Those pesky “new car blues” can show their face in many different ways, and chasing down the myriad issues that can pop up can drive even a seasoned drag racer nuts. After you get the new car (or truck, or motorcycle) running and going straight down the track there’s the matter of getting acclimated to the vehicle, and this can be the time when bad things happen, and perhaps even signal that not all of those new car blues were in fact sorted out.
Such was the case for Gary Ray, who had a scary crash in his Southern Diesel Performance Dodge back in 2008, as he was trying to shake the new truck down, but luckily the NHRDA safety requirements allowed him to walk away.
There are some serious machines that race in the National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA), including the Pro Street class that Ray’s truck competes in. In the Pro Street class you’ll see competitors running into the single digits with their diesel-fed monsters. To run the lower elapsed time, there are lots of safety requirements that are there for a good reason as you can see in this video.
On this particular pass at Breakaway Dragway, Ray left the line rather softly, and as the truck motored down track and hit all 120 pounds of boost, he hit the lock-up switch to take advantage of the fully lit turbos, and that’s when things got ugly. The truck crossed the stripe at over 91 MPH and made a violent move to the left, slamming into the guard rail, then shot back across the track and breached the guardrail as it went off the track. After rolling over and snapping a utility pole in half the massive truck came to rest on its wheels. Even with the heavy damage the truck took, Ray walked away, albeit slightly sore. And with the damage done, he began to plan his new build. This is the perfect example of why you should NEVER skimp on safety gear, because even in a big truck, things can quickly go awry.