The Man Who Sold It All To Go Racing
Very few people are willing to change their lifestyle in order to chase a dream. In the fall of 2019, Daniel (Danny Diesel) Green turned his entire world upside down to pursue a career in diesel drag racing. “I sold the house, dog [laughs], and girlfriend [laughs harder], then bought a brand new truck for reliability and a used race trailer with a living quarters,” he told us. “I said you know what? This is all I need.” Indeed, he has lived in his race trailer and spent countless hours working out of accommodating diesel shops for going on two years now—all while maintaining a day job running a logistics company. “Drag racing is my night job,” he says.
Facebook Marketplace is chock full of unfinished project cars and trucks these days—and guess how Danny found his second-gen? Already converted to a short bed and fitted with a roll cage, the ’96 Dodge Ram 2500 represented the perfect starting point in Danny’s mind. “It was someone else’s project who had lost interest in it, so I decided to buy it and finish it.” Purchased as a roller, he equipped it with a compound turbocharged 12-valve Cummins, built transmission, new seats, performed a complete rewire, and got everything else ready to go in just 60 days’ time. As driven as driven gets, Danny was excited to get the show on the road and go racing.
The First Obstacle: Covid-19
Despite having the truck finished by February of 2020 and everything falling into place for Danny to travel the country to inspire others to live out their dreams, there was soon a giant hurdle in the way. “My race tour started in March of 2020, but so did coronavirus,” he said. “So I had a whole schedule mapped out—complete with sponsors on board—and then events started to get canceled.” After laying low that spring and hitting events whenever (and wherever) possible, Danny showed up at the second round of Diesel World’s Covid 660 racing series, where things began to take off for him. Although the big boost 12-valve would pop a head gasket and blow up soon afterward, it proved a turning point in what was to come in his drag racing journey.
Unique Common-Rail Swap
Following the catastrophic failure of his P-pumped 5.9L Cummins, Danny was grateful he’d become acquainted with Jeremy Wagler of Wagler Competition Products. Danny told us “I had all the 12-valve parts I needed to make 1,500 hp,” when approaching Wagler for the rebuild. “Wagler said I’m not interested in building you a 12-valve, but I am interested in building you a CGI block common-rail.” Danny gladly accepted the challenge of switching to a modern day Cummins. Foundationally, a factory 10-bolt flange 6.7L crankshaft resides inside the compacted graphite iron block, chosen for its weight and strength advantages over a traditional cast-iron crankcase. Wagler’s own Street Fighter rods, ARP rod bolts, factory compression cast-aluminum pistons, and a factory 6.7L Cummins cam round out the short-block parts list.
Ported Head With Solid Roller Conversion
In addition to the block being machined to accept fire-rings, the cast-iron 6.7L cylinder head received the same treatment. The head cinches to the block via ARP Custom Age 625+ head studs and has been fully ported and polished for a dramatic increase in airflow. It’s also been equipped with Wagler’s solid roller lifter kit, Manton pushrods, and dual spring valve springs. A billet intake manifold from Wagler ushers boost into the head, while a competition T-6 exhaust manifold from Stainless Diesel helps drive the Cummins’ big single turbo. The common-rail engine swap itself took place at Maverick Diesel’s southern Illinois facility.
Single Turbo & CP3
Not yet on the GT55 bandwagon, Danny is squeezing everything he can out of the BorgWarner S400 platform. In this case it’s an 85mm turbo from Forced Inductions, and so far it’s proven capable of supporting 1,600-rwhp. Thanks to optimized head flow, the S485 produces a fairly conservative 63-psi of boost going down the track. On top of that, the engine’s factory compression helps bring the big single to life quickly when Danny stages the truck. Four-digit fueling comes from Exergy Performance in the form of 400-percent over injectors and a single 14mm CP3. Twin FASS lift pump systems keep low-pressure fuel delivery on the up-and-up. For a little help on the starting line, Danny activates the spool jet in his two-stage Nitrous Express system.
Manual Valve Body 47RH
The best supporting actor in any high-horsepower diesel application is the transmission, and Danny enlisted Ultimate Transmission in prepping his 47RH for track duty. Billet input, intermediate, and output shafts add strength, while a Sun Coast manual valve body (complete with a trans-brake) allows for full control over the shifts. A billet, four-disc lockup converter from DPC Converters with a 2,600-rpm stall speed plays well with Danny’s quick-spooling engine combination. Shifts are typically commanded at 4,700 to 4,800 rpm.
Four-Link, Dana 70 And A 1500 Ram Front End
Proper traction and launches can prove the most time-consuming part of campaigning a two-wheel drive chassis in diesel drag racing, and that’s precisely where Danny has spent the bulk of his time in 2021. But after Maverick Diesel installed one of its fully-adjustable four-link rear suspension kits under the truck, Danny has slowly been zeroing in on a combination that works. The factory Dana 70 survives the hard hits of a 1.4-second 60-foot thanks to being equipped with Yukon axleshafts and a replacement 3.54 ring and pinion, while the front-end was converted to a 5-lug 1500 series arrangement to scrap weight.
Living The Dream Calls For A Busy Schedule
Danny’s new lifestyle might’ve gotten off to a slow start in 2020, but he spent nearly all of 2021 going from track to track, and event to event. “I’m going to a race every weekend and making between 10 to 20 passes per event,” he told us. In addition to competing on prepped surfaces—where he’s been as fast as 6.01 at 115 mph in the eighth-mile—Danny’s also had some luck dabbling in no-prep racing, and running mid 6’s while doing it. But that’s not all. As we went to press, he was in the middle of welding a receiver hitch to the truck in order to lug a trailer behind him during Rocky Mountain Race Week. Whether you find Danny’s second-gen on the drag strip, in his race trailer, or out and about on the street, you’ll find a friendly driver behind the wheel, inspiring others to live out their passion.
“The truck’s nickname is The Therapist… My ex-girlfriend said I needed a therapist so I went and bought one.” —Danny Green