NHRDA World Finals: Diesel Racing in Ennis, Texas

Odometer (Legend):  527,050


Odometer (ILX):  54,797


Consider these times that it takes a stock-equipment car to go from a standing stop to the finish line of a 1/4 mile dragstrip:

  • 1994 Acura Legend coupe:  15.7 seconds
  • 1992 Acura NSX:  13.9 seconds
  • 2013 Nissan GT-R:  10.8 seconds

This weekend, my brother raced a 1995 Ford Lightning pickup truck that achieved a 9.0 second run!  That’s enough to blow the doors off just about everything I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving.  I can’t imagine what those G-forces must feel like.


I’ve just returned from a trip to the Lone Star State where I attended the 2013 National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) “World Finals.”  This long-awaited event was an opportunity for my brother Bentley to showcase the race truck that his company, H&S Performance, put together over the last several months.  H&S specializes in diesel powertrains and is at the cutting edge of development on ways to squeeze every last ounce of power out of diesel vehicles.  The H&S team ended up bringing home 3rd place at the event, and they’re motivated to bring home the gold next year.

Though my Acura ILX and Acura Legend got a break this weekend, I still had plenty of fun playing with cars & trucks.  The ILX spent a few days at The Parking Spot, an off-airport parking complex near Phoenix Sky Harbor.  I spotted an old Vineyard Gray Metallic Legend on the way in.


And I said adios to my silver chariot as my shuttle bus took me away.  Flight 551 awaited me from Phoenix to the Dallas-Ft Worth Int’l Airport.


My dad flew down from Utah and connected with me in the terminal to join for the Dallas leg.


Rental ride:  Red 2013 Kia Rio with 29,400 miles on the odometer.  It screamed “economy” loudly, but it did have satellite radio and power windows.  Notably missing from the option list?  Cruise control.  Ouch.


We were also missing an engine temperature gauge.


For $11 a day, I we couldn’t complain.  MPG averages were in the 35-36 range, so that was a welcome feature!  Right away, we met up with my friend Brad at Mi Cocina in Irving for some fine Mexican cuisine.  Brad’s local to the area and told us the best ways to get around in the construction-mania that abounds in the Dallas “Metroplex.”


Friday morning, we met up with the H&S crew who were headed to the Texas Motorplex racetrack.  Here, my youngest brother Payton was enjoying the view from atop the trailer that hauls the race truck around.


While the race team was making preparations for some qualifying runs, my dad and I took a couple of hours to explore Dallas.  The skyline ahead of us on I-35E included the “Reunion Tower.”  See the tower in the center of the frame with the round ball on top?  It stands 561 feet tall and has a restaurant inside that opened in 2009.  At night, the ball is illuminated by 259 LEDs and it’s quite a sight!  This fall, an observation deck will be opened.


We made our way back to the speedway and started feeling more and more puny in our Kia Rio.  Truck after truck came into the parking area to compete in the drag races.


Determination?  Just being cheesy here.


We got to work unloading the race truck.


Low clearance made this a challenging operation, but the truck came out unscathed.


Left to right:  Tyson, Payton (brother), Craig (dad), and Bentley (brother).  Motor oil runs through our veins.  We all love cars.


And perhaps the most important introduction of all:  This beast of a truck.


It started out as a white 1995 Ford Lightning, but morphed into a matte black meteor.  To name a few upgrades:

  • 4500 lbs Race Weight
  • 6.7-Liter Cummins Diesel Engine
  • Triple Turbos (capable of producing up to 130 PSI boost pressure)
  • 4R100 Transmission
  • Dynamite Diesel Performance (DDP) Injectors
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Air Dog Lift Pump
  • H&S Motorsports Stroker Pump
  • Dual CP3 Injection Pumps
  • Mini Maxx Tuner custom tuned with MCC software

The truck pulls 1.8 – 1.9G on launch, does 0-60 in under 2 seconds, and is the quickest 6.7L Cummins powered vehicle in the world.  Here, Payton (who’s the designated race driver) rolled up to the staging lanes as a member of the “Pro Street” class.  The blue golf cart following the truck, though decently fast, was not competing in the event.


With each run, we had to quickly identify opportunities for improvement or solve problems as they arose.


Every race was logged on a computer with various data points.  Payton spent a great deal of time reviewing the results and identifying red flags so that the race team could make adjustments to the truck accordingly.


The fastest run that I got to see the Lightning make was a 9.188 second finish at 151.68 miles per hour.


Just seconds later, ominous looking storm clouds let loose and the track closed down for the remainder of the day.


Dad, Payton, and Bentley took a powwow and discussed next steps.


A race team from Thailand came over to admire the H&S truck.  These guys had air-freighted an Isuzu diesel pickup all the way from around the world to compete in the World Finals!  Their truck was powered by a 4-cylinder but ran the fastest time in the entire event – an unbelievable 8 seconds.


Sharing tech tips and stories, via an English-Thai interpreter.


We had to huddle inside the trailer or underneath the canopy while the rain continued coming down.


Dad somehow ended up barefoot after his shoes & socks got soaked.


Though the event was rained out that day, race finals were pushed to the following day.  Unfortunately, my dad and I were scheduled to fly out so we missed it.  Payton ended up in 3rd place at the event, with his 9.003 at 146 mph.


Congrats to Bentley, Payton, and the rest of the H&S crew on a great run! Here is a short video capturing some of the moments on film.  I’ll post a link to a much more professional/official clip as soon as it’s released.

Edit:  Here’s a better video by H&S.

Finally, here are the last few pictures I took over the course of the weekend.  I enjoyed seeing this blue Acura TSX parked next to me at the track.


And enjoyed a great evening with my local Dallas friends Scott and Lance.


Lance drives a 2014 Hyundai Equus that’s the ultimate ride.  He invited me to fire it up.  The instrument cluster screen came to life, and the car lifted up on its air suspension.


This was one classy ride!


It was great to get home to Phoenix this morning and have a chance to unwind.


… and also a relief to see that we’ve dipped below 3-digit temperatures for the first time since May.


Reunited with my ILX.


It sure felt nice rowing through my own gears after having that Kia for several days.


Thanks for coming along on the trip!


6 Responses to “NHRDA World Finals: Diesel Racing in Ennis, Texas”

  1. A 9 second quarter mile diesel truck. Amazing! That’d get ya to your local hardware store and back to quickly fix all those home projects.

    Bummer about the rain. Welcome to my world. Up here in the soggy NW this September had the most rain in a month since they started keeping data wayyyy back when. Ugh!

    • Wow, that’s a lot of rain. Maybe we should diesel-swap that classic Bronco of yours someday and see what it’ll do down a racetrack! Ha. Thanks for reading – I can’t wait to see what tricks the race team has up their sleeve for the next event.

  2. Tyson, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet up. I had a blast! Im glad you got a chance to check out the Equus. Hope you liked it. (The plastic on the vanity light is still there! Ha!)

    p.s. Awesome review on the E350 Wagon! Its a pretty sick ride and the LED lights and Pedestrian Recognition Braking are a couple of my fav Mercedes goodies.

    • Lance, the Equus was a real treat! Next time, I’m requesting a test drive. I still can’t get over the amenities from the BACK seat! TV displays, radio/climate controls, the works. I’d never want to get out of the car if I went for a ride in it 🙂 Thanks for reading my review on the Benz too. Had a good time with that one!

  3. Tyson, I’ve been falling behind on your posts! Looks like you never stop going! The specs on that Ford Lightening are crazy! I bet it’s a beast the hear in person. Also, is the Equus above the Genesis? It sure looks classy and sounds like it has an equipment list as long as an S-Class Merc.

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