Truckmania Brings out the Diesels!

California’s Largest Truck Event

Oh boy, oh boy! It’s Truckmania time again! For yet another year, California was able to host its all-truck event at Sacramento Raceway, one of Northern California’s premier tracks. The premise of Truckmania is simple: if it has got a bed….you’re in. What you do with your truck while you are there is your choice, but there are a host of events to choose from. There’s an enormous show n’ shine, a drag race, a donut pit, a burnout contest, a tough truck competition, and a sled pull that wraps up late into the night. Yep and all in all that’s 6 awesome events to choose from. That’s part of why the crowd is so big!

Second Gen Dodge Cummins
Even if they weren’t highly modified, California is the land of no rust, so there were plenty of ultra clean mildly-modified rides like this blue Second-Gen Dodge.
Second gen Dodge dually Cummins single cab
Valley Diesel Works brought another clean, cool, Second-Gen Dually to the show truck party. Little did we know we’d see this truck later!
modified 12 valve Cummins, Keating Machine billet valve cover
Taylor Swanson probably had the most-modified mechanical truck in attendance–this 12V Dodge that makes north of 1,000 hp. In case you’re wondering, the cool billet valve cover comes from Keating Machine out of Clinton, Tennessee.
Ford Truck by Fullhook Performance
Body swaps are still as popular as ever, and this neat old Ford was one of the coolest.

First up was the Truckmania show n’ shine, which had trucks lined up at 6am to get into the gate. With California there’s always a mix of old and new, along with a fair amount of swaps. Most of the newer rides (and there were plenty) were limited on engine mods, but had plenty of suspension modifications, along with ginormous (in some cases) wheels and tires. The older rides were centered around Fords and Dodges (aren’t many 6.5 Chevy’s around anymore) but the squarebody and OBS contingent was high. As far as swaps there were a couple Duramax muscle cars, some Cummins transplants, and even a Ford or two. We see an unusual amount of 7.3L Power Stroke swaps at this event, along with of course the ever-popular Cummins-anythings.

GMC truck with Wherli Fab custom mods
We spotted these twin GMC trucks that sported a host of mods, including underhood mods by Wherli Fab.
Donut Pit at Truckmania in California
The donut pit gathered a crowd all day long, with plenty of guys (and gals) willing to thrash their rides for glory and a whole lot of tire smoke.
Arkon Offroad 24 inch Rims, Amp mud Terrain Attack MT/A tires
Almost every truck (that wasn’t a restored classic) was on some type of wheels, like these wicked 24-inchers from Arkon Off-Road.
Rick Fletes Duramax powered 1959 GMC truck
For the second time this year Rick Fletes brought out his awesome Duramax-powered ‘59 GMC dubbed “The Babymax.” Look for a feature on this custom coming soon.
P-pumped compound turbo, first gen Cummins engine
If you want to be like Alex, and get your Cummins into the magazine when you’re only 16, having a bio explaining the build right on your truck helps. What also helps is a super-clean P-pumped compound-turbo powerplant in a 1st Gen!

As the cost of older diesels keeps rising, we’re seeing fewer and fewer trucks in events like the Tough Truck Challenge, or donut pit. The pit has a screaming crowd for sure, but it also has walls, and most rides risking whipping their whips around and riding a barrier are (ahem) pretty cheap. Lots of beat up gas trucks and clapped-out Mustangs. With the Truckmania Tough Trucks it was the same thing–other than the purpose-built race rides (V8 Rangers and such) that were haulin’ around the off-road rink. The Tough Truck event was also open to Can Ams, RZRs, and you can bet some diesel owners took full advantage of this extra event. There were quite a few tip-overs, but most were low-speed incidences, and nobody was hurt.

Truckmania vendor alley
A big part of Truckmainia is the midway, which has parts suppliers, vendors, food trucks, and hat and shirt sales. It was crowded all day long.
Lifted Ford F350 Power Stroke
Your 26s are so last year. We spotted this Ford rolling on 30s in the show n’ shine, along with some behemoth-like 42×16.50R30 tires.
Rick Fletes Duramax powered Chevelle
Rick Fletes ultra-sano Duramax-powered Chevelle is no joke, running 8.90s in the quarter-mile with an estimated 1,200-hp at the wheels. He also runs Dragweek, Raceweek, and a number of other events, and has driven it across country multiple times.
1,000-hp Cummins rat rod with SIX nitrous bottles
We haven’t seen it in a while, but Premier Performance’s “Six Pack” rat rod made an appearance at the event. In addition to offering deals on tons and tons of products, Premier just so happens to have an 1,000-hp rat rod with SIX nitrous bottles. Nothing like overkill.

Despite their heft, the dragstrip has always been one area where diesels have shined, especially in the full-size truck category. There were the usual number of lightly-modified trucks in the 13s and 14s (they run a full quarter-mile at Sacramento) but we were also impressed at the number of coal-burners that dipped into the 12, 11, and 10-second category. In other parts of the country this is sort of Cummins territory, but we were impressed that a number of Duramax-powered GMCs and Chevys were able to run an impressive number.

