Over the years, we've found that most Diesel Power Challenge competitors begin losing a little sleep once selected to compete. Whether it's from nervousness, excitement, or working on their trucks until the wee hours of the morning, the biggest challenge in diesel has a way of keeping them on their toes.
For some, the hardest part is the wait. For others, there isn't enough time in the days remaining to modify, test, and tune their new setups. But the common ground among competitors' goals is to try to place in the top four throughout all events.
We recently caught up with Nate Berges of Team Ford. He's preparing the lone 6.0L Power Stroke in this year's competition for battle, and is anxious to get the show on the road. Up against a sea of common-rail Dodges, GMs, and Fords, Nate's plan is to leave the engine alone (as it's proven very reliable in it's current configuration) and concentrate on reinforcing the rest of the truck. Here are his thoughts on preparing for Diesel Power Challenge 2010:
Diesel Power: What changes are you making to the truck?
Nate Berges: "If it ain't broke-don't make it that way."
"Going into a competition like this plays with your head. Who wouldn't want to win? But does winning consist of the most power, or being as consistent as possible? I believe it's a small bit of both. My thought is not to rock the boat too much. Right now, my power is strong; the truck performs amazingly well on a daily basis. Yes, daily driven- even on my race file. I'll brace the truck in certain ways in any critical areas that I think need addressing, but I'm not going to rewrite my truck when it's been proven and has a combo that is working well-and consistently."
DP: What tires do you plan to use?
NB: "Nitto Terra Grapplers. They're awesome all around tires! Especially for all the challenges we'll face. I want a tire that can be stout whether I'm on the sticky racetrack, loose dirt, or the rollers. And hopefully, these will help in this new braking event that our trucks will face. This ought to be fun!"
DP: What is your strategy going to be for each event?
NB: "To perform strongly, and have the truck perform in it's optimal range. Believe me, winning is my mindset, but at the same time I want to be wise. Running the truck consistently and solidly throughout would probably work better than going all out on the first day, only to tear out my trans or any other part that isn't up to full bore at a moments notice."
DP: What spare parts are you bringing?
NB: "If only I could see the future! I have a few items in mind, but I'm not even sure about them. I'm thinking it'll be more tools than anything."
DP: Who are your crew members?
NB: "I'm still assembling my all-stars. At the moment, I have a master mechanic on board and a good friend making the trip down with me. Between the three of us, just about anything can get thrown at us and we'll be ready."
DP: Any other thoughts?
NB: "I guess I'm really thinking about what would be best. How do you prepare for the Olympics, Super Bowl, or World Series? How do you judge competition that you've never met? Through the Internet we at least have a bit of a cheat sheet to some of our competitors, but everyone still has a level of secrecy, I'm sure."
"I know for myself I'm looking forward to meeting the best of the best diesel trucks/owners in this country! It's going to be an amazing 3 days that will set the tone for the next year of diesel performance improvements that will come our way. It's awesome to be a part of such a challenge and I can't wait to meet everyone involved and be a part of the best truck challenge to ever take place!"