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SURPRISE WINNERS AND UPSETS AT THE NHRDA WORLD FINALS

For 13 years now, the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) has held one of the most exciting diesel events in the country—the World Finals. Over the course of a season, racers battle it out in the sled pulling and drag racing ranks for a spot at the World Finals in Ennis, Texas. It’s the NHRDA’s season closer, a race that settles seasonlong points battles and gives racers a chance to win a coveted World Finals trophy.

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The Scheid dragster driven by Jared Jones set a quick elapsed time in qualifying with a 6.65-second blast. Unfortunately, mechanical problems in the finals gave the win to Wade Moody in his Duramax-powered digger.

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Larry Brown entered dual classes with his Dodge, Sportsman and Super Diesel. This year was Brown’s year for Sportsman, as he took a very close win against Trey Sikes.

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G&J Diesel’s Duramaxpowered Willys has been on a terror in Pro Stock all year, running consistent mid-7s at virtually every track in the West.

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Pro Street saw a surprise upset, as Lavon Miller’s 8-second Dodge had mechanical issues and Aaron Wiebe motored by for the win with an impressive 144mph trap speed.

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Gord Cooper’s Smokin’ Gun semi has to be seen to be believed; it set a new NHRDA record of 11.48 and won Hot Rod Semi in the process.

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The NHRDA’s 10.90 class has been growing in popularity as more and more competitors push their trucks to consistently fast times. The finals saw an all-Dodge battle between Will Terry and Chris Perales.

This year’s event saw closer action than ever, and with nine drag racing classes and six sled pulling categories, there was a spot for every diesel from mild to wild. On the drag racing side of things, the Top Dragster class saw the fastest times, with John Robinson, Wade Moody, and Scheid Motorsports all making the trip. In a heartbreaker of a final, the Scheid dragster had to be pushed back because of a leak, and Moody went on a single pass for the win, running a 6.97 at 197 mph in the quarter mile. In Pro Stock, the cream of the crop was the ’41 Willys owned by G&J Diesel and driven by Jarid Vollmer, which was nipping at the heels of the National record in the finals with a 7.57 at 184 mph.

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Wade Moody became the first with a Duramax-powered vehicle to run a 6-second quarter mile, and was deadly consistently quick on the tree and down the track.

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In addition to the drag racing action, there were different sled pulling classes to keep fans entertained. Everything from Work Stock to purpose-built pulling trucks could be seen all around the grounds.

While Top Diesel and Pro Stock are tube chassis creations, some of the most popular classes in the NHRDA are Pro Street and Super Street, which still feature full-bodied trucks. Pro Street is always interesting to watch, as a 4WD vs. 2WD battle happens at nearly every race. This time, however, it was two 4x4s in the finals, as Aaron Wiebe faced off against class favorite Lavon Miller in his 8-second Dodge. In a surprise twist, Miller had issues midtrack, and Wiebe streaked on to the win with a 10.1 at 144 mph against the faltering Ram. Super Street saw an epic battle as Chris Budihar faced off against Phillip Franklin. Buhidar pulled off the win on a holeshot, with a 9.44 at 150 mph to Franklin’s quicker 9.34. The last of the heads-up classes was Hot Rod semi, where Gord Cooper went way faster than anyone in a semi should, 11.48 at 116 mph with his twin-turbo nitrous-huffing big rig.

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The ironically named Pavement Princess was a winner in the Work Stock class for the second year in a row with a 342.01-foot pull.

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Texas local Vanessa Hyndman took the win in Limited Pro Stock with a 342.01-foot effort, squeaking by last year’s winner, Jim Greenway.

In addition to the heads-up classes, the NHRDA also has a number of index and bracket classes. The quickest of these is 10.90, where racers try and run as close to that number as they can without going under it. In the 10.90 class it was Will Terry against Chris Perales in a 2WD versus 4×4 battle. The finals also saw a rare double breakout, with both racers running under 10.90. In this case it was Chris Perales in his ’01 Dodge, 10.89 to Terry’s 10.87. If the breakouts in 10.90 weren’t odd enough, 11.90 also saw a double breakout, with Verlon Southwick taking the win over Larry Brown. Brown wasn’t done however, as he also made it to the finals of the Sportsman class where he beat last year’s winner, Trey Sikes, in his ’10 VW. The final bracket class was the Big Rig Bracket, which saw Jim Disher’s awesome ’71 Kenworth take the win with a 14.61 at 97 mph.

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One of the few Super Stock Diesel pullers on the West Coast, Jason Stott had his hands full with Jim Greenway, who had also entered the class with a second truck. Stott pulled off the closest win of the event, taking the victory by just a tenth of a foot!

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We’re not used to seeing Jim Greenway on cut tires, but this year he stepped it up a notch and entered the Super Stock class. Instead of scoring a double victory, he came away short in a laser-measured finish.

With a number of new winners, shattered records, and fast-paced action, the 2016 World Finals was quite an event. Congratulations are in order to all those who participated, and we’ll be looking forward to the 2017 season, where the NHRDA continues to provide one of the biggest shows in diesel. DW