Firepunk Diesel Dirt Drags
Dirt flying, engines revving, and a crowd roaring as you fly across the finish line. What more could you ask for? Firepunk Diesel put on their fourth annual Dirt Drags in September 2013, literally bringing motorsports back to its roots with head to head, run what you brung, good ol’ boy drag racing! And as if that wasn’t enough to pull you in, the proceeds were going to support the battle against cancer.
Pulling up toward the cornfield in Plain City, Ohio, questions were raking our minds, but as soon as the well-maintained dirt drag strip, FLY Performance Innovations dyno, and fleet of diesel trucks came into view, we knew we were onto something. After the seasonal harvest, the owner of Firepunk Diesel, Lavon Miller, and his family plowed down a large section of their organic cornfield and began carving their homegrown drag strip.
This tradition began four years earlier when a few of Miller’s friends had wanted a place to test their trucks and see who was the fastest of the bunch. With access to the fields and his fledgling Firepunk Diesel brand growing, an event was born! Now, with experience under his belt and a cause on his mind, the Dirt Drags has grown exponentially into a major attraction for the world of diesel and motorsports enthusiasts alike. This year’s event pulled in nearly 1,000 adult spectators plus their children who entered free, as well as almost 100 competitors ready to hit the track!
Another display of the good ol’ boys’ feel to the Dirt Drags event was the opening hours of the racing. The Firepunk staff opened up the field for any and all to mash the skinny pedal to the floorboard in heads-up drags. Everything from two-stroke dirt bikes to VW TDIs to hulked-out diesel pickups rolled up to the line and proved their mettle. Anyone with an itch for speed and a set of wheels could enter, and in the opening free-for-all, they could set up their own side races with whomever they wanted! The crowd and Firepunk Diesel egged on a few special exhibition races like a TDI vs. TDI match.
Following the near constant runs of thrilled drivers was a donation-based, all you can eat spread of all-American basics—hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the sides you need… and then some! The staff—mostly made up of Miller’s family—didn’t even flinch when faced with feeding the large crowd of attendees! As with the entry fees, proceeds from the food went to help support the fight against cancer.
With bellies full and that all-too-familiar need for speed burning, the competition was ready to start! The drag racing was divided into four simple classes: Modified Diesel, Stock Diesel, 2WD/Manual Transmission, and an Open class. With a timing and staging light set up on the track, the classes were then funneled onto the dirt by the Firepunk Diesel crew to punch the throttle in heads-up battle! The class winners would be decided by double eliminations.
Starting the frenzy was the Stock Diesel class with 22 trucks. Billowing too much smoke as a sign of engine mods would get you cut from this class, which gave the contenders a shot at glory with their regular, daily driver trucks. Next in the dirt was the large Modified Diesel class, boasting ranks of 56 trucks entered! This class would run several heats in a row to narrow the field as the afternoon action got going. The Modified class quickly showed itself to be full of some heavy-hitting trucks with all the power and torque they could dream of to propel themselves down the track. But with the slick dirt as an equalizer, it was anyone’s guess as to the winner of each round.
The grid of 14 racers in the 2WD and Manual Transmission class rolled up to the starting line next to take their chance at victory. These drivers showcased their high level of car control as they managed and corralled their vehicles down the track. Following them were the 17 vehicles in the Open class, which ranged between stripped-down trail rigs to lifted classic body pickups, that took to the field in their opening heats.
With the afternoon fading away and evening on the horizon, the fast-moving heat races of the four classes drew to a close with the finals on the way. Throughout the day, the FLY Performance Innovations crew running their DynoJet load cell chassis dyno moved several eager trucks up and over the rollers. Though the dyno seemed to run lower numbers compared to other events of the season, the FLY crew still had consistent numbers. Runner-up Jerry Adkins and his Cummins put down 551 hp, getting beat out by the last dyno run of the day by Marcus Weaver’s twin turbocharged Cummins, topping out at 608 hp.
After a few more exhibition runs to keep the crowd excited, the finals were ready to hit the track. With dirt flying high, smoke billowing and the tires spinning, the best of the day went head to head for the top positions! As the dust settled, we found Max Noll on top of the 2WD/Manual Transmission class and Mike Tissot winning the Open class. For the Stock Diesel class, Adam Orewiler in a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 ran runner-up with Jeff Dean and his 2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax clinching the win. In the Modified Diesel class, Josh Fisher in his 2003 Chevy 3500 dually came second to Brian Boysel’s 1997 Ford F-350 for the win.
The Firepunk Diesel crew and all their helpers put on a great event. Keeping the fans pumped with the near constant action and the competitors excited with straightforward head-to-head racing, the Dirt Drags did not disappoint. With the generosity of the diesel community supporting the great racing, Firepunk was able to raise more than $15,000 for the cancer-battling charity. Bringing the budding diesel motorsports back into the grassroots of racing gave a one-of-a-kind experience that we know you’ll want to be a part of next Labor Day weekend. We hope to see ya there! DW