Thirty-two-year-old Wade Moody has been racing for more than half of his life and is no stranger to the exhilarating feeling of piloting a fast vehicle down the 1/4-mile. He already had quite a long list of accomplishments before his Spitzer Duramax dragster came into being. After racing motocross as a teen the Mechanicsville, MD engine builder moved to diesel drag racing in 2006 with a 4WD Cummins powered Dodge Ram successfully competing in the Pro Street class winning a few championships. Then he purchased an S-10 drag truck to move up the ladder and race in the Pro Stock class. After building a potent Duramax engine for the S-10 and refining the setup he drove the truck to championships in 2011, 2012, and 2013. But 2014 was a rough year for the NGM Diesel team when he got into the wall and ended the truck’s reign as the fastest diesel drag truck.
Fortunately, the engine and transmission survived the wreck enabling Moody to move into the fastest Spitzer Duramax dragster we know of. Moody and his team at NGM Diesel swapped the Duramax engine and Turbo 400 transmission from the Pro Stock truck over to the dragster you see here. After about three months of build time, the Spitzer dragster had the healthy Duramax engine fit between the rails and was making test passes on the track at the end of the 2015 racing season. And while the team has experienced many growing pains getting the rail down the track, the Spitzer Duramax dragster has already made its best 1/4-mile pass in 7.02 seconds at 195.48 MPH. Since they only made 10-15 passes with the rail and none of them were under full power for the full 1,320 feet the team expects great things as they continue to dial in and refine the dragster and expect to be running in the 6s at over 200 MPH in 2016 with the goal of eventually becoming the quickest and fastest diesel dragster on the planet.
Moody and his team started with the Duramax engine from the Pro Stock truck as the basis for the dragster. But it is far from a stock Duramax diesel engine, the 400 cid engine features a billet aluminum engine block with a custom bore and stroke combination the team settled on to maximize the drag racing potential of the diesel V8. An NGM Diesel crank swings a set of R&R aluminum rods and Diamond pistons through the cylinder bores that are capped off with a set of Wagler Competition Products cylinder heads that were built specifically to NGM’s specifications. To hold everything together Moody and his team rely on custom A1 studs to keep the crank in the block and heads on top of it. To actuate the valves, they designed a custom camshaft that works with the custom valve train they developed to maximize airflow in and out of the engine. Lubrication is handled by a dry sump system with a Weaver Brothers pump, Curtis Halvorsen fabricated pan and Stef’s oil tank. The system is plumbed with Aeroquip hoses and fittings and holds about three gallons of Pure Power oil to keep the engine well lubricated as it flies down the track.
BOOST AND SPRAY
Spent gasses are expelled through a set of custom fabricated equal-length headers made with stainless steel tubing from Flo~Pro. Each header terminates at an Industrial Injection modified BorgWarner EFR turbo charger running in a parallel twin-turbo configuration complete with a pair of Turbosmart waste gates to keep boost levels in check. Exhaust outlet pipes from both turbos as well as the pair of waste gates send the spent gasses into the air at an angle upward and away from the chassis above the rear tires. Mesh screens are fastened to the turbo inlets to prevent bugs and track debris from being sucked into the chargers but other than that they run unrestricted. The compressed charges are channeled directly to the custom long-runner Wagler intake manifold that was machined to NGM Diesel design specifications. Dual NX nitrous bottles are mounted behind the engine to provide some extra oomph as the dragster blasts down the track.
FUELING THE BEAST
The fuel system starts with a pair of Industrial Injection XP CP3 pumps mounted to the front of the engine that are driven with a custom cogged belt from the crankshaft. A PPE dual CP3 control module is used to regulate the demand between the two pumps. The pair of pumps delivers a huge amount of fuel to the Industrial Injection Dragon Fire injectors to squirt plenty of fuel into each cylinder on demand. Moody and his team opted to stick with a tried and true GM ECM to control the potent Duramax engine. EFILive tunes from Johnboy Jordan are used to get the most out of the engine. Since they are still using a factory ECM the engine is limited to 5,800 RPM but they are still getting plenty of power out of it. Moody estimates that the combination makes around 2,100 horsepower with about 2,100 lbs-ft of torque; a nice square figure to blast the lightweight rail down the track at a near 1:1 horsepower to weight ratio.
