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While diesel drag racing got its start with street trucks, we’re starting to see more and more purpose-built race vehicles. One of the meanest Dodges in these new crop of race trucks is Ben Shaddy’s awesome mid 8-second ’05 Dodge Ram 1500, which has been converted to a diesel with the addition of a 6.4L Cummins engine.

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DROPPIN’ WEIGHT

This story actually began a few years back, with Ben campaigning a 6,000-pound four-wheel drive truck through his shop Done Right Diesel Performance in the NHRDA’s Super Street class, and at outlaw races across the nation. While the big 3/4-ton was extremely fast (eventually running low 9s), Ben couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d be going a whole lot faster with a two-wheel drive half-ton. So the Osgood, Indiana resident made the switch and changed classes to Pro Street, which allows for a 4,500-pound minimum weight.

Ben acquired the ’05 as a project vehicle that was already partially finished, but it still needed a lot of work, so Ben’s first stop was Greg Risk Racecraft in Indianapolis, Indiana. The chassis and drivetrain needed to withstand 2,000lb-ft of torque, so only the best components were used. At the front of the truck, the factory a-arm suspension remained intact, but a manual rack-and-pinion setup was swapped in to reduce weight. The truck also received a 2-inch drop, and the factory a-arms were replaced with Keyser tubular units, which swing a set of Afco coil-over shocks. The other big news at the front of the truck was that the firewall was radically altered, so that the engine could be moved back a whopping 5 inches for better weight distribution.

Moving to the rear of the chassis, the stock heavy frame was removed completely, and replaced with a back-half chromoly tube chassis. An impressively strong Fab 9 Ford 9-inch rearend was used to handle the diesel’s torque, and was filled with a Mark Williams centersection, 40 spline axles, and 4.11 gears. Dampening for hard launches are double-adjustable reservoir coil-over shocks from Afco, which are connected to the 9-inch rearend by a highly adjustable 4-link rear suspension. Since safety is always a priority, both the front and back of the truck are tied together with a 25.5-spec rollcage built by Greg.

After making a dyno-proven 1,583 horsepower on an engine dyno, the Fleece Performance Engineering-built 6.4L Cummins was dropped into the Ram 1500's frame. Ben said other than the firewall work, the swap was fairly easy.

After making a dyno-proven 1,583 horsepower on an engine dyno, the Fleece Performance Engineering-built 6.4L Cummins was dropped into the Ram 1500’s frame. Ben said other than the firewall work, the swap was fairly easy.

A big reason why Ben's truck works so well is its extreme engine setback, which moves more weight to over the rear wheels, leading to much better 60-foot times.

A big reason why Ben’s truck works so well is its extreme engine setback, which moves more weight to over the rear wheels, leading to much better 60-foot times.

Some systems on Ben's '05 are fairly simple. A universal aluminum radiator from Jegs and an electric water pump is all that's needed to keep the Cummins cool between rounds.

Some systems on Ben’s ’05 are fairly simple. A universal aluminum radiator from Jegs and an electric water pump is all that’s needed to keep the Cummins cool between rounds.

RWHP

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With a radically lightened chassis and suspension, Ben progressed to the part he was familiar with–making horsepower. The engine that would power his half-ton was built with zero compromises by Fleece Performance Engineering (FPE). Fleece started with a 6.7L block that was sleeved and fitted with a Fleece block girdle for even more strength. From there, a 6.7L crank on an ATI balancer swings a set of Carrillo rods, Diamond forged pistons, and a Hamilton Cams camshaft, pushrods, and valvetrain. Airflow was also improved through the cylinder head, as a ported head from Fleece was secured with ARP 625 studs and installed with a Banks side-draft intake. Final displacement on the sleeved common-rail block was 6.4L of displacement.

“Ben couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d be going a whole lot faster with a two-wheel drive half-ton.”

BOOST AND SPRAY

With a foundation that could support 1,500-2,000 horsepower without thinking twice about it, Ben was ready to push his air and fuel systems as far as he could, to actually make that kind of juice. Since Ben didn’t want to rely on nitrous to make big power, he needed some big parts to make things happen on diesel only. Air is courtesy of a large over huge 80mm/106mm compound setup, which pushes air through a Banks intercooler and into the engine. On the fuel side of things, twin FPE Powerflow 750 CP3 pumps and a CP3-driven DSR lift pump send pressure to crazy 450-percent over injectors from S&S Diesel Motorsport. Ben handles the tuning himself through a stand-alone wiring system and tuning via EFILive software and a FPE data logger.

Ram 1500

With a best 60-foot time of 1.36 seconds, an eighth-mile time of 5.68 at 130 mph, and a quarter mile of 8.73 at 160 mph, Ben’s Dodge Ram is one of the strongest running two-wheel drive diesel drag trucks in the country.

