A Tri-State, Truck Pulling Showdown With Big Money On The Line

by Mike McGlothlin

In the greater Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa region of the Midwest, the 8,500-pound Work Stock Diesel truck class has been a mainstay category in sled pulling for a number of years. But with competitor turnout seemingly dwindling in what was once a thriving class, Missouri native and avid truck pull fan, Josh Graver, decided to do something about it in 2021. He got in touch with S&S Diesel Motorsport, Midwest Diesel & Auto, Dermody Diesel Performance, and LinCo Diesel Performance for sponsorship dollars, created a $100 buy-in for competitors, and called it the Tri-State Shootout.

Designed to incentivize pullers to turn out for a three-hook, three-state series, a considerable payout was promised to the overall winner. It worked. Some of the strongest-running, purpose-built Work Stock trucks you’ll find anywhere showed up to throw down. Better yet, Dodge, GM, and Ford all saw solid representation (and no, the Blue Ovals weren’t Cummins-powered). We caught up with the series at its finale hook point: the Morgan Primm Memorial Truck Brawl in Petersburg, Illinois. When the dust settled, a Cummins would win the battle, but a Duramax ended up winning the war.

Borg Warner Single Turbo with HSP LML Duramax intercooler piping
Rules for this region’s particular Work Stock diesel truck class dictate that either a stock-appearing or a single, T4 flange S300 turbocharger be run. In the earlier days of the class, stock-appearing Garrett VVT’s (many 72mm) put the Duramax camp out front. These days, the S300 platform is more preferred, not to mention that it has leveled the playing field. For competitors who opt to run an S300, the charger must feature a true bore inducer (no bushings) and a compressor wheel inducer diameter of 2.6-inches (66mm), measured via a 2.65-inch plug during the tech process prior to each pull.
Wherli Customs Duramax Twin CP3 Kit Black Anodized Pulley
Be it under Cummins, Duramax, or Power Stroke power, common-rail injection dominates the landscape in Work Stock. The rulebook allows for the use of multiple high-pressure fuel pumps (i.e. dual CP3’s), but while a handful of trucks sport two pumps most have turned to a single stroker version from either S&S Diesel Motorsport or Exergy Performance. Thanks to healthy fueling, horsepower typically exceeds 800 hp on most trucks in the class, with many making upward of 900 hp—and at least one making a dyno confirmed 1,000-plus horsepower at the crank.
Long bed Chevrolet Duramax diesel
The maximum operating weight permitted in Work Stock checks in at 8,500 pounds, and every competitor has to roll across the portable scale before being allowed to hook. All trucks must also utilize a receiver style hitch, with the maximum allowed hitch height being 26-inches. Other stipulations require that each truck retains its factory wheelbase and track width, that the rear axle must have been an option on a 1-ton or smaller pickup truck, and that non OEM transmissions and transfer cases are prohibited.
2019 crew cab long bed Ford F-350 Power Stroke
One of two Blue Ovals in the class, Ian Gebbia turned down his first hook and added a few extra feet his second time around. While his ’19 crew cab long bed F-350’s distance of 259.74 feet earned him a 12th Place overall finish, it was a strong-showing for a basically new, barely-beyond stock 6.7L Power Stroke.
Exergy Stroker CP4.2, a 64/67mm Whistler drop-in VGT and piping kit from No Limit Fabrication, Competition 6R140 from Midwest Diesel & Auto
Ian Gebbia’s late-model Super Duty sports a 100-percent stock 6.7L Power Stroke, but it’s been graced with a stroker CP4.2 from Exergy, a 64/67mm Whistler drop-in VGT and piping kit from No Limit Fabrication, and a Competition 6R140 from Midwest Diesel & Auto. A set of One Up Offroad long-gusset traction bars keep the rear axle planted and the all-terrains digging.
