NHRDA Drag Racing and Sled Pulling Featuring Colorado’s Best!

Now in its 12th year, the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) has been busy hosting sled pulls and drag races across the nation to the delight of diesel enthusiasts. These competitions pit diesel racers from across the United States and Canada against each other in battles of drag racing and sled pulling diesel supremacy. On the pulling side of things, classes from Work Stock to Super Stock are represented, and there’s even a big rig truck class thrown in for good measure. On the drag strip, racers can compete in a variety of index classes, bracket classes, and heads-up shootouts.

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Sorry guys—in the 2.5 Class, it was Tammy Dolan who took the win by just a few feet in her ’06 GMC 2500. She was all smiles at the finish line after a solid 240- foot pull.

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Eric Whitmarsh had a strong pull in his ’97 Dodge in the 2.5 Class. Although the Dodge took a second to come up on the turbo, it quickly got underway to a second place pull of 238 feet.

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One of the most competitive classes in NHRDA sled pulling is always Work Stock, where local heroes battle against those following the circuit for an overall win.

On June 8, the NHRDA stopped by at one of its most picturesque and interesting stops in Morrison, Colorado. Aptly named “The Diesels on the Mountain,” the event’s near 6,000-foot elevation gave sled pullers and drag racers quite a challenge as they put their compressionignited rides up against the leaner atmosphere. With a healthy turnout at both the pulls and races, it didn’t look like anyone was intimidated by the thin air.

SLED PULLS

The action got started Friday night at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, where pullers from as far away as Texas and Utah competed against the best Colorado had to offer. Especially competitive was the 2.6 Class, which had a number of serious purpose-built trucks there for the occasion. Work Stock kicked it off, a class that allows a very limited number of modifications. For the second year in a row, Laird “Spike” Fuller took the win with a 289-foot pull, proving his ’08 Dodge was difficult to beat. Next up was the 2.5 Class, where an early pull by Tammy Dolan proved to be the mark everyone was shooting for. In the end, the guys couldn’t catch her and she ended up winning by a mere two feet with a 240-foot pull. The heavy hitter classes came next, with Rocky Horn’s classic Cummins-powered Ford, Southern Cumferdt, duking it out with last year’s winner in Half Lit. When the dust settled, Horn was the winner of the Limited Pro Stock Class, with a 282-foot pull. In Pro Stock, Tom Hansen took the win back to Utah with a 275- foot effort, and Super Stock saw Josh Creason take the victory with a 240-foot pull. The pulls wrapped up with the Semi Truck, Super Farm, and Antique Tractor classes, which were won by Rick Fenwick, Jim Darnell, and Charles Ruyle, respectively.

DRAG RACING

On Saturday, the action moved out to Bandimere Speedway, where diesels would battle it out down the speedway’s 1,320 feet to see who could come out on top. In the largest class, Sportsman, it was Arik Frost and his deadly mid-12- second Ram that beat all comers, running within a few hundredths of his dial-in and cutting a 0.07 light in the final. Jim Disher and Rick Fenwick were both fierce competitors in the Big Rig Bracket and Hot Rod Semi classes, with Jim taking the win in Hot Rod, and Rick taking the victory in Bracket.

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Josh Creason’s compound-turbo Duramax was the winner in Super Stock, with an impressive 240-foot pull.

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The winner in Limited Pro Stock was Rocky Horn’s ever-popular Southern Cumferdt, which is a classic Ford with common-rail Cummins power.

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Even though diesels are built for towing, sled pulling is still extremely hard on diesel trucks. This GMC’s rear hitch structure was completely mangled after it pulled its mounting bolts through the frame during a bounce.

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Jared Patterson’s Half Lit is an extremely hard running truck that can be seen competing at a variety of events in the West. In the Limited Pro Stock Class, he came up just short with a 272-foot run.

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In addition to the diesel trucks, there were also two tractor classes to keep the fans entertained: a Super Farm Class and an Antique Tractor Class.

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Moving up in the truck classes to Pro Stock, Tom Hansen’s Hybrid pulled a strong 275 feet for the overall win.

 

Moving into the index classes, the NHRDA has both an 11.90 and 10.90 class where competitors try and run as close to those numbers as possible without going under. In 11.90 (known as Super Diesel), the winner was the consistent Verlon Southwick, who clicked off an 11.98 in the finals, and runner up Joseph Sterkel breaking out with a gut-wrenching 11.897-second ET. The 10.90 class saw another Chevy winner, with Ray Ross from San Antonio, Texas, running an 11.15 in the finals.

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Jim Disher and Rick Fenwick battled it out in the semi classes, where both rigs ran low 15s in the quarter mile. At more than 90 mph at the end of the strip, the big trucks were really flyin’.

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Colorado saw a new Pro Stock ride in attendance: a very light 3,000-pound truck with a single turbo and nitrous. In testing, Dallas Theobald’s H&S Motorsports ride ran low 8s, but engine issues sidelined him at Bandemere.

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In the faster classes like 10.90 and Super Street, large compound turbos were the rule rather than the exception as racers tried to squeeze every bit of air into their diesels.

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Even with the high elevation, we were impressed with the good tuning on some of the rides. PC Stiers’ Dodge was one of the cleanest-burning rides, and he clicked off impressive high 11s with his common-rail dually at the strip.

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Cutting Edge Diesel Performance’s Matt Kubick surprised everyone by becoming the first 6.0L Power Stroke to crack the 150mph barrier in the quarter mile. The Ranger won Pro Street with a 151mph pass.

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In addition to the sled pulls, there were also drag races and a show ‘n’ shine at Bandemere Speedway. In the show portion of the event, Mark Vecellio took the trophy with his gray Dodge (center).

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Matt Kubick’s ride wasn’t the only quick 6.0L at the drags. We spotted this green nitrous’d 6.0L in the 11.90 class, where it consistently ran in the high 11s.

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One of the standout performances of the event was put in by the G&J Willys, which ran an astounding 7.46 at 185 mph, one of the fastest Pro Stock passes to date.

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H&S Motorsports brought their wild fourturbo dragster to Colorado. Having previously run 8s at 180 mph with a horrible 1.9 60-foot, the digger made 60 in 1.2 at Bandimere before problems sidelined the powerful rail with a 10-second pass.

The heads-up classes of Super Street, Pro Street, Pro Stock, and Top Diesel saw some of the fastest times of the event. Even at elevation, a number of Super Street trucks had run in the mid-9s at nearly 150 mph. Still, it was Anthony Reams and his unique common rail-powered ’95 Dodge that took the win, with a 9.39 at 149 mph. Pro Street saw the odd combination of a 6.0L in a Ranger break the 150mph mark, with Matt Kubick running a 9.73 at a blazing 153 mph. In Pro Stock, the ever popular ’41 Willys from G&J Diesel, driven by Jarid Vollmer, rocketed to 7.46 at 185 mph, its fastest time yet and nearly a Pro Stock record. In Top Diesel, the H&S rail, which had a good shot of being the quickest car on the grounds, had a malfunction with its air shutoff and coasted to a 10- second pass at a little more than 90 mph.

We saw some amazing sights in two days of sled pulling and drag racing. Rick Fenwick was able to win a class at both the drags and sled pulls with his Peterbilt; we saw the Duramax-powered Willys click off a new personal best; and a number of new rides debuted in both the sled pull and drag racing venues. The next time someone talks about elevation, don’t let them fool you—the action is just as thick up on the mountain. For more race coverage, check out Diesel TV and NHRDA.com. DW