ODSS Drag Racing Returns To North Carolina

Following a forced hiatus in 2020, one of the biggest events in the diesel industry came roaring back to life this spring. It’s called Rudy’s Spring Truck Jam and its return meant that East Coast diesel enthusiasts and drag racers were champing at the bit to get back on the eighth-mile track at Julian, North Carolina’s Piedmont Dragway. And even though Mother Nature shook up the schedule with rain and abnormally cool temperatures on the first day of action, the return to racing in the Tar Heel State would not be denied.

The first Outlaw Diesel Super Series points race of the season, Rudy’s saw nearly 40 trucks competing in the ET Bracket category, almost 30 competitors trying their luck in 7.70 Index, and a dozen or more drivers signed up in both 6.70 and 5.90. As expected, the usual intense action we’ve come to expect from the Pro Street, Pro Mod, and Pro Dragster fields was on full display as well. All told, 30 racers who made the trek to North Carolina walked away in the money—and in the process kicked off what promises to be a collection of very entertaining points chases in 2021.

After Saturday’s unfortunate rainout, the stage was set for a Sunday showdown for all ODSS “Pro” class eliminations. Leading the charge in Pro Mod were two of its heavyweights, Done Right Diesel Performance’s Ben Shadday and Firepunk Diesel’s Larson Miller, who met in the final round. Shadday had previously secured the number 1 qualifier spot with a 4.39 at 170 mph and, at least on paper, it appeared he threw a few more ponies at the Wagler-built Cummins in his ’63 Corvette for the last pass of the weekend. Shadday would cross the stripe first with a 4.36-second pass at 174 mph.
Stainless Diesel’s Johnny Gilbert took a wild ride during Pro Street qualifying on Friday night. With the same combo that usually sends the common-rail second-gen through the traps in 4.86 to 4.89-second intervals, the cold track said no way. After knocking the tires off and crossing the center line, Gilbert and team began pulling power out of the truck to try to get from A to B next time out.
A strong field of 12 racers were signed up to compete in 5.90 Index. One of two 6.0L Power Strokes that came to the show, Trey Dunavant’s big single Super Duty put up a 6.006 at 116 mph on Friday night.
Turba Tom blasted onto the Pro Street scene at Rudy’s Spring Truck Jam and even tree’d defending champion Johnny Gilbert. Tom would end up earning fourth place points on the weekend, but seeing a new face in the Pro Street field is always a welcomed sight.
After pulling an estimated 600 hp out of the equation, Stainless Diesel Pro Street driver Johnny Gilbert was eventually able to get down track without breaking traction. He would turn in a quickest pass of 5.08 at Rudy’s, which is off the pace of the truck’s 4.80s but still kept him about a tenth quicker than the rest of the field. In the final round, Gilbert would line up against Michael Dalton and edge out the hard-charging RLC Motorsports Ram with a 5.16-second pass at 149 mph.
Index racing doesn’t get much more consistent than Buddy Callaway and his LB7-powered ’03 GMC. Believe it or not, Callaway campaigns a 300,000-mile untouched LB7 Duramax in his lightweight Sierra—and even an IHI turbocharger! An S&S Diesel Motorsport fuel system, nitrous, and a Twisted Diesel 4L80E help him produce and hold the kind of power it takes to win in 5.90. After grabbing the number 1 qualifier and working through eliminations, the lightning-quick reaction times he’d been turning in all weekend paid off, earning him the victory. In the final round, he was able to steal the W from Chad Keeter despite running a 5.978 to Keeter’s 5.957.
It was a mad thrash just for Austin Denny and his 5.90 Ford to make it to Rudy’s. And even though things didn’t pan out exactly how he would’ve like, Denny and his 6.0L Super Duty managed to obtain a new personal best eighth-mile on fuel: a 5.88 at 119 mph. Here, he squares off against Dan Zelten’s nasty Duramax, a truck that’s been 5.72 at 125 mph in the past.
With 38 trucks signed up in the entry-level ET Bracket class, it was a solid start to the season on the participation front. Over the course of a typical ODSS racing season, more than 200 drivers will accumulate points in this category.
One of the more talented racers on the ODSS circuit has long-been Ohio native, Ryan Riddle. He’s known for collecting trophies in both 7.70 Index and ET Bracket, many times at the same event. He didn’t clean house in both classes this time—but he came close. Riddle took the win in ET Bracket (running a 7.70 on a 7.66 dial-in) and made it to the semifinals in 7.70 Index.
David Large’s freshly-painted ’05 half-ton Dodge looked strong in the 5.90 class. Equipped with S&S 400-percent over injectors, a 14mm CP3, and fed boost via one of Stainless Diesel’s S485 Godfather’s, some 1,300 hp is on tap before the nitrous kicks in. Large walked away with Third Place points at Rudy’s.
