For most of the Midwest and Eastern diesel motorsports competitors, the annual Rudy’s Fall Truck Jam is the culmination of a long season of diesel racing and pulling. The 2016 event was set to be the big finale for the ODSS on the drag strip as well as a double-header two-night finale for the PPL on the pull track. In addition to thousands of spectators, hundreds of the top pullers and drag racers in the country and many of the best manufacturers and shops in the diesel world descended upon Julian, NC, to take in two days of planned diesel action on the weekend of October 7 and 8, 2016. Unfortunately, Hurricane Matthew reared its ugly head causing devastation as it tore up the Eastern Coast, hitting Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Even though Julian is about three hours inland, the area was still heavily impacted by the rain that steadily fell throughout the day Friday and Saturday. (We were told that more than 4 inches fell in one day at the track.) Of course, hurricane-driven storms are not conducive to drag racing or sled pulling and this one caused the activities to be rained out both Friday and Saturday at Piedmont Dragway.

Hurricane Matthew threw a wrench in the planned weekend activities for Friday and Saturday. Thankfully, the crew at Rudy’s Diesel Performance opened their shop and dyno to allow spectators, racers, and vendors a place to gather and have some diesel fun.
M. Duval’s great looking white 2013 Ford F-350 was one of the three trucks to break 1,000 horsepower on the chassis dyno.
M. Duval’s great looking white 2013 Ford F-350 was one of the three trucks to break 1,000 horsepower on the chassis dyno.
M. Chapman’s 2008 Dodge also bested the 1,000hp mark on the rainy dyno day.

So rather than simply turn away vendors, racers and spectators, the crew at Rudy’s Diesel Performance opted to host an open house at their shop on Friday afternoon. Manufacturers set up displays in the cavernous showroom while spectators and racers mingled, checking out the latest diesel performance products and sharing racing stories from the past. They also opened up their dyno room and handed over the controls to the team from Mass Diesel Performance to operate the dyno for several hours, letting those that were interested to attack the rollers. A total of fourteen trucks ran across the dyno, with all but one putting down more than 500 hp and the top three trucks breaking the 1,000hp barrier. The highest power truck of the day was Tyler Brancifort’s big red 2011 Ford F-350 that thrilled the crowd with a run of more than 1,250 hp.

With several inches of rain soaked into the pull track and constant rain throughout Friday and Saturday, there was no choice but to cancel both nights of the PPL sled pulling action. But the crew at the Piedmont Dragway was able to dry out and prep the dragstrip for drag racing action that was rescheduled to Sunday afternoon under beautiful blue skies after the storm pushed further up the coast. Vendors set up booths in the vendor area and a good crowd of diesel enthusiasts were on hand to check out their products and catch some great racing action on the track. Spectators were also able to take in the show-n-shine, which featured a huge group of great-looking trucks.

Tyler Brancifort’s bright red 2011 Ford F-350 put over 1,250 hp to the dyno rollers to take the honors as the highest powered truck of the day.
The Fall 2016 show-n-shine winners included a pair of white GMCs along with a big black Ram.
A large Pro Stock truck field was ready to do battle on the track with drivers wanting to take momentum from the event win into the off season.

The ODSS finale featured racing action in ET Bracket, 7.70 Index, 6.70 Index, Pro Street and Pro Dragster classes, with tons of power and awesome racing on display throughout the day. The first passes of the day took place at around 12:30 and the final elimination round was completed by 7:00 to round out the day. The ET Bracket class final round came down to a Ford-versus-Chevy battle with Michael Hayes and his 2013 Ford taking the win over Daniel Comer and his 2006 Chevy. In the 7.70 Index class, Blake Miller took the closest win of the weekend by just 4-hundredths of a second over Chance Brantley in the Dodge-on-Dodge final round. Then another pair of Dodge trucks went at it in the 6.70 Index final round when Larson Miller defeated Banean Woosley.

The blue-chrome wrap on this GMC was stunning, and the fact that the truck was running high 7s made it all the more appealing.
Wade Moody (near lane) and Jared Jones (far lane) do battle in the Pro Dragster final round, with Jones claiming the victory by a scant 0.05 seconds at the stripe in one of the closest diesel dragster races we’ve ever witnessed.
Pro Street racer Chase Lunsford had a hard time putting the power to the
track during his first qualifying pass of the day.
Daniel Pierce joined the “too much power, not enough traction” club in eliminations against Seth Sullivan. Pierce ran sideways down much of the track but did not cross the center line, showing great skill behind the wheel.

In the Pro Street class, Lavon Miller continued his awesome season by taking the win over Ryan Milliken. The Pro Dragster final round was one of the closest diesel dragster races we have ever seen, with four-time 2016 event winner Wade Moody attempting to complete a perfect season against Jared Jones. Moody and his Duramax-powered dragster made a good pass crossing the finish line at nearly 160 mph in 4.48 seconds, but Jones and his Cummins-powered dragster was both faster and quicker making the 1/8-mile run in 4.43 seconds at over 170 mph to take the win! With fast speeds and quick ETs to cap off a fun day of racing, we were also treated to many great battles on the track, including some of the closest fi nishes we’ve seen. Despite being postponed for a day and missing out on pulling altogether, the Fall Rudy’s event was still a great time and all in attendance seemed to have fun hanging out with fellow diesel enthusiasts and watching fast diesels perform on the track.

The ET Bracket class final round featured a classic Ford-versus-Chevy battle with the win going to Michael Hayes and his Ford this time around.
Blake Miller (near lane) kept an eye on his competition as he blasted down the track to take the win in the 7.70 Index class.
Larson Miller (far lane) got out to a slight but early lead on Banean Woosley in the 6.70 Index class. Woosley got around Miller and crossed the line fi rst, but broke out with a 6.59-second pass despite his best efforts to jump on the brakes before crossing the line.
Woosley hit the brakes so hard he actually lifted the rear tires several inches into the air as captured by our ace photographer Jade Tobin.
Here, the happy event winners celebrate by hoisting their trophies into the air. From left: Larson Miller, 6.70 Index; Michael Hayes, ET Bracket; Jared Jones, Pro Dragster; Blake Miller, 7.70 Index and Lavon Miller, Pro Street.

In light of a hurricane making landfall, Aaron Rudolph and his team of staff and volunteers from Rudy’s Diesel Performance & Offroad put on a great event. They are planning both spring and fall events once again for 2017, with the events bookending the 2017 ODSS schedule. If you’re within driving distance and want to take part in one of the largest diesel events of the year, we defi nitely recommend doing everything you can to make it to one or both of the Rudy’s events (April 28-29 and October 6-7, 2017)—you’ll be glad you did. We hope we see you there.DW







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