Small-Town Smokefest

Drags, Pulls, and Dynoing in Oregon
Alot of folks fondly remember the old days of diesel racing, back before the big sponsorships and 2,500-horsepower dyno figures. In the old days, there were trucks that did less with more, and even in 2019, we believe that budget 10-second full-sized trucks are still pretty cool.

We enjoyed a big blast from the past in June at the fifth Siskiyou Dieselfest in Oregon. Siskiyou Diesel Performance, a shop in Central Point, Ore., hosts the annual event that features drag racing, sled pulling, and a dyno contest that’s part of the Northwest Dyno Circuit.


The festivities began with a meet-and-greet at Siskiyou Diesel Performance, where we got a glimpse at some would-be fast rides. It was definitely Cummins country, as a lot of the hot trucks were inline-six powered. We saw builds with towing twins, 160-hp pumps, and some with a lot of nitrous. We were surprised at the amount of lightening that went on — a lot of racers made use of “free horsepower” by reducing weight. It was clear the focus was going to be on drag racing, so we were excited to see what the next morning would hold when racing started straight away at Medford Dragstrip.

Source Automotive (also Oregon-based) brought out a common-rail Dodge that had us shaking our heads in disbelief. With a single S372 turbocharger, the truck had made 1,011 rwhp on the dyno, the first S300 truck we’ve heard of over 1,000 hp. It also backed up its power numbers with trap speed, running low 11s at more than 126 mph.
Unique creations were all over the pits at Siskiyou Dieselfest. Larry Strawn’s Fodge now sports triple turbos and some impressive low 10s on the dragstrip. Word has it that the “Fodge 2” is on the way, and it’ll be shooting for 8s!

When the gates opened, there were classes for virtually every make and speed of diesel truck, from bracket classes to an “open” class, where anything and everything would show up to race. Notable racers included Larry Strawn’s famous “Fodge,” a 1,000-hp Cummins-powered Model A on a Dodge 4×4 chassis. There was also Jim Calhoun and Great White Racing, which has been around since the early years of diesel performance. Source Automotive brought a hot common-rail that was redefining the limits of just how fast a single turbo truck could be.

After eliminations on the dragstrip, we joked with Mat Ray about how he was a ringer, and how you’re not supposed to be the fastest truck at your own event. Although drag racing was the main draw, there was sled pulling, too, and some hot dyno action courtesy of the Northwest Dyno Circuit.

Have you ever seen a diesel-powered Isuzu I-mark? Neither had we. It turns out that these 50 mpg cars were produced back in the 1980s, but the original designers probably never had a turbocharger and hood stack in mind!

Some standout performances included Corey Lingren taking the stock class at 567 rwhp in his Chevy, Cody Heath churning out 1,099 rwhp in the Small Single class, and Rex Gully’s budget 12-valve making 1,150 rwhp in unlimited.

Once the food had been eaten, the dragstrip smoke had settled, the sled-pulling dirt was slung, and the rollers had been spun, everyone agreed Siskiyou had been one good time — and many already have it marked on their calendars for next year.

Are you a hometown hero who thinks you have what it takes to compete? We’d love to see you there.

A drivers meeting was held before qualifying to determine classes. There were street and competition classes to choose from, along with index classes. They even had a class where drivers could race their pit vehicles!
Adam Aquino is another magazine regular, and we’d probably stop taking pictures of his truck if it didn’t look so darn good! His newest setup has run in the 9s, and it features an 88mm Garrett GT55 turbo and some nitrous.
Without many rules in the open classes, competitors chose to run fullon drag slicks to get the best possible traction.
Chris Krebs (near lane) has been at it for years with one of the most powerful VP44 pump Dodges in existence. He never was able to reach his 9-second goal, but still ran mid-to-high 10s.
Many of the street trucks were two-wheel-drive (or chose not to launch in 4-Hi), which resulted in some spectacular but slow half-track burnouts.
Jim Calhoun has been diesel drag racing since most of us first got into diesels. The multiple NHRDA champion figures he has more than 1,100 passes on his Dodge Ram, but tire spin problems meant he got knocked out early in the Bracket class.
By far the most entrants were in the Bracket class. By the final few rounds, most racers had to run within a tenth of their dial-in if they wanted to stay competitive.
Skyler Oestreich brought a new full-race build to Oregon and cracked into the 9s on the truck’s very first outing! The common-rail Dodge ran a 9.99 at a coasting 125 mph.
Mat Ray ran his Dodge all weekend with a cracked block, with the intention of blowing it up. It never happened, and the Ram ran mid 9.72 at 146 mph instead!
Definitely in the “doing more with less” category was this stocklongblock shortbed conversion. The Duramax-powered truck was lightened to the moon and was running 11s tune only!
What are we doing standing next to a Toyota? Well, in our cavalcade of weird vehicles, we ran across this old pickup that had a 1.9L VW TDI swap, creating a 40-mpg truck. Points for originality, even if it wasn’t fast.
There were more 11-second trucks on the dragstrip than any other E.T. bracket. In a ride like this huge four-door longbed, that’s quite an achievement!
Kenny Bruner brought his ultra-light Ram to the event, after clicking off some 9s in nearby Sacramento. The Capital Diesel Performance-built ride was busy making sideways, eighth-mile passes in Oregon.
Many racers were taking full advantage of the West Coast air by running serious turbo setups. While circling the pits, we spotted triples on this 12-valve Dodge.
Siskiyou Diesel’s race definitely saw its fair share of carnage, including a spectacular parts-through-the-pan engine explosion from this 5.9L Cummins.
Anyone could run on the rollers, from all-out race trucks to this OBS Ford, which hit a 368-rwhp number.
TJ Fagg’s Ford is one of the cleanest around, and it makes decent power, too. The Nevada-based rig clicked off a 415-hp number on the dyno.
After the action on the strip, many of the trucks made the transition to the dirt, where it was time to hook to the sled!
The “Seein’ Red” Dodge was built strictly for the sled and was one of the strongest pullers in attendance.
Chad Eastlick’s Ford was a strong competitor in the Stock class on the dyno and cranked out a nearly smoke-free 514 rwhp.
Don’t have a 1,500-hp drag truck? No worries! This manual transmission Ford impressed us with quick shifting and trap speeds hovering in the 100-mph range.

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