We Crash The Golden State Diesel Fest

One of the biggest diesel events in the country happens every year, however, not in the Midwest or South, but on the West Coast in Sacramento, California. The Golden State Diesel Fest draws thousands of spectators and trucks from all over the western part of the United States. We saw license plates from California, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. To say that it’s a diverse event is an understatement.

Even though California has its own challenges when creating hot-rodded diesels, there were still plenty of participants that were willing to put in the effort whether it be for show or go. We saw lifted and lowered show trucks of all shapes and sizes, custom paint, and wheels galore. In addition to the bling, there were also diesel swaps. In the past, we’ve seen a number of Power Stroke rides, but this year Cummins and Duramax engines seemed to dominate. There were also full-on race trucks willing to tackle the dragstrip and dyno, in search of quicker times and bigger numbers. As you’ll read on, you’ll see it’s quite the show.

diesel fest

DSS Motorsports brought a number of trucks to the track, almost all of them quick, and almost all Duramax-powered. This little shortbed-converted 4×4 rocketed down the dragstrip in the 10-second zone.

Diesel Fest Short-Track Rockets

Diesel Fest is held every year at Sacramento Raceway, and during the event, you could make some fun runs if you wanted to, or you could enter the 6.70 or 7.70 E.T. Index classes. We saw diesels of all models run down the quarter-mile, but a big part of the quicker contingent seemed to base itself around Duramax-powered pickups.

DSS Motorsports of Modesto, California brought out a number of race trucks, including a cool shortbed that positively stormed down the track. Colton Thomas from RF Garage also showed up with his Duramax, running mid-11s all day and one low 11-second time with a little juice. It’s hard to compete with a hard four-wheel-drive launch. A number of the street trucks we saw tackle the track laid down 1.60-1.80 60-foot times on street tires! There was a bracket class too, where people could try to run as close to their dial-in without going under. More than anything though, people were there just to have fun, as most quarter-mile times ranged from 12s to 15s.

A ton of trucks hit the Superflow dyno throughout the day. There was everything from slightly warmed-over stockers to insane race trucks.

Spinning Wheels And Making Big Power At Diesel Fest

Other than “what will she do in the quarter”, the second-oldest question in the book is “how much power does it make?” Luckily there was a Superflow dyno on hand, the same one in fact that is used in the Ultimate Callout Challenge. There were a ton of trucks that wanted a chance at spinning the rollers, just to see what kind of power they could put down. This dyno event is also part of the North West Dyno Circuit, which means they had classes for large and small turbos, and compounds, as well as the ever-popular Unlimited class.

Probably the biggest news of the dyno event is that ex-UCC (Ultimate Callout Challenge) competitor Kenny Bruner would be running his truck on the rollers, a truck that had already made over 1,700rwhp in Indiana. Kenny hit the rollers at Diesel Fest on the hot Sacramento day and still wound up putting down a 1,629-horsepower pull. Interestingly enough for the folks who say these rides are “all nitrous”, Kenny put down 1,450 hp on just fuel. Right behind Kenny was Rex Gully from Allied Diesel Performance, who also broke the 1,000 horsepower mark with a 1,015rwhp pull.

diesel fest

The king of the dyno for the day was Kenny Bruner. The wild compound-turbo’d Cummins common rail put down 1,450rwhp on fuel, and a killer 1,629rwhp on spray.

Show And Shine

If there’s one thing we can say about the Golden State Diesel Fest, it’s there’s definitely no shortage of show trucks. They came from all over, some from hundreds of miles away, and many cleaned up the night before the show. Swaps are always a popular theme with California’s emissions laws, and there was no lack of unique oil burners in Sacramento. Front and center in the show were all of Jason Clifford’s rides of Welderup fame. He owns three of Steve Darnell’s creations and actually drove most of them from, Placerville to Sacramento Raceway.

There were also a number of swapped squarebody pickups, that were both Cummins and Duramax powered. In addition to the swaps, there were also diesels that were lifted, lowered, and otherwise altitude adjusted. When we’re talking about lifted trucks here we’re not talking about leveling kits either, some trucks had more than 20 inches of lift! There were also a ton of shortbed conversions, as that’s one modification that improves both looks (according to some) and performance.

diesel fest

Wilsonz Kustomz brought a truly unique ’62 Lincoln Continental to the show, that was frankly a show-stopper! The rad ride features a compound turbo 5.9-liter Cummins along with an NV5600 manual transmission.

All the Fun That’s Not Advertised

While big numbers and quick elapsed times may get top billing, that’s not all there is to these shows. There are friends hanging out, a whole hosting of food trucks, and a vendor’s row featuring everything from turbochargers to clothing. Diesel Fest was a good chance to talk to shops about your truck and bounce all day between food, the dyno, and the drags. Whether you were in the Show n’ Shine, a drag racer, wanted to try your luck on the dyno, or just spectate, a good time was easy to find.

diesel fest

Jason Clifford’s bad vintage Chevrolet was built on the show Vegas Rat Rods and is powered by a four-turbo, two-stroke Detroit Diesel.

Sound like fun and you’re sorry you missed it? Well, you’re in luck because Truckmania is coming this fall, which will feature all that’s mentioned above and also includes sled pulling. For now, the excitement of Diesel Fest is seared into our memories, and we can’t wait till it happens again next year.

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About the author

Jason Sands

Jason Sands has owned everything from an 8-second Nova to rat rods. His claim to fame is setting the Guinness World Record for the fastest speed towing a trailer at 141.998 mph in a diesel-powered GMC Duramax. He's also known to write on occasion.
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