Danny Diesel…

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.

The Truck

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.

After just the first year of racing his shortened ’96 Ram 2500, Daniel (Danny) Green made the switch everyone else in diesel drag racing seems to be making: he went common-rail. Partnering with Wagler Competition Products, an engine capable of allowing him to compete in the growing ODSS 5.90 Index class was assembled. It starts with a new CGI 6.7L Cummins block, which (along with the head) has been fire-ringed and conceals a factory, 10-bolt flange 6.7L crankshaft (anchored via ARP main studs) that swings a set of Wagler Street Fighter rods. ARP rod bolts, stock compression Mahle factory pistons, and a factory Cummins cam round out the list of hard parts residing in the block.
Up top, a fully ported and polished, fire-ringed, and solid roller-converted 6.7L head is fastened to the block by way of ARP Custom Age 625+ head studs. The head is topped off with a billet-aluminum valve cover machined by CFT Performance. Here, you can see the factory 6.7L fuel rail parked directly above a billet intake manifold, produced by Wagler to match the ported head.
Boost production comes in the form of a single S400 from Forced Inductions. It sports a billet, 7-blade compressor wheel with an 85mm inducer, and also uses a 96mm turbine wheel and a 1.32 A/R exhaust housing. Currently, peak boost checks in at 63-psi of boost and is sent through CFT Performance-built charge pipes and a BD air-to-air intercooler. Thanks to the engine’s stock compression ratio, the big S400 can be brought to life quickly during staging.
Turning to Exergy Performance, the Cummins’ fueling needs were met courtesy of a 14mm CP3 and 400-percent over injector combo. Down on the block, an ’06 5.9L ECM (the commonly employed CM849) is used to control the injection system, and thanks to the high-flow injectors Danny tells us just 1,300 microseconds worth of duration were needed to clear 1,600 hp (with the aid of a little nitrous) on Firepunk Diesel’s chassis dyno.

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.

A T6 foot exhaust manifold from Stainless Diesel helps drive the big S485, but it’s also equipped with a pair of external wastegates. The dual 45mm TurboSmart units should have no problem keeping the charger out of the drive pressure danger zone. Danny admits he has no major need for the gates yet, but knows that if both stages of nitrous come into the picture at some point they will get plenty of exercise.
The tried and true 47RH platform can be found behind Danny’s potent Cummins—this version having been race-prepped by Garden City, Idaho’s Ultimate Transmission. Billet input, intermediate, and output shafts, a DPC four disc converter with a 2,600-rpm stall speed, and a Hughes Performance deep pan highlight some of its upgrades. A full manual valve body from Sun Coast, complete with a trans-brake, commands the shifts.

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.

Within the cab you’ll find a Precision Performance Products Kwik-Shift Power Shift air shifter that’s activated by nitrous to both keep things simple and save weight. Shifts take place between 4,700 and 4,800 rpm when heading down the track. Notice the cup holder, a repurposed piston out of an RB26 Nissan engine. After all, with Danny about to embark on the 1,500-mile road trip that is Rocky Mountain Race Week as we went to press, readily available and cold beverages will definitely come in handy.

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.

In order to keep ATF temps in check, Danny relies on a remote mounted auxiliary transmission cooler from Derale Performance. Next to it, you get a glimpse at CFT Performance’s handiwork. The first-rate fabricated, one-off breather assembly serves both the engine and transmission.
Thanks to twin FASS Titanium series lift pump systems, there is never a shortage of fuel supply on tap for the 14mm CP3. The high-flow, 260-gph pumps route fuel from a 20-gallon STL Fab Shop fuel cell and send it toward the engine through ½-inch lines.

For optimum bite at the track, a four-link suspension exists in the rear of Danny’s second-gen. The fully adjustable system was built  and installed at Maverick Diesel, a shop that once raced competitively in the 5.90 Index class and now campaigns a Pro Street ride in the low 5’s. Throughout the 2021 race season, Danny has gradually been dialing the four-link in, as is evident by his low-6-second blasts becoming more frequent.

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.

No 9-inch here, Danny is still rocking the original Dana 70 that came under the truck. It’s been fitted with Yukon axle shafts and a 3.54 ring and pinion, but it remains in place nevertheless. It’s also been stripped of the leaf springs that used to reside above it, now employing a pair of race-friendly coil over shocks from Menscer Motorsports.
When Danny obtained the truck, it’d already been shortened and graced with a cage certified to go 8.50s in the quarter-mile—a perfect platform to build upon. The driver side Kirkey Racing seat is equipped with a RaceQuip harness. RaceQuip also kicked in a Pro 20 America helmet, helmet support collar, and other safety items essential in Danny’s racing endeavors.
A personal best pass of 6.01 seconds at 115 mph puts Danny close to the mark in 5.90. As he gets more comfortable with the new common-rail power plant, figures out the four-link suspension, and accumulates seat time in the truck, look for him to be a contender in one of diesel’s most exciting racing categories.
Lightening up the front-end, all the ¾-ton suspension was done away with in favor of a 5-lug 1500 model arrangement. To fine-tune things, the coil spring setup was fitted with QA1 double adjustable shocks.

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.

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

Much of the truck’s light, 4,000-pound race weight stems from the fiberglass body panels it wears, which were provided by Hott Bodz. The Upper Sandusky, Ohio company supplied the lightweight doors, bedsides, and hood. Further weight savings was achieved by replacing all of the truck’s glass with Lexan.
In addition to sponsoring the truck’s wrap, Opti-Lube Additives and Lubricants supplies the lifeblood for Danny’s race program. Everything from fuel additives to engine oil, transmission fluid to gear oil, and even grease comes courtesy of Opti-Lube. As for the Diesel World plug on the windshield…after hearing Danny’s story, we provided key industry contacts to help him kick start his diesel drag racing tour. Two years in, it’s been a win-win for both parties.


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