Service Truck To Race Truck: Austin Denny’s Wicked 6.0L Power Stroke

Here at Diesel Army, I typically look for unique builds. Not that there’s anything wrong with ordinary trucks. When I am out at events, I look for the wild and obscure trucks that maybe not a lot of eyes get to see. In my years of racing with the Outlaw Diesel Super Series, Austin Denny’s 6.0-Liter Power Stroke is certainly one that fits the bill.

Denny has been on to me for a long time now to feature this truck. For some reason, we just couldn’t get it done. Weather, schedule conflicts, or just wrong place wrong time. Well, at the biggest diesel event of the year, the Ultimate Callout Challenge was the place. We met up at the legendary Lucas Oil Raceway which was actually the closest event of the circuit for him and we made it happen.

I’ve seen these trucks in so many configurations, transmissions, and powerplants but Denny stayed true to his love for the 6.0-liter and kept it in the engine bay. The upbringing of this truck has been a crazy one, to say the least, and today we’re going to tell you how it all went down. It may not look like it now but this was picked up as a service truck from the state of Kansas.

Not the best photo in the world but it’s the best we had. This truck with a little wheel and tire action didn’t really look too bad. It looks a lot better now but hey, good things take time.

“It didn’t take us long to turn this truck into something completely different,” Denny chuckled. “This is the earliest photo I have of the truck. After we picked the truck up and headed home, within four hours of having the truck home, we had the cab and bed off of the truck and the thrash was on.”

Denny, a 26-year old heavy equipment technician, was no stranger to wrenching which made this little weekend project pretty easy. With his knowledge, some friends, and I’m sure some cold beverages, this project was turning into something pretty cool. This old 2006 F-250 chassis had no idea what it was about to do.

How It Started

It’s come a long way from being a service truck!

For most, getting into competitive drag racing doesn’t just happen overnight. Denny wasn’t a stranger to racing. He actually raced his crew cab F-350 at a local test and tune and the rest was history. This F-350 had been modified enough that the truck really needed a roll bar to be safe and legal. “When I started racing my crew cab, it was picking up E.T fast enough that it was time it needed an upgrade in the safety department,” Denny said. “I wasn’t prepared for that but my dad, however, was.”

As I’m hearing this from him, I can only think of one thing. Wait, isn’t this a little backward? Isn’t the dad supposed to tell the kid no, leave it alone? Hey, if you can get that kind of support from a parent, so be it. Get after it, kid! “My dad stepped up and pretty much made a point that he wanted us to get more involved in the diesel drag racing scene and take it more seriously. So, we went and found a bone stock F-250 utility truck and within months, we had it buried into the 6-second range.”

All black everything, shaved down to nearly nothing, and an engine and transmission combo that is built to do only one thing. Go very, very fast.

I remember this truck when it was white and covered the 6.70 Index class in the ODSS. “Pilsbury”, as it was known back then, did pretty well. Denny and his family traveled around racing the truck and managed to pull off a seventh place overall points finish just two years ago. Although he saw decent success, the power bug stalked him every night, and the jump up to the next class was inevitable.

Let’s Turn It Up

“After running 6.70 index for two years and finishing pretty well in points, I just wanted to go faster. At this point in time, getting a 6.0-liter Power Stroke into the 5’s had never happened,” Denny explained. “Knowing that we were going to need more power and less weight, we stripped the truck down as much as possible and got Firepunk Diesel involved to build the chassis.”

Although it may look like a full-blown racecar on the outside, the factory Ford chassis is still underneath this cape of upgrades. Utilizing Firepunk Diesel’s four-link suspension kit and a set of AFCO Performance coil over shocks, this chassis was set up for drag racing. With the help of a souped-up 6.0-Liter engine, a set of Larry Steele compound turbos, and Warren Diesel Injection 500/400 injectors, Denny broke into the 5-second zone in early 2020.

That first 5-second pass was a 5.76 at 122mph. Now, as of June 2021, the best pass that the new look has gone is 5.69 at 127.9mph. I don’t know how familiar you are with drag racing but that is wicked fast for a chassis that was not built for that. Trucks and tuning have come a long way. How fast builders can make trucks go these days is just incredible.

Since the first five, the personal best ET, and the wrenching to get it there, Denny has kept up the racing by following the Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 index class. “I’ve competed in all of the ODSS 5.90 class races over the last two years and this truck is positioned to go much faster this year. With a WDI-built engine, we have already seen significant horsepower increases at the track and it’s just time to put it all together,” Denny said.

“I bought and built this truck for one reason. To go fast as hell.”

How Did You Do That?

Like I previously mentioned, making something that fast is impressive. To do it in a 6.0-liter, is downright bad to the bone. You need a program that is happy. The engine, the transmission, the turbos, the nitrous, all of it. It all needs to work together properly to yield exciting results. For Denny, it’s taken some late night thoughts and some help from the industry’s best, but he’s getting what he wanted.

