Bad Weather Can’t Put A Damper On Annual Event
What started out as a local event a few short years ago has now become a staple, twice a year, on the diesel calendar. Rudy’s Truck Jam, hosted by Rudy’s Diesel Performance of Durham, North Carolina, shows no signs of stopping its growth. The crowds have grown stronger and the competition more fierce with nationally known racers showing up to compete in the Tar Heel State. Despite less than desirable weather conditions, fans still flocked to the Piedmont Dragway in Julian, North Carolina, for the October show.
Typically, the Truck Jam would feature side-by-side drag racing, a show and shine, an all-day dyno for event goers, and ground-pounding truck and tractor pulling. Mother Nature insisted the drag racing be cut short one pass into the Pro Street class where Darren Morrison and Micah Sullivan raced the raindrops out the backdoor while track officials called the first and only rain delay of the afternoon. Mother Nature was not a drag racing fan Saturday afternoon as rain fell steadily right up until the sled pulling was slated to begin. Showing true sportsmanship, the folks at Rudy’s split the winnings of each of the drag racing classes between the registered competitors.
Rain, rain, go away, and that it did, just in time for the Carolina Truck and Tractor Pullers track crew to work the red clay track over once more. Six diesel truck classes were ahead, featuring 2.5, 2.6, 3.0, Super Stock Diesel, Work Stock, and lastly, an Open class. Fans endured the rain and cooler than normal temperatures to see the best sled pulling experience at Rudy’s Truck Jam to date. An empty field for parking transformed itself into pit row where semi trucks were aplenty, not competing, but transporting the finest of diesel competitors, where names like Haisley and Scheid always provide for a great show. Dylan Coutts likewise made the journey from Windsor, Maine, to be a part of the big show.
Starting off was a tight 2.5 class featuring the event sponsor, Aaron Rudolph, and the 2013 Diesel Power Challenge winner, Wesley Beach. Both trucks put on a great show, however fell short of the podium with the top spot going to April Browning, second to Jody Pearson, and third to Randy Nall.
The 2.6 class delivered tight competition with less than 3 feet separating first to third and only inches separating second and third. Local favorite Christopher Brandon made a nice pass as well, coming in fourth with the top three being Adam Hallien, Chase Ellers and Rob Wright.
Previewing what fans had to look forward to in the Super Stock class were the 3.0 drivers. As power increases, the crowd gets more involved and competition becomes tighter. The 3.0 class was completely imported; not a single driver in the lineup claims North Carolina as their home. This fact alone goes to show the growth of this event and the type of competition being drawn in. Terry Biggs of Indiana powered “24V Blackout” to a first place pass with a distance of 318.52 feet, followed by Dylan Coutts of Maine in “High Voltage” at 315.60 feet, and Andrew Grove from Pennsylvania at 312.08 feet.
Temperatures continued to drop and a light rainshower created slick track conditions for what was to come, Super Stock Diesel. Arguably the most entertaining class to watch, the only thing stock appearing about these beasts is the shape of the body. Often times, they can be seen in the pits with not their hoods up, but the bodies, much like funny cars, as crews make final preparations for the pass ahead.
Anticipation from the fans ran high as Curt Haisley backed “Rock Hard Ram” to the sled for the first hook ever in this class at Rudy’s Truck Jam. Curt’s pass was good enough for third place at 277.72 feet. Erik Stacey powered his Cummins-powered Silverado, “Smoknya HD,” to second place with a distance of 284.43 feet, and Shane Kellogg put “Gotta Have It” in the winners circle once more with a 286.10-foot pull.
Finishing up the pulling action was the Open class. Your top three in Open were Eric Whitfield with a distance of 327.72 feet, followed by Rob Wright in second with 325.29 feet and third place going to Lee Daniels with 268.92 feet.
Despite the bad weather and cancellation of the drag racing action, fans stuck it out at the Piedmont Dragway and yet another Rudy’s Truck Jam is in the books. For more information on next year’s event, which is gradually becoming a bucket-list show for diesel enthusiasts, check with Rudy’s Diesel at (866) 757-6537 or visit their website at www.rudysdiesel.com. DW