8th Annual Rocky Top Diesel Shootout
While Olympic medals were handed out and world/Olympic records were broken halfway around the world in Japan, trophies, belts and ODSS records were earned and broken by the best of the best in diesel drag racing at the Crossville Dragway in Crossville, TN. The team at RLC Motorsports hosted the summer bash once again, welcoming diesel fanatics to join in the celebration of compression ignition at its finest with racing and vendor displays from the top shops and manufacturers within the diesel world.
The two-day event kicked off Friday evening with ODSS Pro Class qualifying as well as testing that culminated in Friday night’s Diesel vs Gas Shootout where four of the fastest diesel door slammers faced off against four seriously fast gas cars. During qualifying passes Friday evening, the first ODSS record fell when Larson Miller piloted the Firepunk Diesel/Hot Shot’s Secret Pro Mod S-10 to a 4.186 second 1/8-mile pass at 184.35 mph setting the stage for a great weekend of racing action. Expert motorcycle stunt riders Jesse Toler and Rodney Sargent performed mind boggling stunts on their high-performance sport bikes up and down the strip twice entertaining the crowd with every trick they turned.
Friday evening also featured TWO S&S Diesel Motorsport Grudge Races since the previous Grudge Race was rained out. With two S&S Diesel Championship-style belts on the line we knew the Greg Alberalla vs David Large and Corbin Hall vs Ryan Riddle would be great races with the drivers putting it all on the line to take the belt home. All four Dodge Ram trucks were prepped for the battle and ready to take on the Crossville drag strip. The first pair of Alberalla vs Large featured the racers crossing the line in a near dead heat with Large and his 2WD taking the win. Then Hall and Riddle lined up and handled their business with each truck running an identical 7.02-second pass and Riddle crossing the line first bringing home one of the coolest trophies in the diesel world.
In the first round of eliminations in the Diesel vs Gas Shootout two gassers took out two of the diesel racers while two diesel guys eliminated two of the gas racers keeping things even. Then the second round continued the trend with a diesel racer defeating a gasser and a gas racer dropping a diesel off the bracket. The final round found Jimmy Taylor piloting the fastest gasser of the night in the form of a beautiful ’68 Pontiac Firebird called the Warbird faced off against Larson Miller in the Cummins-powered Firepunk S-10. The pair lined up ready for battle when Taylor jumped a little early going red and handing Miller the win. Both racers still made good passes with Taylor and his Warbird clocking in at 4.59-seconds while Miller crossed the stripe in 4.27-seconds to the cheers of the crowd.
Fans in attendance were in for a full day of diesel action on Saturday with action on the strip starting the day off with qualifying passes for all classes. Simultaneously diesel enthusiasts were able to check out the racers and their rigs in the pits, visit vendors to see the latest and greatest parts to upgrade their ride, tailgate with their friends or check out the large crowd of nearly 50 show-n-shine entries. The motorcycle stunt team of Toler and Sargent performed two additional stunt shows during breaks in action on the track to keep the fans entertained with their death defying two-wheeled antics.
Not once but twice Jared Jones piloted the Scheid Diesel dragster to new ODSS records during the morning qualifying session. First laying down a 4.09-second pass then backing that up with a 4.078-second pass at 185.64 mph to reestablish the Pro Dragster record. Young Mattie Graves had her hands full competing against Jones in her Duramax-powered Hollyrock Customs dragster but thrived under the pressure when Jones and the Scheid team had problems on the start line with Graves taking her first Pro Dragster win here in her rookie campaign with the upset victory over Jones.
Another upset nearly happened in the semi-finals of the Pro Mod class when new record holder Larson Miller struggled to spool and launch the Cummins-powered S-10 in its normal fashion resulting in an atypical 5.83-second pass that would have sent him to the trailer had Steve Royalty not red lit handing Miller the win. Brian Gray won the other Pro Mod semi-final over Ben Shadday but cracked the block in his Power Stroke equipped Ford F-150 at the top end of the track. Due to the broke-bye of Gray in the final round Miller won the race simply by breaking the beams.
The Pro Street final round came down to Johnny Gilbert and his Stainless Diesel 4WD Dodge facing off against Michael Dalton and his RLC Motorsports/FASS 2WD Ram. Barely a tenth of a second separated the drivers as they crossed the finish line each at over 130 mph, with Gilbert’s 4WD taking the win despite transmission troubles earlier in the weekend that made the team unsure if they would even be able to race.
