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Diesels Invade Gateway Motorsports Park

Six-second rails, nine-second trucks, and earth-moving pullers blasting through the dirt.

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This year’s Midwest Truckin’ Nationals event—hosted by the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA)—didn’t disappoint. In its third consecutive year visiting Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. (just outside St. Louis), this centrally-located event has a way of attracting some heavy hitters in the diesel drag-racing world. Competitors from as far out as Texas and Maryland made the trip to the ‘Lou, along with loads of trucks from neighboring states (namely Missouri and Indiana) coming out to compete.

Amid temperatures hovering in the mid-to-low 90s, the show would produce the first Duramax to ever delve into six-second quarter-mile territory, and a handful of trucks would run consistent nines in the Super Street class. Beyond that, we were witness to impressive side-by-side action in the Super Diesel (11.90 Index) class, and several veteran E.T. bracket racers doing their thing in the Sportsman class. By late afternoon, the action shifted to the dirt, where dozens of the area’s strongest running pulling trucks hooked to the sled. Read on to catch all the highlights from this year’s show. DW

Trekking all the way out from Fontana, Calif., was Wayne Talkington and his ’63 Kenworth. The 10,000-pound KW benefits from an A892 Detroit V-8 that’s fed by twin turbos, a supercharger, triple-digit boost and a whiff of nitrous to get down the track. Unfortunately, a few gremlins kept the truck from making its typical low 12, high-11-second passes—although it did put up a mid-12 before the hood was tilted forward in the pits.

With a 9.17 at 153 mph under his belt during Super Street qualifying, it was a new best for Anthony Reams and the XDP drag truck. During the final round, Reams would cement the pass as a new record with a 9.15-second run at 151 mph (NHRDA requires a one-percent backup pass in order to classify it as a record).

Vince Neiderhauser and his ’07 GMC have been a mainstay in diesel drag racing for years. A Missouri native, over the years, we’ve seen him compete (competitively) at the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza, TS Performance Outlaw Drag Race and various other events. He would take a stab at both the Super Diesel (11.90 Index) and Sportsman classes at the Midwest Truckin’ Nationals.

Sporting a new Spitzer chassis and dry-sump oiling system for 2016, the Scheid Diesel rail looked good on its qualifying run in Top Diesel. The 60-psi launch looked great, the eighth-mile yielded 175 mph, and then we heard a ton of rpm followed by the rail coasting to the end of the track. Once in the pits, driver Jared Jones, crew chief Jerry Frey, and Dan Scheid got to work solving the issue.

The most consistent truck in the Sportsman class was Texas-native Scott Mckinstry’s compound-turbo’d LMM Duramax (right lane). Ironically enough, he would actually win the Sportsman Class on his first breakout of the day (running a 12.31 on a 12.38-second dial-in) in a double-breakout scenario.

After running consistent 9.40’s all day, Chris Buhidar brought his A-game to the final round in Super Street. He either figured something out prior to the finals, or finally turned the truck loose for its last pass of the day, because his Cummins-powered F-350 clicked off a wicked 9.02 at 152 mph for the win.

You’re looking at the first Duramax to ever make it into the sixes. Wade Moody’s twin-turbo, nitrous-fed rail rocketed to a 6.99-second pass at 192 mph during qualifying. And thanks to a quick reaction time, Moody would also hold off the Scheid Diesel rail for the win in the Top Diesel Class later in the day.

Another Texas truck, this flatbed ’07 Dodge Ram 2500, owned by Larry Brown, cruised to victory in the 11.90 Index Class. Adding yet another Texas Dodge to the winner’s circle, his good friend Chris Perales would take home the win in the 10.90 Index Class with a nasty second-gen.

Veteran drag racer Matthew Misner and his triple-turbo Duramax mixed things up in the Super Street Class. While Matthew wasn’t able to match the truck’s previous best (9.65-second quarter-mile), he did click off a respectable 9.77 at 139mph. Unfortunately, in the third round of eliminations, the seasoned 6.6L let go at the end of the track. As impressive as this thing was on a mildly built engine, we have no doubt it will be an absolute animal once it’s up and running again.

This old body-style Ford is proof that even with roughly 350-rwhp on tap, you can still go drag racing and have fun. While Nathan Terrel travels much of the NHRDA circuit, this was as close to his hometown event as it gets in 2016. He competed in the Sportsman Class and sported a 14.65-second dial-in.

It’s nothing short of another day at work when you’re trying to get 2,000 hp down the track. While fixing the issue that kept the Lenco transmission from staying in third gear during qualifying, the Scheid crew turned a couple of fans loose in an effort to cool down the clutch and engine on the six-second rail.

Brett Deutsch brought his eight-second ’69 Chevy C10 out to do battle in Pro Street, which according to Brett, is cranking out 300 more ponies this year. Unfortunately, no traction could be found during the first qualifying run of the triple-turbo Duramax, and once the truck hit lockup, it kicked sideways and ended up in the opposing lane. Understandably, he did not make another pass on the day.

This hot-rod semi, owned by Jim Disher (of Jim Disher Trucking), ran the 1320 in 16 seconds flat—and it was being driven by his 16-year-old daughter, Charnie. Guess who also won the burnout contest later on? Charnie did. In addition to this ’52 Kenworth, the Dishers brought a chopped and lowered cab-over KW to the party, which put equally impressive passes together.

Jason Wayman’s common-rail Dodge, known as “Megatron,” pulled off a Third Place finish in the Limited Pro Stock Class. The Limited Pro Stock Class is a new name for trucks that used to compete in the old 2.6 Class, which permits both 2.6 turbochargers with map grooves (until 2017) or 3.0 smoothbore turbos, as long as a DOT tire is run.

Like a lot of competitors, Ben Shadday (of Done Right Diesel Performance) is still getting used to running cut tires on his Dodge, as well as an all-new 3.0 smoothbore engine under the hood. We were privy to seeing his deck-plated 6.8L common-rail Cummins come together at Fleece Performance a few weeks prior to this hook, and it was nice to finally see all 1,300-plus hp put to good use.

In what we’re told was one of its first hooks out on a brand-new setup, Darren Ruter’s Cummins-powered, ’84 Chevy ran as good as it looked. It would wind up out front with a 331-foot effort in a strong field of Limited Pro Stock Diesel trucks.

As the day’s action shifted to the dirt, Aaron Powell’s second-gen Cummins would find the most traction in the 2.5 Class, ending up with a distance of 299.44 feet. This class permits trucks to weigh as much as 8,000 pounds, allows the use of front-hanging weights, and dictates engines can only be fed with a 63.50mm inducer turbo (2.50 inches).

The last class to hook to the sled was the Work Stock category (no hanging weight, 8,500-pound weight limit). Aaron Cully’s ’05 Silverado would lug the sled 336 feet, and take the win amongst a pretty competitive field of GMs and Dodges.