Purple Haze: The Jason “Jay Lew” Lewis Pro Street Drag Truck Build

Over a decade ago, Jason Lewis, preferably known as Jay Lew, was in attendance at Blackstone Valley Technical High School in Upton, Massachusetts. Like most of us, we all come either familiar with our teachers in and outside of school, but little did Lewis know, his shop teacher, Stanley Stachura, would accidentally change his life forever.

“Mr. Stachura had a diesel truck that he used as a daily driver. I always remembered seeing it during class,” said Lew. “Ever since I laid my eye’s on that 2005 Dodge Ram he had, I was hooked.” As the three-quarter and one-ton diesel truck market were at an all-time high, Lew’s love for diesel trucks struck at the perfect time.

In 2006, the same year he was acquainted with the Dodge diesel trucks, Lew couldn’t stand it and went to purchase his own. What you see now actually used to be a 2006 Dodge Ram 3500. What started out as a perfectly usable four-wheel-drive dually has slowly transitioned into a fire-breathing drag racing machine known as Purple Haze.

Purple Haze obviously doesn’t look like a dually truck anymore and has encountered a few changes within the last few years.

“Ever since my obsession started, I’ve become obsessed with just going fast in general,” said Lew. “Besides the obvious love of speed, another huge part of this build is proving the haters wrong and showing them I could do it.” Purple Haze started out as only a $34,000 investment, but has slowly eroded the savings account on Lew as the build bill has climbed to $150,000.

In 2016, the Ultimate Callout Challenge was hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah. The event would change the diesel industry forever, reaching thousands and inspiring thousands more. Lew, with his social presence, followed the event and the competitors from the beginning and knew that an event of this magnitude was doable if his mind was set to it.

The build officially started on May 4, 2016; with it, the grind to be one of the best in the business was underway.

One of the first things that came into consideration for Lew and Co. is that the truck was a dually and it weighed entirely too much. So, the transformation from dual rear wheel to single rear wheel began. Lew had a lot of work into this truck throughout the first year of work, but as the popularity of the build grew, companies recognized this and wanted to be a part of it.

“After a year of building the truck myself, a huge part of this build stepped into the picture,” said Lew. “I met Ethan Patterson of Wilson Patterson Diesel and had no idea we would have the partnership we have today when we first met.” Now, Purple Haze is equipped with a fully built Wilson Patterson Diesel transmission, alongside a combination of high-end parts to withstand over 2,000 horsepower.

We set up at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana to shoot this beast on its Ultimate Callout Challenge qualifier debut.

“After following the Ultimate Callout Challenge, both Ethan and I wanted to get in on the action,” Lew said. “So, our original powerplant ideas changed, knowing we would need big power to compete at that level.” A year went by, and the truck was complete hours just before the UCC qualifier event in Indianapolis. On basically an untested truck, Purple Haze still managed to make 1,446 horsepower and 1,597 lb-ft of torque.

Out of the 25 qualifiers trying to punch their ticket into the next years’ big dance, Lew placed 20th. With having so many modifications to be done to prepare for the event, they ran out of time to build a sled pulling setup which resulted in a DNF on day three. Missing out on this event took a toll on Lew’s overall finish, but there was a method behind the madness.

There’s not much under the hood of this truck that used to be there. It’s all strictly business under that fiberglass body.

Since then, Lew and his team of sponsors and help have started to figure this truck out and has made some definite gains. On September 8, 2018, four months after the struggles at UCC, Lew made a personal best pass of 8.87 at 159 mph. With some real speed starting to harvest, if Lew wasn’t hooked before, he is definitely hooked now.

“Unless we’re called out by the Ultimate Callout Challenge, we’re probably done with that event,” Lew said. “Now that we’re starting to get this power to the ground, we’re looking to compete in the Pro Street class and follow the Outlaw Diesel Super Series circuit.” As you already know, the Outlaw Diesel Super Series homes the majority of diesel performance enthusiasts and that comes with stiff competition like fellow UCC competitor Lavon Miller.

“I’ve always been into the performance side of diesel trucks, but there are certain people that I’ve followed that really push me and my truck to go to the next level,” said Lew. “Lavon Miller and the entire Firepunk Diesel team has been a huge inspiration to my racing career.”

What’s Inside

On roll cages for this speed goal, drivers are required to have a "funny car" style cage that is a full enclosure around the driver's head for protection.