While the pro classes get all the glory for their amazing go-fast machines the racing in the sportsman Index and ET classes was excellent with tight battles throughout the rounds of racing with everything from hopped up daily driver trucks to work trucks and even a few sporty 3-series BMW diesel hot rods. Gavin Kramer of Firepunk Diesel was one of the BMW drivers enjoying competing for his first time in the team’s new to them BMW 335d that formerly raced under the Hot Shot’s Secret banner. Unfortunately, in the last round of qualifying Kramer spun the tires off the line and carried the spin nearly halfway down the track before losing control and slamming into the wall. He wasn’t hurt (other than his pride) but the car suffered major damage including serious front end damage and two deployed airbags. Lavon Miller says that the car is totaled but they will likely make it a full race car and continue to have fun with it.
There was some controversy in the first round of 6.70 Index competition when a computer malfunction during the round caused the passes to be treated as qualifying with breakouts scoring a win in some cases. To remedy the situation the ODSS staff, event promotors and Crossville Dragway team decided to rerun the entire first round. However, they did not restage the exact same matches which lead to having two separate groups of winners. After a driver’s meeting it was decided that winners from the first round and the re-run round would all advance to the second round which then proceeded as normal the rest of the day. Brett Marcum won the Firepunk Outlaw 5.90 Index class while Landon Miller took home the trophy in the Thoroughbred 6.70 Index class, Austin Swallows was victorious in the ATS/Diesel Power 7.70 Index class and Ken Phillips was the winner in the Jamo ET Bracket class. Nearly all the truck classes were won by Dodge trucks with the outlier being the Pro Mod class where the Cummins powered S-10 took home the win. The Pro Dragster class was the only class winner that was not powered by a Cummins thanks to the twin turbo Duramax that propelled Mattie Graves to her first win. The Duramax and Power Stroke guys have their work cut out for them to topple the dominant Cummins rigs, but that’s what racing is all about and we have no doubt that they will keep trying.
The RTDS8 event organizers have always strived to keep their event family friendly with activities for little ones in years past. This year they took it up another notch by having a bounce-castle on hand that saw almost constant use through the weekend along with kiddie races down the drag strip for dollar bills and treats each day.
As in years past the team at RLC Motorsports delivered a great event thanks to help from their team of staffers and volunteers along with the efforts of the sponsors and vendors as well as the Crossville Dragway. We are already looking forward to Rocky Top Diesel Shootout #9 next year. If you are in the area or can be for the 2022 weekend we highly recommend coming out and taking in one of the best diesel events of the year, we’ll see ya there!
Industrial Injection Pro Dragster
|Champion||Mattie Graves||015 Spitzer Dragster||4.64||146.32|
|Runner Up||Jared Jones||2016 Spitzer Dragster|
Suncoast Pro Modified
|Champion||Larson Miller||2000 Chevrolet S-10||N/A||N/A|
Hot Shot’s Secret Pro Street
|Champion||Johnny Gilbert||2002 Dodge Ram||5.377||133.89|
|Runner Up||Michael Dalton||2012 Ram 1500||5.506||134.33|
Firepunk Outlaw 5.90 Index
|Champion||Brett Marcum||2006 Dodge Ram||6.016||109.81|
|Runner Up||Dan Zelton||2007 GMC Sierra||6.074||118.11|
Thoroughbred 6.70 Index
|Champion||Landon Miller||2006 Dodge Ram||6.694||102.48|
|Runner Up||Zack Pierce||2003 Ford F-250||6.584||87.82|
ATS/Diesel Power 7.70 Index
|Champion||Austin Swallows||2007 Dodge Ram||7.689||84.67|
|Runner Up||Eugene Ogle||1972 Ford||7.661||89.86|
Jamo ET Bracket
|Champion||Ken Phillips||2006 Dodge Ram||9.672/9.64||67.5|
|Runner Up||Mason Burns||2006 Chevrolet Silverado||9.027/9.00||76.67|
Check this out !
Check out our live stream of the RTDS8 this year on our Facebook page! FB:@DieselWorldMag Huge thanks to our stream Presented By Sponsor Smeding Diesel and to BD Diesel