Fuel cell box, nitrous bottle, FASS fuel system
By mid-morning it was time to roll out at the drag races. We were surprised at the number of purpose-built trucks, that had fuel cells in the bed along with other fun stuff like nitrous bottles!
12 second P-pumped first gen 12v Cummins
We only were able to speak with the owner of this p-pumped 1st Gen briefly, but we did witness him click off a 12.1-second E.T. at more than 120 mph.
Dodge Cummins Truck, Chevrolet Duramax Truck, Drag racing
A bunch of engine revving at the line intrigued us, and yep, both the GM and Dodge were gear-bangers. The manual transmission trucks both ran respectable 14-second E.T.s.
6.6L Duramax Diesel Cadillac Escalade
Being in two-wheel drive definitely hurts your elapsed time, but it sure made the “Coal Rollin’ Cadillac” fun to watch.

Now, about the Truckmania Burnout Contest. We’ve seen this type of stuff before, and often it has a lackluster amount of entrants who are OK with doing parking lot standees, but afraid to burn some rubber in front of a crowd. Believe us when we say with $1500 up for grabs, and a whole lot of gas and diesel trucks on spare tires in the staging lanes, we knew it was going to be wild. In perhaps the best burnout competition ever, there was a full two-minutes available for participants to let loose, and you’d better blow your tires. There was also a “showmanship” category, where literally anything went. We saw huge flags, steering wheels being disconnected and thrown out the window, and plenty of cowboy hats waving above the smoke. It was insane.

LMM GMC Duramax
Dmax Store’s LMM powered, 11-second GMC has always been one of our favorites.
Cummins swapped Chevrolet Blazer
Tucked away to the side of the staging lanes was some show overflow, which featured one of the cleanest and most unique rides of the meet: this Cummins-swapped Blazer.
Truckmania Tough Truck/Side-by-Side obstacle course
A Tough Truck/Side-by-Side obstacle course was built just on the other side of the dragstrip, so spectators could alternate between slingin’ dirt and burnin’ rubber.
Truckmania burnout contest
The burnout contest featured a number of killer diesels. There’s a sweet 50s Ford? that’s diesel-powered underneath all that tire smoke.
Truckmania event stands
The stands were pretty much packed for the last event of the night–the sled pulls.

Tired yet?? Shoot we were beat by the heat, but we still had what many considered the main Truckmania event coming up–the sled pull. This wasn’t a small-town sled pull either, we saw some flip-body Super Stock trucks, and plenty of serious, dedicated hardware from Work Stock on up. Of course a number of street trucks got in on the action just for fun, and some of them did surprisingly well.

6.0L Ford Power Stroke Excursion sled pulling
We don’t know whether the wheel lights helped or not, but this blinged-out Excursion made a pretty strong pull in Work Stock.
Single cab Dodge dually Cummins sled pulling
Remember that Dodge that was in the show n shine a while back? It turns out he wasn’t afraid to get dirty! Many trucks did double duty, or even drag-raced too.
Ford Power Stroke sled pulling
Noah Bertao clicked off a 200.66-foot effort in his Ford F-250 in the Stock Class.

One of the unique features of the Sacramento pulling track is that it’s on a short oval course with a floating finish. It’s a rare occasion, but just sometimes one of the pullers will get out past 300 feet far enough that they’ll have to swing the truck around the corner like a Sprint Car, pitching the sled sideways at speed. It may not sound super professional, but let me tell you, nothing gets the crowd going like a 40,000-pound sled getting slung sideways. While there were a number of trucks in contention for the  feat, in the end it was the high-strung “Gettin’ Lit” truck that did the job, dang near pulling it into the pits with a 35X-foot effort.

GMC Duramax sled pulling truck
It IS California, so some emissions-legal trucks mixed it up with the dedicated pullers, we were impressed with the no-smoke 221-foot effort by Chad Heitmeyer.
Chevrolet Duramax sled pulling truck
Moving up a class was the hood-stacked CenCal Max, which had a good 274.8-foot effort.

The Truckmania sled pulls went well into the night, which made the action nearly a 12-hour event, from 10am to 10pm. If you’re thinking of coming next year (and we’d recommend it) bring plenty of water and think about camping on Friday night (which the track was nice enough to allow). Yes, diesel action is still alive and well, even in California (no matter what you hear) and look on Sacramento’s Race Calendar for an earlier Truckmania, the Golden State Diesel Fest, which is currently planned for April 8th 2022.

Ford Power Stroke sled pulling truck
The White Horse Ford was another strong but unassuming puller, and he clicked off a 263-foot pull.
Hoodlum truck, GMC sled pulling
It was time for the big dogs, and The Hoodlum truck was the first puller to cross the 300 mark, with a 302-foot pull.

 

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