November '18

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Page 105 of 135

100 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2018 t the end of every year I try to report back to the shops what has happened at our D I E S E L M o t o r s p o r t s events over the summer to help them better understand our diesel market. Why? So that shops can sell products and services to our competition diesel racers and fans. Brick-and-mortar shops keep our sport alive by helping owners make changes to their trucks. Sure, many drivers do some minor repairs themselves, but the in-depth, technical work is always best left to shop professionals. As I travel to events across the U.S., I stop at local shops whenever possible to not only visit, but to find out how they are doing business and what they are selling and servicing. For 2018, that's included a lot more power. UNIQUE TO THE EXTREME Our diesel event season featured a lot of higher-power trucks racing and pulling, plus some vintage builds using diesel drive- trains. Starting out in Nebraska, DIESEL Motor- sports found two very unusual rat rod builds that would make even Mad Max envious! Big Hooker and Terror-Gator are builds that stretched even the diesel truck owners' imaginations, with semi engine turbo-powered drivetrains. The custom touches were very memo- rable to say the least, including caterpillar treads for fenders, a wooden boat cruise ship steering wheel and semi truck stacks wrapped in rusty barbed wire for Terror- Gator, which was home-built by Nic Ver- zani with scraps from the family farm. Big Hooker has its own handmade 6-foot cast aluminum hook on its 1971 Ford tow truck back half, with welded twin-cab 1949 Ford bodies fueled by a twin-turbo Detroit engine up front. It's owned by towing business owner Brandon Kibbee to help advertise his regular towing truck service in Philipsburg, Kansas. DIESEL Motorsports is starting to see a lot of these rat rods and older pickups converted over to diesel drivetrains. They're the easy conversion projects that start out as fun builds and then get serious about power and speed. GOING PRO A growing number of trucks have jumped into the Pro-Stock class, which takes them out of the regular truck race class and matches them with full-blown drag trucks with fiberglass bodies, tube frames and cages—plus well over 1,500 hp drivetrains. These trucks require multiple mechanics and expertise with frames, motors and safety equipment sanctioned by SFI to compete. They go very fast and break fre- quently, but these are the guys who are pushing the envelope on diesel power and torque. We're also seeing a lot of regular heads-up truck racers trying to lighten their loads by going to fiberglass bed shells and minimal interiors—anything to shave an extra half- second off their times. Many shops are helping build tougher, longer-lasting drive- trains for these racing diesel trucks as well. The same goes for the pulling side of the sport, as classes are still changing depending on local and state groups. More power and torque with solid rear- ends convert to longer pulls and footage. It's crazy that the Pro-Stock pulling trucks 100 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2018 A al Pow Trip The competition diesel market finds horsepower & torque at all levels. By Ron Knoch A al Pow Trip Terror-Gator and Big Hooker line up at the drag strip to give fans a fun show going down the track.

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