rails and will go the number. It was a super close race but MacMaster came away victorious over Austin Doidge. Doidge suffered a near runaway on the starting line scaring a lot of us but everyone made it out okay.

Both of these trucks are going to be a threat all year long. If you’re up against these two, you had better be ready. Congratulations to Rod on what I believe is his first victory in Outlaw Diesel Super Series and taking over as points leader for 2020.

Thoroughbred Diesel 6.70 Index

Firstly, thank you to Thoroughbred Diesel for stepping up and sponsoring our 6.70 Index class. This class is and always will be stacked full of tight competition and I’m excited to be a part of it. Some day. I think there may have been more but there were 20 finalists on the qualifying sheet which is a great turnout for the early first of the year event.

Class newcomer, Avery Micek managed to put himself in a good spot to start the weekend with the number one qualifying position. He ended up making it to the quarter-finals which is a good weekend for someone just getting started in a new build.

I don't care who you are. These two cars basically stole the show this weekend. Paul Vasko, left, had a chassis-twisting, number-running machine. Rick Fletes, right, had a deadly consistent car that was going rounds in 6.70 Index. Oh, yeah, he drove it from California, too.

Other drivers like Chase Ringer, Rick Fletes, and Norma Hall did their best this weekend and put out solid performances but it was down to two at the end. 6.70 Veterans Landon Miller and Zack Danner squared off in the final round where Miller, the 6.70 Index champion in 2019, was victorious once again. The quad cab he’s piloting is dialed in and looks to continue its dominance in 2020.

Congratulations to Landon on his victory.

ATS Diesel Power 7.70 Index

The next generation of racers getting the trophy with dad is awesome. Who knows, he may a champion in a few years.

7.70, like 6.70, is always super competitive. Like any other year, we expected it to be tight racing and that’s what we got. There was close qualifying and the eliminations offered an exciting Saturday of racing. At the end of the day, it was Jacob Middleton and Logan Dezan fighting for that first 2020 victory and the points lead but it was Jacob Middleton that pulled it off.

This was Middleton’s first-ever Outlaw Diesel Super Series event he’s attended and came away with a victory. He’s thanked his friends Chris Perales and Bodie Armstrong for their help. He explained everything was new an untested and couldn’t believe how it all panned out. He also wanted to thank the entire BD Diesel Performance crew for their help and products along the way to this point. Congratulations on your victory, Mr. Middleton.

JAMO Performance Exhaust ET Bracket

ET Bracket was stacked full of drivers as expected and everyone was on their a-game it seemed. After my unfortunate breakage on my personal truck, the track owner Ryan Milliken allowed me to pilot his Nissan Titan in this class for fun. We managed to make it to the final round against an always tough Ryan Riddle. Riddle, the 2019 class champion, put up a hell of pass where he would leave Florida victorious. Congratulations to Mr. Riddle on his victory and points lead heading into the rest of the 2020 season.

What a weekend it was down here in Florida. Once again, the Outlaw Diesel Super Series put on one hell of a show. Thank you to all of the vendors, class sponsors, and spectators who participated and thank you to the crew at Emerald Coast Dragway for providing us with a phenomenal facility to play on throughout our opening weekend. For more truck features, event news, and performance parts reviews, stay tuned to Diesel Army.

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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