2005 Dodge Cummins Dually
Eric Loy’s ’05 Dodge 3500 tore down the track to the tune of 312.67-feet. In doing so, he pulled off the win and put two feet on Second Place. The veteran puller stuck to the right side of the track, which not only benefitted the dually’s, but most trucks in the class.
third-gen Dodge 5.9L Cummins diesel ATS Arc Flow Cold Air Intake
Under the hood of Eric Loy’s third-gen sits a 5.9L Cummins that was once rebuilt, but that still sports the stock rods and pistons. A Scheid Diesel camshaft, fire-ringed head, and 14mm head studs highlight his additional hard-part upgrades while a 14mm CP3 supports 200-percent over injectors from Exergy. Tucked down low in the factory location, you’ll find a 66mm S300. A recent switch a Kenny’s Pulling Parts clutch in the NV5600 and a re-gear to 4.56:1 allows him to build plenty of ground speed in 4-Lo and fourth gear—and he believes that helped him take the win.
2006 Dodge Cummins Dually single cab
Having a short wheelbase doesn’t really seem to effect Joe Dowson’s ’06 Dodge. He described his strong Work Stock run in 2021 as a “great year,” and that it was made possible due to the Slayback Diesel Performance engine under the hood. Along with winning the Work Stock points chase in a separate organization (Central Illinois Truck Pullers), Joe and his standard cab common-rail were a force to be reckoned along the United Pullers of America circuit. Here in Petersburg, Joe would travel 307.58 feet before the sled brought him to a halt—a Third Place finish on the day.
2004 GMC LB7 Duramax PPE CP3
This ’04 GMC has been a consistent Work Stock contender for many years, and when Chance Meyer fired it up and pulled it out of storage for the Tri-State Work Stock Shootout all he did was change the oil and install new batteries. Driven by good friend, Chris Hieronymus, Chance’s proven Duramax went 303.44 feet. The GMC’s Fifth Place finish was the best performance of the day for a single rear wheel truck.
2004 Chevy LB7, R&R rods, PPE fly-cut 15:1 compression pistons, 192/200 Hamilton cam, ported heads, S366 SX-E, Wehrli Custom Fabrication remote-mount turbo kit. Eight-hole, 100-percent over Exergy injectors, PPE dual fueler , 150-gph FASS lift pump system, IOD-built Allison
Chance Meyer’s LB7 was built at Illini Outlaw Diesel and is composed of R&R rods, PPE fly-cut 15:1 compression pistons, a 192/200 Hamilton cam, and ported heads. For air, he runs an S366 SX-E on the passenger side of the engine bay thanks to a Wehrli Custom Fabrication remote-mount turbo kit. Eight-hole, 100-percent over Exergy injectors, a PPE dual fueler arrangement, and a 150-gph FASS lift pump system sums up the fuel delivery side of the equation. The truck gets down the track courtesy of an IOD-built Allison that’s left in third gear, and the transfer case locked in 4-Lo.
2007 Dodge Cummins sled pulling truck
Heading in to the final hook of the Work Stock Shootout, John Koppelmann’s ’07 Dodge was on a tear. In fact, he was poised to win the whole shebang if Petersburg went according to plan. However, despite campaigning one of the hottest running trucks the class has ever seen, being a single rear wheel truck on what looked like a dually track seemed to hurt John’s chances at go-time. He would end up traveling 301.55 feet for Sixth Place overall.
LinCo Diesel Performance-prepped long-block, Wagler Street Fighter rods, fly-cut and coated pistons, fire-ringed block and head, Hamilton 188/220 cam, ported head, S&S injectors with 350-percent over nozzles, 14mm CP3, S&S 2,400 bar pressure relief valves, 71mm Holset HE351CW Tater Built Turbochargers.
John Koppelmann’s potent engine combination consists of a LinCo Diesel Performance-prepped long-block. A lightened crank, Wagler Street Fighter rods, fly-cut and coated pistons, fire-ringed block and head, a Hamilton 188/220 cam, and a ported head are all part of the package. Full S&S fueling consists of injectors that’ve been fitted with 350-percent over nozzles, a 14mm CP3, and one of S&S’s 2,400 bar pressure relief valves. The icing on the cake is a stock-appearing, 71mm Holset HE351CW from Tater Built Turbochargers.
