The 6.31-second, 226mph, 2,500 horsepower Scheid Dragster

Drag racing—a simple point A to point B contest—is perhaps one of the purest forms of displaying horsepower. It should be no surprise then, that sled-pulling mastermind Dan Scheid decided he needed to try his hand at quarter mile performance after being so successful on the dirt. The result of Dan’s foray into asphalt racing has resulted in the quickest and fastest diesel down the 1320 to date, with the Scheid Dragster running an impressive 6.31-second elapsed time at 226mph in the quarter mile.

“Stopping from more than 220mph requires twin parachutes”

This type of performance didn’t happen overnight however, as the dragster was built nearly a decade ago and debuted with mid 7-second elapsed times. As Dan’s engine program advanced, so did the dragster’s performance, and it became the first diesel to dip into the 6-second zone, as well as the first to eclipse 200mph in the quarter mile. A big breakthrough came together for Dan a couple years ago, when the dragster received a large infusion of extra horsepower, along with a big drop in weight.


A major part of the Scheid Dragster’s drop from high 6-second times to low 6-second times is the aluminum-block Cummins engine that now resides in the 300-inch Spitzer chassis. Based on 5.9L block architecture, an all-aluminum block—sourced by Scheid through LSM—allowed the vehicle’s performance to progress to a new level. Not only was the new aluminum block 138 pounds lighter than a deckplate 6.7L Cummins block, it allowed power to be turned up to its current 2,500hp level without engine damage.

When we talked to Dan for this story, he was very adamant that he couldn’t do this alone, and credited his wife, friends, family, and employees for their support in making this happen.
The 2,500hp Cummins in the Scheid dragster is a marvel of modern diesel engineering. It features a Fluidampr and mounting system of Dan’s own design, a 6.7L crankshaft, Scheid connecting rods, and Arias 12:1 compression pistons to arrive at 6.4L of displacement. Valve actuation is courtesy of a Scheid roller camshaft, and above the fire-ringed block lies a heavily ported cylinder head from Hamilton Cams, with 225-pound valvesprings. The long block is good for a whole season’s worth of 6,000rpm passes.
An all-aluminum block is a big key in both weight savings and durability. With cross-bolted mains, a ZZ Fabrications wet sump oil pan, and internal sleeves, the base of this wild powerplant has been bulletproof so far.
Steed Speed makes the extremely durable stainless steel exhaust manifold that provides the mounting for the large-frame turbo system. A T6 flange exit (T3 is stock) directs exhaust gases into the smaller of the two enormous turbos.
Monster power takes monster airflow, and in this case, the Scheid dragster definitely doesn’t disappoint. The high-pressure (manifold) turbocharger is an 88mm Precision unit, while the larger charger is a Holset HX82 that houses a 114mm billet wheel from Precision Turbo. The two chargers combine to produce a whopping 140psi—kept in check by a 66mm Precision Turbo wastegate—all the way up to the engine’s 6,000rpm redline.

Getting Down the Track

With more than 3,000lb-ft of torque, you can imagine that getting down the dragstrip can be a bit of a challenge. Even with the dragster’s mammoth slicks and relatively light 2,500-pound weight, not all of the digger’s power can be applied at once.

When we asked Dan about how he applied power down the track, he gave us a rundown of what it takes to get a clean run: “We come into the lights at about 5,200rpm with boost already built up. We try and leave the line at about 60psi, and then boost ramps up to 140psi, which is peak power. We shift at 5,300 and try to keep the engine under 6,000rpm at all times.” For those familiar with drag racing, the Scheid dragster’s incremental times of 1.04 (60-foot), and 4.12 at 182mph (1/8th-mile) are just as impressive as the digger’s quarter mile times.

“With more than 3,000lb-ft of torque, getting down the dragstrip can be a bit of a challenge”

Scheid and the NHRA

With diesel-powered vehicles being few and far between in the NHRA ranks, Dan decided to compete in Top Dragster, an anything-goes bracket class where virtually any engine combination is allowed. The quickest 32 cars then face off for a shot at the overall win. Despite bump spots well into the 6-second range, the Scheid dragster is a common sight in the Top Dragster field; often times, it’s the smallest engine in the class, competing against 500, 600, and 700 cubic inch gas and alcohol-powered monsters.