The potent Duramax engine is linked to a Rossler Transmissions Turbo 400 3-speed automatic GM transmission through a Suncoast billet SFI-rated flexplate and ProTorque torque converter. While a Rossler trans is a tough unit, David Gates and the NGM Diesel crew applied some modifications to it to make sure it would live behind the Spitzer Duramax. To protect the driver and vehicle from a catastrophic transmission failure the top side of the case is covered with a CSR SFI scatter shield. Output from the transmission is directly coupled to a set of custom-built rear gears and a Strange Engineering spool contained inside the Spitzer fabricated rear end housing that is solidly mounted to the chassis. Short Strange Engineering axles send the power to the wheels while a pair of four-piston Wilwood brake calipers clamp down on drilled rotors to help whoa down the beast at the top end of the track. Primary slowing at the top end of the track is handled by a pair of Deist parachutes that Moody releases electronically from a push button on the steering wheel or with a manual hand control from the cockpit if necessary when he crosses the stripe.
“…the Spitzer Duramax dragster has already made its best 1/4-mile pass in 7.02 seconds at 195.48 MPH.”
Much like the cockpit of a fighter jet, the cockpit of Moody’s dragster is all about getting the job of racing done with minimal distractions. He straps into a molded carbon fiber seat with a 5-point harness with a quick-release latch to help him exit faster in the event of an emergency. The two-handle steering wheel is mounted on a quick-release steering shaft and features four buttons to handle deploying the parachutes, applying the trans brake, staging bump, and transmission shifting that are easy for him to reach while driving the car down the track. A manual backup parachute release lever is located on the left side of the cockpit to be deployed in the event of an electrical failure. A Racepak digital display is nestled in the dash in front of the steering wheel to allow Moody to see vital engine details easily. Transmission gear selection is handled by a pneumatically actuated Precision Performance Products shifter mounted on the right side of the cockpit.
Turning your attention to the chassis, Moody and his team started with a 272-inch wheelbase 2005 Spitzer dragster chassis and built it from the ground up. Tipping the scales at around 2,050 pounds the slip-joint chromoly tube-chassis is covered in lightweight carbon fiber Spitzer bodywork with a small wing up front and larger one in the rear to help keep the chassis solidly in contact with the track as it blasts down the dragstrip. Skinny 22/2.50-17 Mickey Thompson ET Front tires are wrapped around a set of spindle-mount 5-spoke polished Mickey Thompson drag wheels up front. To put the power to the track the rear employs a set of Mickey Thompson ET Drag 35.0/15.0-16 slicks wrapped around Mickey Thompson Pro 5 double beadlock wheels that prevent the wheel from spinning inside the tire when Moody mashes the loud pedal. The chassis has a single wheel wheelie-bar to help keep the front end from flying too high when the lights turn green and Moody hits the throttle.
After Moody and the rest of the NGM Diesel team got the car running and hit the track late in 2015 they were able to make around a dozen total passes shaking down the car and trying to get it dialed in. Their best 1/4-mile pass tripped the lights in 7.02 seconds at 195.48 MPH in just their third pass with Moody pulling the parachutes early as the car was having some stability issues on the top end. We were able to watch the team make a few passes in person at the Rudy’s Truck Jam fall event where it recorded a best 1/8-mile pass of 4.49 seconds at 163.51 MPH. As the team continues to refine the setup and get it dialed in we’re sure they will continue to get faster and we expect to see them dip into the 6s and break 200 sometime in 2016, so keep an eye out and you might get a chance to see the fastest Spitzer Duramax dragster on the planet at a track near you. DW