2005 Chevy Duramax Dually sled pulling truck
Moving the sled 310.43 feet, Aaron Cully not only grabbed a Second Place finish, but he also secured the points win in the Work Stock Shootout. Beyond that, Aaron drove his ’05 Chevy to a UPA points championship in 2021, along with a Second Place points finish in the Central Illinois Truck Pullers association.
LLY Duramax, Carrillo rods, Mahle cast-aluminum pistons, S&S Diesel Motorsport 14mm CP3 and 200-percent over injectors, 66mm S300, fixed geometry charger, WC Fab intake, Banks intercooler, Wagler cast street intake
Aaron Cully’s battle-proven LLY Duramax was put together by Maul’s Shop and makes use of Carrillo rods, Mahle cast-aluminum pistons, and a factory crank with 328,000 miles on it (and counting). S&S Diesel Motorsport supplied the 14mm CP3 and 200-percent over injectors Aaron runs, while a 66mm S300 got the call in the valley. The fixed geometry charger is supported by a WC Fab intake, a Banks intercooler, and a Wagler cast street intake. Mark Broviak tuning gleans an estimated 900 hp and 1,300 lb-ft of torque out of Aaron’s strong-running setup.
2006 Chevy Silverado Dually sled pulling diesel
Seasoned puller, Lee Stiltz, acquired this ’06 Silverado, which was specifically built to compete in the Work Stock field, in 2021 and immediately began campaigning it. On the final leg of the Work Stock Shootout, Lee would wind up fourth with a 305.54-foot hook, exactly 2 feet behind Joe Dowson’s Third Place distance.
LBZ Duramax, externally balanced crank, Wagler I-beam rods, stock compression Mahle pistons, Wagler ported heads, S300 turbo, 165-gph AirDog system, twin CP3’s, Ordnance injectors by S&S Diesel Motorsport, Dermody all-billet Allison
Lee’s LBZ Duramax was built at Dermody Diesel Performance, sports an externally balanced crank, Wagler I-beam rods, stock compression Mahle pistons, Wagler ported heads, and breathes through an S300 built by Nick Stamm. A 165-gph AirDog system supplies fuel to a pair of CP3’s, which feed eight Ordnance injectors provided by S&S Diesel Motorsport. A Dermody-prepped, all-billet Allison gets Lee down the track in fourth gear and with 4-Lo selected in the transfer case.
2nd gen Dodge Cummins 12 valve sled pulling truck
Believe it or not, once upon a time you would’ve seen Nick Strack’s second-gen sitting in his high school’s parking lot. Now, it’s living life exclusively as a Work Stock Dodge, and is one of the only P-pumped trucks in the class. When the green flag waved, his regular cab Ram pulled the sled 282.34 feet before stopping.
Shot-peened 12-valve rods, 188/220 Hamilton cam, 5.9L Cummins, Haley Speed Innovations 5x.018 injectors, 13mm P7100 from Scheid Diesel, S366 SX-E provides boost
Shot-peened 12-valve rods, a 188/220 Hamilton cam, and a host of supporting parts exist in Nick Strack’s 5.9L Cummins. Haley Speed Innovations 5x.018 injectors mesh well with a 13mm P7100 from Scheid Diesel (set to flow 650cc’s of fuel), and an S366 SX-E provides boost. Nick’s setup has remained unchanged over the past four years, but he continues to keep pace with the big dogs of the Work Stock class.
2009 Ford F-350 Power Stroke dually
As truck pulling fanatics, Nick and Sean Christy own four competitive pulling trucks. This is Sean’s ’09 F-350 dually, piloted here by Nick. His 300.90-foot, Seventh Place hook in Work Stock was off the pace of its typical top five or better finishes, but Sean would get some revenge later in the day with a First Place pull in the Open class.
6.4L Power Stroke, Nick Stamm S366. R&R connecting rods and Diamond pistons, 100-percent over injectors, twin K16’s from Midwest Diesel & Auto, Midwest Competition 5R110W
Per the UPA Work Stock class rules, 6.4L Power Stroke engines can use the factory compound arrangement, but Sean and Nick Christy’s is equipped with a Nick Stamm S366. R&R connecting rods and Diamond pistons reside in the block, while 100-percent over injectors and twin K16’s from Midwest Diesel & Auto bring some big time fuel to the table. A Midwest Competition 5R110W helps the 6.4L get as much power to the ground as possible.