The third blue oval mixing things up in 5.90 was Brian Jelich’s 7.3L-powered ’00 F-350. He would break out against Chad Keeter (runner-up in the class) in the quarter finals but cut his best 60-foot to date in the process, a 1.32. Jelich also shared that his old dinosaur still has another 350 hp left to give, so look for him to go deep into the 5’s this year.
When a call went out on social media asking who had the fastest 4×4 Duramax record, more than just the crowd on hand at Piedmont Dragway saw what the guys at DHD did at Rudy’s. With Tyler Burkhard behind the wheel, the infamous fireball Chevy from UCC 2019 (“Last Minute Hooker”) turned in a 5.24-second pass at 143 mph in Pro Street. But that wasn’t all. Later on, Burkhard would put up a 5.23 at 145 mph against veteran Michael Dalton.
Surprise, surprise, team Firepunk and the record-holding Hot Shot’s Secret S10 made it to the finals in Pro Mod. Unfortunately the setup from Friday’s cool-weather qualifying didn’t play well in the sunshine on Sunday. Unable to get on top of the limiter at the line, driver Larson Miller was forced to leave at just 12-psi of boost. After the soft launch Miller did drive into power, but knocked the tires off and was forced to end the run. Despite the setback for team Firepunk, we have a feeling they will see plenty of final round racing as the season continues
Adam Foltz’s P-pumped 24-valve second-gen might’ve had a few folks worried in the 5.90 class. In a close race with David Large, Foltz didn’t miss the podium by much. His biggest problem (like many others in 5.90) is trying to slow the truck down enough to run the number. His old-school Cummins has gone 5.50 at 130 mph in the past.
One of the fastest if not thee fastest full weight street trucks in the nation belongs to Firepunk Diesel’s Cody Fisher. At Rudy’s, we were graced with his nasty third-gen Ram’s presence, where he and the truck competed in 5.90 Index.
Santjer Performance’s Matt Santjer made the 4-hour commute to Julian, North Carolina in his 335d BMW, entered it in the 6.70 field, and darn-near pulled off the win. The M57 diesel under the hood breathes through a set of triple-turbos, sports a pair of CP3’s, 100-percent over S&S injectors, BRR Tuning, and a stock (yet tuned) transmission. Santjer broke out with a 6.84 in the finals, but took home a solid Second Place against 12 tough competitors.
The home team got in on the drag racing action as well. Rudy’s Performance Parts sent its four-wheel drive Pro Mod Ford down the track in a hurry, with a best pass of 4.97 at 143 mph. Driver Nathannial DeLong achieved a long-time goal of cutting a 1.1-second 60-foot time in the truck, and then backed it up with a second one. Look for Rudy’s “other” Pro Mod to have a standout year in 2021.
Fresh off a 7.70 Index win at Diesel Truck Wars, Scott Morris brought his new creation out to play at Piedmont Dragway for further testing. Rumored to have a compound turbo’d 7.3L capable of four-digit horsepower under the hood, he was on the brakes a lot, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him bump up to 6.70 in the future.
Despite this being his truck’s first 5.90 event with nitrous in the mix, Chad Keeter made it look easy. After earning the number 2 qualifier with a 5.91 at 122 mph, Chad went rounds until he faced off against Buddy Callaway in the finals—which proved to be one of the closest races of the event. His runner-up finish in 5.90 is a great start to what may be a run for the championship in 2021.
The BMW 335d is being embraced more and more by serious drag racers. Adam Doan left his 7.70 Index Ford at home for Rudy’s but did show up in his ultra-consistent I-6, M57-powered ‘bimmer. By the end of the weekend, Adam and his luxury sedan found themselves in the 7.70 winner’s circle after a double-breakout scenario worked in his favor.
Like every ODSS event, a massive manufacturer’s midway was up and running throughout the weekend. Aside from slinging T-shirts and other brand paraphernalia, this is the place to go if you want to get the low-down on cutting edge or new products, seek help with your own build, or simply indulge in shiny-object-chasing.  The representatives that companies send to ODSS events are some of the most knowledgeable folks you’ll find in the diesel industry.


Dustin Canter epitomizes the new generation of drag racers. Entered in the 7.70 Index field, the youngster turned in repeat performances with his ’01 Silverado until reaching the finals against Adam Doan. He wound up in the runner-up position when all was said and done—not a bad performance against a host of seasoned index racers.


Watching a daily-driven 7.3L put up consistent 7.28 to 7.30-second eighth-mile passes isn’t something you see every day, but that’s exactly what David Keyser and his OBS Ford did at Rudy’s. A built engine, 350/200 injectors, and a big single help motivate his 700hp ’97 Super Cab.


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