As the owner of DNR Customs in Casco, Michigan, Derek Rose knows a thing or two about diesel performance and repair. About two years ago he had the chance to really put his skills to work transforming a wrecked pile of parts into the electric blue Dodge you see here. Like many other performance shops, Rose used his personal truck as a demo to show off the shop’s capabilities. The 2006 Dodge Mega Cab truck also handled daily-driving family duty for his wife, Nicole, and three-year-old daughter Izzabella, so when it reached about 850 horsepower the rig was really more about racing than family duties. So the Roses started to look for a dedicated race truck.
The truck they found came at the right price (only $8,200), but it needed a lot of work. The silver 2006 regular cab long bed had been involved in a serious traffic accident. In the accident the truck suffered a bent frame, bent front axle housing and extensive body damage, but it was still a good place to start for a project race truck. The damage could be repaired and the Cummins engine under the hood would be swapped into their daily driver while the race engine found its way into the go-fast truck.
To give the truck a solid foundation, the crew at Bella Customs straightened the frame. Then bodywork was completed on the panels that were reusable while the others were replaced. Since new panels were needed for the front end, Rose opted to improve the looks at the same time. He went with an SRT10 hood, bumper and grille combo. To further improve the looks, the trim and emblems were completely removed and the fuel door and grille emblem were filled and smoothed. In the rear, a smooth roll pan was molded into the bed to replace the bulky factory bumper.
“Rose knew he would need plenty of air, so he opted to use a triple-turbo setup on his Cummins.”
After the body was straight, several coats of Dodge electric blue paint were laid on the truck by K&K Craftsman to give the truck its signature sharp looks. To really make the blue paint pop, Rose added matte black accents to the hood and bumper, along with blacked-out headlights and taillights to go with the dark tinted windows. Unlike many Dodge truck owners who seem to want their mirrors to have as much wind resistance as possible Rose opted to remove the mirrors completely, replacing them with small carbon fiber panels to improve the aerodynamics of the truck.
After going through a few engines, Rose settled on the combination that was in the truck for his win at the 2014 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. The engine starts with a 5.9L Cummins block and a balanced 5.9L Cummins crank swinging a set of Carrillo rods attached to Cummins pistons. It’s topped with a ported Cummins head with the intake milled off to make room for a Hellman side-draft intake manifold. A Hamilton camshaft actuates the valves that are controlled by a set of Hamilton valve springs. Engine machine work and assembly was handled by Rose himself, along with the crews at M.J. Tool Fab and Superior Engine.
The fuel system is completely modified from the tank to the injectors, starting with a custom 15-gallon aluminum fuel cell mounted in the bed. A FASS 220 fuel pump/filter system is used to deliver fuel from the tank up to the dual CP3s under the hood with a PPE Dual Fueler kit. High-pressure fuel is then handed off to a set of 125-percent-over BD Diesel fuel injectors to provide plenty of #2 on demand. Tuning is handled with EFILive programming from Ryan Milliken at Hardway Performance to get the most out of the engine.
With all that fuel capability, Rose knew he would need plenty of air, so he opted to use a triple-turbo setup on his Cummins. A pair of S474 BD Diesel turbos takes in large doses of air through aFe air cleaners, then they hand off the compressed charge to a third S474. After the turbos, the high-pressure charge is fed through a BD Diesel intercooler before being routed into the ported head through the Hellman side-draft intake manifold. The compressor covers were treated to a blue carbon fiber hydro dip paint treatment by the crew at House of Hydrographics. Other parts under the hood were hydro dipped with a traditional black/gray carbon fiber paint to give the engine bay a high-tech look.
On the exhaust side of the turbos, the single S474 is fed directly from the exhaust manifold. Then exhaust gasses are channeled from the turbine outlet of the single up to the pair of S474s. Individual outlet tubes from the S474 turbines merge into a single 5-inch exhaust that runs into the bed and terminates at a 7-inch diameter MBRP black miter-cut stack that sits just below the top of the cab.