A gear-driven lift pump from DSR flows a whopping 700gph of diesel fuel to the engine, and is regulated into the injection pump at 60psi of pressure.
The P8600 injection pump was built in-house at Scheid, and features 14mm plungers, a custom pump cam, and Scheid’s own proprietary coatings, which increase durability. For most tracks, the pump is set at a whopping 1,000cc of fuel.
Oversize 0.120-inch stainless steel lines and 5×30 triple-feed injectors are also from Scheid’s own shop, and provide the fuel needed for this type of power. Also visible are the 14mm head studs from ARP, which keep the engine from having any head gasket issues.
If you’re wondering where the intercooler is on the engine–it doesn’t have one. Instead, a 10 nozzle, 1,100psi water-injection system keeps EGT at a level 1,500 degrees. The computer-controlled setup turns on a few nozzles initially, and then keeps adding water automatically as the pre-set EGT level is reached.
Going fast doesn’t come without breaking some parts. The single CO2 bottle on the dragster that controls the shifting has since been replaced with dual bottles, after some low-pressure situations resulted in burned-up parts.
One of the most invaluable tuning tools on the dragster is this Corsa data logging system, which is used to monitor intake and exhaust pressures, output shaft speed, engine and oil temperatures, turbo speed and even crankcase pressure, so the team can head off problems before catastrophic damage occurs.
Goodyear Eagle Top Fuel Frontrunner tires are mounted on Weld wheels on the front of the dragster and can survive 300mph blasts. On this type of application, the entire chassis flexes enough to provide slight dampening, so no front or rear suspension is used.
Since Scheid Diesel specializes in extreme diesel performance for sled pulling and drag racing, many of the parts on the Scheid dragster come from Scheid’s own catalog, like this positive air shutoff, which will shut down the engine in case of a stuck throttle or other nasty situations.
The hot seat that driver Jared Jones sits in for around 6 seconds at a time is all business. A butterfly steering wheel allows for quick inputs, the large lever on the left is a hand brake that is used for staging, and the pedals on the floor are for the clutch and the throttle.
Inside the Browell bellhousing is a trick Crower 4-disc clutch. Scheid reports that the clutch has no problem handling the power, although adjustments have to be made about every 5 runs, and the clutch has to be replaced about every 30 passes.
A Lenco three-speed transmission resides behind the powerful diesel and, in order to survive, has been outfitted with virtually every heavy-duty part that Lenco offers. The transmission is also air-shifted at a pre-set point of 5,300rpm, which lets the driver keep his eyes on the track.
Stopping from more than 220mph requires twin parachutes, which are from Simpson Racing.
The rear-end of the dragster is standard Top Alcohol fare: a 9.5-inch aluminum top-loader. However, the rear has been fitted with specially made 2.73 gears that Dan bought from a fellow racer, which gives the dragster the needed gearing to go through the traps at 226mph—even with a 1:1 final gear in the Lenco.

The Future of the Scheid Dragster

When we asked Dan about his plans for the next couple years, he maintained that the Scheid team would just continue on the path it was going, competing at both diesel-only, and NHRA events. “It would be nice if we had some more people to race against at the diesel events,” Dan said. “There are quite a few other dragsters in the works right now, so hopefully they’ll be finished and we can have some fun!”
Whether on the track, in the pits, or using the dragster to further research and development, the Scheid Diesel team of Dan, his wife, Vicki, driver Jared Jones, and countless others, will continue to raise the bar for diesel performance, and wow fans across the country with 220mph blasts. DW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

A 1,150-HP Triple-Turbo LB7 Duramax

There’s something about your first truck that makes it special. Whether it’s a clapped-out beater, a show truck or something in between, the first one is always special. While many of…

Fords Forever: Father and Son Bonding

It’s always a father’s dream to be involved with his son in a special project that involves lots of bonding and mutual enjoyment. It just so happened that Jim Tobin and his son…

Retro Ford Gasser Goes Diesel

Despite being born more than a decade after his award-winning 1973 Ford F-250 Camper Special rolled off the assembly line, 26-year-old Ben Fluke of Bloomington, Indiana, knows each and…

Built, Not Bought: Bright Red ’09 Ram 2500

Chris Bruziecki runs a paving company, which is hard work and requires a tough truck. Chris has proven the advertising claim of “Ram Tough” on a daily basis. Both Chris and his wife,…