Like their gasoline, methanol, and nitro-burning counterparts in the sport, those competing in the fledgling diesel drag racing arena have made considerable advancements in technology and performance in recent years, motivating their machines to elapsed times and speeds previously considered unreachable with some highly-advanced trucks, cars, dragsters, and other vehicles.
One racer with intentions of upping the bar, and whose machine got a lot of attention at the PRI Show in Indianapolis, is North Carolina native and diesel performance business COO Rawlings Barnes. Barnes revealed his all-new, state-of-the art Ford F-250 Pro Street drag truck in the Vibrant Performance display at PRI that he’s long envisioned as the chariot for which he’ll power his way into the seven-second zone with a 6.4 liter Powerstroke engine.
Barnes is the chief operating officer of Rudy’s Diesel Performance, a well-known diesel performance and off-road center in the city of Burlington, and his day-to-day experience with all things diesel combined with his own drag racing experience means he knows a thing or two about going fast at the track.
“Rudy’s had the fastest Powerstroke truck for years, running in the low nines. We took a couple years off and all of a sudden they were running in the eights and the class was dominated by Cummins powerplants,” Barnes explains. “Staying true to our market and seeing the advantages of two-wheel drive trucks, we decided to build something new. Although we started with plans of utilizing a factory frame, we quickly decided in the interest of safety to build a chassis from the ground-up. We knew from the start we wanted to build something unlike anything else in our industry, so we enlisted the help of Gene DeHart and Elite Fab and Design. With Elite’s background in NASCAR and NHRA Pro Stock Racing and Rudy’s background in diesel, we collaborated to create what you see today over the last 14 months.”
Barnes’ F-250 is a thoroughbred race truck through and through, with a one-off fiberglass and carbon fiber replica body draped over a 25.3 spec chromoly chassis built by Elite Fab & Design, with lightweight composite and aluminum interior components and race-specific parts from nose to tail. The chassis is outfitted with a Strange Engineering strut front suspension and a 4-link in the rear with Bilstein coilover shocks. As it sits, the truck comes in at around 3,400 pounds, although class regulations may require the addition of weight, which the team planned for the in the construction of the chassis.
The power to hopefully propel it into the sevens (depending on the class and weight, as Barnes shares) is a solid-block 6.4 liter Powerstroke built by River City Diesel, with a custom billet intake from Maryland Performance Diesel and a triple, compound 76 mm BorgWarner turbocharger setup from Engineered Diesel. A pair of Rudy’s K16 pumps and 150 percent injectors provide the fuel, and a MoTec ECU manage the engine operations. Suncoast Performance prepped a Dodge 47RE transmission for the project.
In all, the truck produces a staggering 1,987 horsepower and 3,005 foot/pounds of torque, making it capable of running in the sevens or dragging a locomotive.
As you can see in the images — and part of the reason, beyond its physical size, that it got so much foot traffic and views at PRI — is the degree of chrome and polishing instituted in the truck, along with its eye-catching wrap theme and the interior, with blue LED lights, a custom plexiglass cover for the electronics, the Racepak Dash, and the hefty helping of carbon fiber.