2001 Chevrolet Silverado Duramax
Even though Reid Aberle knew he’d be a bit outgunned in the Work Stock Shootout, he gave it a go in his ’01 Silverado anyway. Despite the odds, Reid pulled off a Tenth Place distance of 268.37 feet in his well-kept, supremely-clean LB7.
12mm Exergy CP3, 60-percent over injectors, Quantum-Max drop-in turbo from Wold Fabrication, IHI, billet 64mm compressor wheel, CNC-ported exhaust housing, Allison, Sun Coast parts, a rear AAM 1150 graced, Detroit Truetrac, AAM 925, Eaton E-locker
Reid’s 20-year-old Duramax makes its estimated 650-rwhp thanks to a 12mm Exergy CP3, 60-percent over injectors, and a Quantum-Max drop-in turbo from Wold Fabrication. The stock-appearing IHI unit utilizes a billet 64mm compressor wheel and a CNC-ported exhaust housing. An Allison with a host of Sun Coast parts, a rear AAM 1150 graced with a Detroit Truetrac, and an AAM 925 fitted with an Eaton E-locker aid Reid’s journeys down the track.
2004 GMC Sierra Duramax with ZF-6 transmission
The anomaly of the Work Stock class is Austin Aschemann’s ’04 Sierra. Why is his ultra-clean GM such an outlier? He bucks the Allison trend and uses a ZF-6 transmission. In an effort to build more ground speed in Petersburg, Austin tried pulling in second gear and on the high side of the transfer case. He thinks it worked, and his 276.36-foot distance earned him a Ninth Place finish.
LB7 Duramax, 150-percent over S&S injectors, a12mm CP3, 67.7mm Stealth turbo Duramax Tuner, South Bend dual disc clutch sits, ZF-6’s bellhousing
Not afraid of rolling the dice on a stock bottom end, Austin’s LB7 Duramax has been treated to 150-percent over S&S injectors, a 12mm CP3, and a 67.7mm Stealth turbo from DuramaxTuner. To get him off the starting line and harness the LB7’s power, a South Bend dual disc clutch sits within the ZF-6’s bellhousing.
2002 Chevy Duramax Diesel Sled pulling truck
Andrew Karker’s ’02 Chevy bounces back and forth between Work Stock and the Pro Street Diesel Truck class (2.6 smooth bore) with a simple turbo change, but his LB7 was in Work Stock trim this time around. Driven by Mitchell Ruder, the truck appeared to be on a strong pass until differential issues surfaced. This limited the 800-plus horsepower Bow Tie to a 234.40-foot distance. Rest assured, if a Work Stock Shootout is held in 2022 this truck will likely be a strong contender.
2004 GMC Duramax Diesel
When it was time for Mitchell Ruder’s ’04 GMC to move the sled, his brother Paul hopped in the driver seat. Paul would drag the iron sleigh 267.08 feet, an 11th Place in the final standings. Later in the day, the truck would go 327 feet and change in its native, Stock Turbo class.
LB7 Duramax, 30-percent over Exergy injectors, a Sportsman CP3, EFI Live tuning, ARP head studs, chromoly pushrods, Allison, Precision triple-disc converter, billet C2 hub, PPE clutches
It might not breathe fire, but if any of these trucks has to get someone to work come Monday morning, we’re betting it’s Mitchell’s. The 218,000-mile LB7 Duramax has never been cracked open despite the factory turbo living on the brink thanks to 30-percent over Exergy injectors, a Sportsman CP3, and precise EFI Live tuning. He did throw in some ARP head studs and chromoly pushrods for added insurance, along with building the Allison using a Precision triple-disc converter, billet input and output, a billet C2 hub, and PPE clutches.
2nd gen Dodge Cummins P-pumped 12-valve dually
Thomas Dixon mixed things up in Work Stock as the only other P-pumped 12-valve in the class. The second-gen dually yanked the sled 252.31 feet before no further progress could be made.

 

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