Ram 1500

TOUGH TRANNY

On paper, Ben had everything going his way, with a state of the art chassis and some major power. But there was one link left…the transmission. The first few races of the year were tough for Ben, resulting in early exits due to transmission damage. With reliability in mind, Ben went to SunCoast Diesel Transmissions, and basically picked the strongest of everything in their catalog. For starters, the input shaft was replaced with an oversize version, along with a high-stall triple disc torque converter. The intermediate was also upgraded, and a “shorty” 4wd output shaft conversion was installed on the back of the case. The drums were upgraded, and the valvebody was switched to a full-manual valvebody with a transbrake, so Ben can control his own high-boost launches and 4,500-rpm shifts. The final assembly for the ultra-strong four-speed was done by Steven Abdoo at South Run Performance Auto and Diesel in Carrollton, Kentucky.

After a Matte White wrap by CSI Signs, the Dodge was ready to hit the track. The 2015 racing season proved to be a learning experience for Ben, but he and his awesome Ram 1500 came out on top, running a best of 5.68 at 130mph in the eighth mile, and 8.73 at 160mph in the quarter mile. What’s more, is Ben’s truck has been consistent and reliable enough to win the last two outlaw races of the year; including the Rudy’s Diesel Pro Street Shootout. While Ben’s 1500 still has a lot to prove in 2016, he’s definitely off to a flying start with his state of the art drag truck. DW

The turbo system on Ben's drag truck is quite impressive, and it has to be, to flow enough air for nearly 1,600 horsepower. The most visible air mover is a Garrett GT5541R turbo, which is a whopping 106mm in size.

The turbo system on Ben’s drag truck is quite impressive, and it has to be, to flow enough air for nearly 1,600 horsepower. The most visible air mover is a Garrett GT5541R turbo, which is a whopping 106mm in size.

Mounted backwards on a Steed Speed T6 exhaust manifold is the "smaller" of the two turbos, an 80mm S400-based turbo from Fleece Performance Engineering.

Mounted backwards on a Steed Speed T6 exhaust manifold is the “smaller” of the two turbos, an 80mm S400-based turbo from Fleece Performance Engineering.

With the help of many friends and shops (including Ben's own--Done Right Diesel Performance) this '05 Ram is currently the truck to beat, and should be a major threat on the 2016 Pro Street circuit.

With the help of many friends and shops (including Ben’s own–Done Right Diesel Performance) this ’05 Ram is currently the truck to beat, and should be a major threat on the 2016 Pro Street circuit.

With an Airraid Race Day air filter keeping debris out of the engine, both turbochargers combined to produce an impressive 100 psi of boost, and rocket the Ram down the dragstrip.

With an Airraid Race Day air filter keeping debris out of the engine, both turbochargers combined to produce an impressive 100 psi of boost, and rocket the Ram down the dragstrip.

A Banks Big Hoss side-draft intake was incorporated into the build, and provides a restriction-free path for airflow at triple-digit boost numbers.

A Banks Big Hoss side-draft intake was incorporated into the build, and provides a restriction-free path for airflow at triple-digit boost numbers.

The fuel system on Ben's drag truck is quite a sight. The lift pump flows an incredible 6 gallons per minute (360 gph!) and is driven off the FPE dual CP3 drive. The upper CP3 is a FPE Powerflow 750, as is the lower CP3. Both pumps send fuel to mammoth 450-percent over injectors from S&S Diesel Motorsports.

The fuel system on Ben’s drag truck is quite a sight. The lift pump flows an incredible 6 gallons per minute (360 gph!) and is driven off the FPE dual CP3 drive. The upper CP3 is a FPE Powerflow 750, as is the lower CP3. Both pumps send fuel to mammoth 450-percent over injectors from S&S Diesel Motorsports.

Tubular a-arms from Keyser, as well as adjustable coil-over shocks from Afco, keep the front end light and tunable for wheels-up launches. The steering has also been converted over to a Mustang II rack and pinion unit, which is another substantial weight savings.

Tubular a-arms from Keyser, as well as adjustable coil-over shocks from Afco, keep the front end light and tunable for wheels-up launches. The steering has also been converted over to a Mustang II rack and pinion unit, which is another substantial weight savings.

The interior of Ben's ride is a no-frills affair, with a Greg Risk-built chromoly rollcage, Kirkey racing bucket, Precision shifter, tubular steering column, and a unique dash using a Windows Tablet from FPE.

The interior of Ben’s ride is a no-frills affair, with a Greg Risk-built chromoly rollcage, Kirkey racing bucket, Precision shifter, tubular steering column, and a unique dash using a Windows Tablet from FPE.

Traction is all-important in drag racing, and a set of large by huge 35x15x15 Mickey Thompson slicks keep the rear of the truck planted to the asphalt. The rear brakes are also from Wilwood, and are dual-caliper versions. Wheels are large 15x12-inch pieces from Sanders.

Traction is all-important in drag racing, and a set of large by huge 35x15x15 Mickey Thompson slicks keep the rear of the truck planted to the asphalt. The rear brakes are also from Wilwood, and are dual-caliper versions. Wheels are large 15×12-inch pieces from Sanders.