The potent Cummins powerplant is mated to a Dodge 48RE automatic transmission that was rebuilt to handle the power by the team at Franks Transmission in Richmond, Michigan. An M.J. Tool Fab torque converter is used to channel the power from the balanced crankshaft to the transmission through a BD Diesel SFI-approved flexplate. To keep the transmission cool, Rose went under the bed forward of the rear axle and installed a BD Diesel transmission cooler with integrated electric fan.
“Like most gearheads, Rose says the truck will never be finished.”
Power is passed from the transfer case to the front and rear axles through high-speed
balanced CCI Driveline driveshafts. The crew at HSP Diesel integrated driveshaft hoops into the chassis for additional safety. The AAM 9.25 front axle retains its factory open differential and 3.73 gears while the AAM 11.5 rear axle sports a positraction differential and matching 3.73 gears. To prevent the center section of the axle housing from rotating the tubes were fully welded to the housing.
Rose’s truck normally rolls on a set of 390/40R17 M&H Racemaster DOT race tires wrapped around a set of Diamo wheels, but he swaps them out for a set of paddle tires when he takes the truck to the sand drags. The chassis is lowered in the rear by removing a few leafs from the spring pack to give it a level stance with Bilstein 5100 shocks on all four corners and BD Diesel sway bars and steering upgrades to keep the truck pointed in the right direction at triple-digit speeds. A set of CalTracs traction bars is used in the rear to help launch the big truck down the strip without drama. To stiffen the chassis and protect Rose in the event of an accident, the guys at HSP Diesel fabricated a roll cage that’s certified to NHRA 8.5-second ET standards, giving Rose room to make the truck faster without having to make additional changes to the safety equipment.
The interior of Rose’s Dodge is all business with a vinyl floor kit and no frills except for the factory dash. Tubes and bars from the six-point roll cage cross the small interior and envelop Rose in a cocoon of safety, along with the Sparco racing seat and RJS Racing Equipment five-point safety harnesses. JGS Machining fabricated a custom steering wheel adaptor for the Sparco steering wheel. Rose added six Factory Match Auto Meter gauges to the truck to keep a close eye on performance. There are three gauges mounted on the A-pillar with another three located on a steering wheel pod. He can monitor boost, drive pressure, transmission temperature, EGT, fuel pressure and fuel rail pressure all with a quick glance. He also installed a Ram Mount Tough Tray laptop station so that he can hold the laptop in the truck securely for tuning sessions and data logging.
Like most gearheads, Rose says the truck will never be finished, but he did get it to a highly competitive level in just seven months. His best 1/4-mile time is currently 10.20 at 133 mph, which is pretty darn fast for a truck that tips the scales at 6,150 lbs. Rose had a great 2014 season, including a third place finish in the 10.5 Index class at the TS Performance Outlaw Race, second place in the Super Street class at the NHRDA Indy event, a win in the 6.60 Index class at the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza as well as a win at the Merchant Automotive Sand Drags earlier in the year. The engine started the season making just north of 1,000 horsepower and by the end of the season Rose was putting down 1,385 hp and 2,055 lb-ft of torque on fuel with the triple-turbo 5.9L common-rail Cummins. But as with many high-performance race engines, when you push them to their limits, sometimes they push back—Rose split the block just before the 2014 NHRDA World Finals, ending his 2014 season a little early.
“By the end of the season, Rose was putting down 1,385 hp and 2,055 lb-ft of torque on fuel with the triple-turbo 5.9L common-rail Cummins.”
Like any true racer, Rose will be using the winter downtime to build a new engine for his truck and, of course, he will be going bigger and better to come out swinging for 2015. We’ve heard rumors of a billet aluminum block, possibly with a 6.7L crank. The masters of horsepower over at Scheid Diesel will have a hand in the build. It looks like Rose will be back on his game soon and the rest of the competition better watch out, because he might have a better season in 2015 than he did in 2014. If you get a chance to see the truck in the pits at an event, go ahead and check it out, because when it’s on the track you might only see the taillights. DW