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Weekend on the Edge: Utah Triple-Header

Diesel Drag Racing, Dyno Testing, and Sled Pulling

Text By Gary Wescott, Photography by Monika Wescott

Early fall in Western Utah is an in-between season. Leaves are turning and summer is just about over, but there’s still no snow for skiing. Diesel truck enthusiasts, however, have something else to look forward to: Weekend on the Edge.

Every year, Edge Products takes over Salt Lake’s Rocky Mountain Raceways dragstrip and invites all diesel truck owners to test their power and skill. As warm-up and qualifying runs begin, thick, black smoke billows across shiny asphalt, and the smell of half-burnt diesel and melting rubber fills the air. The roar of wide-open turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder engines echoes into the stands as early fans trickle in to watch drivers evaluate the track and determine their dial-in time. In an effort to give owners who wanted to race their street truck a chance, there were three divisions this year.

Burnouts, Reaction Times, and Quick Diesels
During the initial warm-up and qualifying runs, drivers in the E.T. Bracket Class decided the fastest elapsed time they could duplicate. That time was then written on their windshield. During competition, they’d try to duplicate that time, without going any quicker. The closer they got to their dial-in time, the better their chances of winning were. If they went faster, they’d break out, resulting in an automatic loss.

In bracket racing, it’s not just money, power, and speed that winsbut driver skill as well. So the timing lights were programmed to give each driver a handicap, based on their chosen dial-in time. This meant a really fast truck got the green light on the Christmas Tree a second or two later than the guy next to him at the line. As drivers tore down the track, we could sometimes see brake lights come on before the end of the quarter-mile. Their reaction times (the lapse in hundreds of a second between the instant the Christmas Tree light turns green and the moment they tripped the timing light) were critical, and they still needed to cross the finish line first to win.

Chris Weiss out of Ogden, Utah, took First in the E.T. Bracket Class, driving an ’01 Dodge to reach 97.13 mph. His reaction time was a respectable 0.193 seconds. He had an initial dial-in time of 13.64 seconds and a winning time of 13.78 seconds. That’s just 0.14 second from breaking out.

The Quick Diesel Class was open to all competitors who could run at least a 12.00-second quarter-mile. The catch was, they couldn’t go any faster. They started head-to-head. The first truck across the finish linewithout going faster than 12 secondswon. Jason Hurt took his red Chevy to 85.92 mph before hitting the brakes to cross the timing lights in 13.31 seconds.

The third class this year was the Pro Street Diesel Class. This was an all-out drag racing class. Anything went that made a diesel vehicle quicker. Again, the start was head-to-head, and the fastest truck won. Kyle Moore from St. George, Utah, finished the quarter-mile in 13.278 seconds in an ’05 Ram at 105.09 mph. We’re not sure what happened to Trent Nell, who had a top-qualifying speed of 143.22 mph going into the event.

In a class of one, Zane Koch, owner of Wide Open Performance in Sandy, Utah, gave his 7.3L Power Stroke dragster a chance to show the crowd what a four-turbo, 1,000hp diesel can do. There were some nice incentives in all this fun. Organizers paid out $4,000 to the winners and finishers of the three classes.

As an enthusiastic crowd filled the stands, we couldn’t help but notice that this was an event for the whole family, with excited kids munching on hot dogs, burgers, fries, and nachos. Fathers brought their sons. Teens brought their dates. A quick look at T-shirts spoke of the enthusiasm fans had for diesel trucks.

When the racing was over, the event organizers did something unusual, opening the gates and inviting the crowd to come down and walk on the sticky track, just to get a feel for the unique surface. This was definitely not like your driveway or the street in front of your house.

Lie Detector Testing
Early the next morning, truck owners had lined up at the Edge facilities in Ogden to run their trucks on the dyno. Edge had its two SuperFlow dynamometers open to diesel enthusiasts who wanted to see what their machines could do.

This year there were four classes: Highest Horsepower for Dodge, Highest Horsepower for Ford, Highest Horsepower for GM trucks, and Highest Overall Horsepower. Jacob White took his ’99 Power Stroke to 566 hp and 1,020 lb-ft of torque to win his class. The Overall Horsepower title was won by Brian Barlor in an ’03 Dodge, cranking out 831 hp and 1,558 lb-ft of torque. Brian also took the prize in the Dodge class, while Jason Hurt (following his win on the dragstrip) turned in 604 hp and 1,079 lb-ft of torque with his Duramax.

With all these supertrucks lining up for the dynos, there was plenty of time for fellow diesel owners to lean over fenders and share information about their modifications. While others were drooling over multiple turbos, exotic intake systems, and gourmet burgers, the Edge crew was running the two dynos like a well-oiled assembly line.

As we wandered up and down the lines of contestants waiting for their turn on the dyno, we came across some unique entries. Jordan Hendrix was duly proud of his ’98 12-valve Cummins-powered Dodge. A High Tech Turbo HTB2 turbo, some 370hp injectors, a little pump work, and a 4-inch exhaust combined to give him 479 hp.

By Gary Wescott
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