The transmission is a combination of Wilson Patterson Diesel and Suncoast Performance Transmission parts, including a 27-spline input shaft, maraging(?) intermediate shaft, 29-spline output shaft, and a full manual valve body. Other internal parts that make this truck reliably row through the gears at such a high power level are a billet forward and direct drum.

Aiding the turbocharger to spool up on the line, Lew relies on his full Nitrous Express nitrous oxide system. In this system comes a single bottle, single solenoid, and a Maximizer 5 progressive controller system.

Although the transmission is a huge part of a build like this, making the horsepower is a must if Lew is wanting to be anywhere near competing in the Pro Street class. “With Patterson and Suncoast behind me, I knew that we would be safe with our strong 48RE,” Lew said. “We just needed an engine that was capable of going the distance.”

With big power in mind, Lew knew exactly who he wanted on board. Freedom Racing Engines. Purple Haze is powered by a solid block 6.8-liter Cummins from Freedom. Inside this balanced and blueprinted engine is a set of Wagler Competition Products connecting rods, a steel girdle, and a custom Hamilton Cams 207/220 camshaft.

All of the wiring on the truck has been done by Energetic Motorsports, including a full standalone 549 ECM.

Other internal parts include Diamond Racing Pistons, Tool Steel pins, D & J Precision Machine timing cover, Fluidamper harmonic balancer, and a set of L19 head studs. Fueling is taken care of by a set of S & S Diesel Motorsport 12MM CP3 injection pumps and six Dynomite Diesel Performance Super Mental fuel injectors. On the boost side of things, Lew relies on his Stainless Diesel polished exhaust manifold to balance the exhaust of the engine to feed into the Garrett GT55 turbocharger.

Resting on top of the engine block is also a Freedom Racing Stage 4 cylinder head. The Stage 4 head comes with a custom valve job, oversize valves, 103-lb valve springs, Fleece Performance bridges, and ARP rocker studs. Ensuring the engine is fed with plenty of incoming air, Purple Haze uses Fleece Performance’s beautiful intake manifold.

Using four Bogart Racing 15×12 wheels and M & H cheater slick tires, Lew buries his truck down into the 1.3-second 60-foot range.

When there are this many high-performance parts running through the paces, it is important to have the engine tuned correctly. “Since 2014, I have had Robert Ivey at Calibrated Addiction tune my truck,” said Lew. “I am extremely grateful for Robert and Calibrated Addiction. They are one of my main sponsors and they have covered the expense of the entire fuel system including the pumps and the injectors.” At this level, it is important to have good people behind you.

On the outside, it’s not much different than the engine bay. It’s a mixture between business and party all in one. Thanks to GTS Fiberglass, Purple Haze is covered in fiberglass versus the original steel panels. “We wanted to lose as much weight as possible obviously to make it easier to go fast,” Lew said. “We have a fiberglass front clip, front bumper, doors, and bedsides.”

The custom vinyl wrap that gives this truck the outstanding look was done by Andrew Murdock and The Brandsmith Company.

Obviously, the rear differential doesn’t look like the normal AAM 11.5 that you would see in a normal 2006 single rear wheel truck. Lew exchanged the rear differential for a Ford 9-inch axle with an aluminum third member and locker.

Using all QA1 shocks, Lew can adjust the suspension on all four corners of the truck to engage proper traction onto the racing surface. Now, with the truck’s suspension dialed in and the engine making power, what’s keeping the truck slowed down at the big end? Using Wilwood dual caliper brakes and a parachute, this truck stops with ease.

To guarantee the truck's chassis is safe and legal, Lew turned to Ethan Patterson once more on fabricating up his custom chromoly roll cage and a rear back half that's certified to run up to a 7.99 in the quarter-mile. Using a 3.54:1 gear ratio, Purple Haze is geared for as much as 165 mph.

With any type of build of this degree, you have to have a great support system. “There are so many people that believed in me and this build. If it wasn’t for everyone on board, this dream would never have come true,” said Lew. “I want to thank Calibrated Addiction, Wilson Patterson Diesel, Stainless Diesel, Nepp, Energetic Motorsports, The Diesel Shop, LLC., Dynomite Diesel Performance, Freedom Racing Engines, Fleece Performance, and a special thank you to my best friend, Charlie Mayer, for his countless hours of help with the truck over the last five years.”

We have had a blast watching this truck transform into what it is today, and we’re excited to see where this truck ends up in the years to come. Be sure and check out this truck at the next event you attend and let us know what you think. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for more truck features like this in the future.

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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