Even though most 6.0-liter guys dream these engines would take this abuse stock, you know that isn’t the case. Denny’s 14:1 compression 6.0-liter features a 0.40″ over engine block, Stage 3 Colt Cams camshaft, and a pair of ported cylinder heads from Warren Diesel Injection. On the end of the Wagler Competiton Products connecting rods is where eight forged MAHLE Motorsport pistons ride.

Getting to the go-fast goodies, blackie is equipped with a set of monster WDI 500/400 fuel injectors, dual high-pressure oil pumps, and fed by an Aeromotive belt-driven lift pump. As for boost, it uses a pair of Bullseye Power turbochargers compounded together. With the help of nitrous oxide, this 76/87 and a 94/104 compound setup that hangs off of stock but modified exhaust manifolds are enough to make 120-PSI of boost and crank out near 1,800-horsepower.

Denny proudly displays some of the companies that are on board this racing program.

The custom-built Nitrous Express system features three stages of nitrous. When all the kits are on and the turbos are making all of the boost, Tial Sport 44-MM wastegates open up and relieve that pressure.

On the backside of this engine is a 5R110 transmission. Featuring a 4,000-RPM stall, quad-disc torque converter from Diesel Performance Converters, this 5R110 is the fastest of its kind. “This is the fastest 5R110 transmission out there. We kept the 5R110 because it was my friend David Ferguson’s baby. He wanted to push that platform and see how far we could take it,” Denny said. “At this point, we’ve stayed with it because we don’t really believe that it will keep us from getting faster.”

With a stick tread pattern like that, it’s no wonder it hooks up so good.

In the beginning, it was just finding an input shaft that would live. They’ve twisted and broken so many shafts, they needed to find one that would work. Thanks to Phil at DPC, the “Nasa Shaft” was the fix. This pure AerMet shaft has yet to break. “After figuring out the weak points on this trans and fixing those, it has worked great. Besides normal clutch wear, this 5R kicks ass,” Denny said. Other transmission features include an Elite billet flexplate and the Sonnax Peformance billet shafts.

Denny’s got the power and the chassis but what does he use to get this all to stand planted? Using four 29.5-inch Hoosier slicks wrapped around a set of 15-inch by 12-inch Bogart Racing wheels, this truck has no issue staying planted to the ground. Spinning isn’t winning and with the help of these monster meats, there isn’t usually an issue.

Here we have a truck that weighs between 4,000 and 5,000-pounds. Even though the entire truck is stripped down and the factory metal panels have been replaced with fiberglass and lexan, that is still quite a bit of weight hitting the mph cone at 125+. Denny knew the Ford brakes weren’t going to slow him down well enough. He wanted better brakes for safety reasons anyway so he turned to TBM for some lightweight aftermarket upgrades.

As expected, the inside of this rocket looks like a pure race car. Features include delicatley placed wiring, a lightweight Kirkey Racing aluminum seat, a RacePak data logger for tuning needs, and an NHRA-certified 8.50 roll cage. When you’re competitive at this level, the rules are strict, and having a safe cage to keep drivers protected is a must.

To this day, the best elapsed time for the truck is 5.69 in the eighth mile. As for miles per hour, it has topped out at 127.9-MPH. What does it take to make this truck run that fast? Denny explained to us that with everything on kill, this 6.0-liter is pumping out nearly 1,800-horsepower. Impressive, to say the least, but he’s not done here.

“We are happy with how the truck has performed thus far. Breaking it into the 5’s was our first goal and we crushed it,” said Denny. “Now that we’ve got that figured out, it’s time to start dialing it all in and seeing what we can do. We would really love to bury this truck into the 5.30 range this year and with our new powerplant, it looks promising.”

We know the truck makes power but in diesel drag racing, especially at a high level, getting it past the 60-foot cone quickly is the key. They make enough power to run the big number but you’ll lose a lot of time in the first 60-feet. With a 60-foot time of 1.31, I’m unsure if that will get him into the .30 range. It’s time to start playing with power management and fine-tuning the chassis to get this truck out of the hole quicker.

Like all of our features, we talk with the truck owners and discuss who all is on board. To create something like this, it’s rarely done solo. You really need hands to help and possibly even support from some of the industry’s best. “None of this would be possible without my family. My girlfriend Olivia, she puts up with me and this madness. Kyle Kennedy and Jesse Warren at Warren Diesel Injection, Larry Steele from SoCal, and of course, Kyle Fischer at Hot Shot’s Secret,” Denny said.

Denny continued, “David Ferguson, Alex Mahr, Grant Starks, Billy and Kenneth Watson, Shawn Ellerton, the whole crew at Firepunk Diesel, and Fred Kingery.” As you can see, if you’re wanting to get involved and get into something like this, it takes a team and some really good friends. From a guy that just took his pickup to a test and tune one night and it turned into this, anything is possible. If you’re out there wondering if you can do it, you can.

With family, anything is possible.

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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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