Deep Into The 9s: <br />A 1,200hp Monster Cummins

The other day I shared with you guys some of my experiences from a rather unique event: the NHRDA Spring Nationals held last weekend at Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield. That story seemed to garner a pretty big response, both from those of you who love the idea of seeing modified diesels on Speedhunters, and from those who aren’t fans of big trucks doing unnatural things at the drag strip. Today I thought I’d continue my look at this event with a Spotlight on one of quickest machines of the day.

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It’s a 2003 Dodge Ram owned by Daniel Pierce out of Big Spring, Texas, and despite its low-key look with no graphics or huge logos on the sides, this was the truck that everyone was watching on Saturday. The bright blue rig isn’t just fast for a big pickup, it’s fast for any vehicle – especially one that also happens to wear number plates.

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As you walk up to the truck it’s not hard to see that this thing is a bit more than your typical modified street diesel. For starters, you see the roll bars, the exhaust dumped straight through the bed and a nitrous bottle mounted off to the side.

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The rubber is equally serious – fat M&H drag slicks wrapped around lightweight race wheels both front and rear.

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Then you take a peek inside the cab and realize that this truck is full-on crazy. There’s a full cage, a single race bucket and the stock Ram dashboard is nowhere to be found. We’re looking at a legit race machine here.

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Daniel was happy to show me under the hood and explain the engine setup. It’s a Cummins of course, and he told me that the bottom end still retains stock parts.

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The real story is the turbo though, and it’s a big one – a Garrett GT55. While the prevailing image of diesels is one of massive low-end torque, Daniel’s setup is built more for good old fashioned horsepower. With the aforementioned nitrous kit helping to get the big single turbo spooling, he estimates the motor is making somewhere around 1,200hp.

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As for the drivetrain, the Ram runs a spool differential out back with a stock diff in the front. The transmission itself is based on the original automatic but with a full manual valve body for better response.

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So what’s all this good for when it comes to ETs? Try 9.22 with the big Dodge crossing the traps at 152mph (245km/h). Not only was this good enough to take the event win in the Super Street class, it was also quicker than the current class record holder – although Daniel wasn’t able to back up the time with another pass to ‘officially’ break the record.

Big 4×4 trucks running low 9s? It’s so wrong that it’s right – and just one more reason why I won’t soon forget my time at the NHRDA Spring Nationals.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike



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Just Wow


"The bright blue rig isn’t just fast for a big pickup, it’s fast for anyvehicle – especially one that also happens to wear number plates."

I think that has more to do with lenient regulations in Texas allowing this level of modification to a road-going vehicle. I'm pretty sure that in most places, adding nitrous and a custom exhaust that terminates at breathing zone would not be street legal. I'm also in California, though, where an air intake tube without the correct sticker can get you a ticket.

With all of that being said, 9.22 is ridiculously fast.


I love seeing different stories like this on here. There's a whole new world of Speedhunting out there if you expand to Diesel trucks, like this and truck/tractor pulls.


You can do this to your trucks pretty much anywhere besides California and Hawaii really. Only 2 States I know of with strict regulations. I am sure there are others.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

That's damn cool, we don't get many trucks or SUV type vehicles built to this standard here in Australia. Makes you think.......
Wouldn't be cheap though.


imagine if he turned the wick UP!!! Thanks for the article. Hope to see more.


that time, and on a bottom end with stock parts on it?  nice :)


Damn 1200bhp and some standard parts in the block still... those words and that sentence really don't often go together.


PolyMEDrummer Exhaust must exit past the rearmost part of the living space of a vehicle. This is a pickup, so anywhere past the back edge of the cab. It's a diesel from before the EPA cutoff, so it doesn't need to pass an emissions test. Pretty much everything else is simply safety related.


Lets wait for the butthurt fanboys to whinge about this monster! 9.22 is fast, really fast. Yes, faster than your Honds haha.
Tone the paint down, tint the windows... ULTIMATE SLEEPER!!


Drag diesel



I knew diesels were overbuilt, but 1200hp on stock internals...that's just crazy...


@Daniel PolyMEDrummer Thats wrong it is a Common rail. It needs a cat converter and mufflers. Without that it is not road legal.


1200 HP on stock bottom end.  And I thought 2JZs  were bulletproof.


Those trucks are heavy too.  If someone could get that drivetrain in a lighter chassis...


MatthewBortot What is a Honds?


The Cummins motor is truly amazing, but a heavy beast weighing in around 1.500lbs in stock trim.  My brother ran his 14,000lb Dodge service truck in the quarter-mile a few times with a best of 13.6.  All stock except for the programmer, transmission and injectors.


Hondas without an a obviously


we have diesel emission tests here in CO, many fully compliant trucks running some pretty insane times.  its not hard to have a truck pass visual and be tuned well enough to get through the sniffer.


All vehicles from the factory come with a cat and mufflers. Its legal to not have either in states/countys that dont require them. Lots of trucks in AK have similar deletes and are perfectly road legal. A turbo back exhaust system is easily purchased online through guys like AFe and others. 2008 is the cutoff that typically is referred to as "emission restricted". "Common rails" are any Cummins from 03 forward, so the 5.9 from then till 7.5 is the desired non-federally emissions model - at which point the 6.7 was introduced.











乙未年(羊)二月初七 2015-3-26





You could pretty easily change the exhaust... and unhook/take the nitrous bottles out of the truck?

A little less obnoxious for street then. A little...


Is this the same Daniel Pierce that has a triple turbo'd, Cummins Diesel powered Mustang?


dovvv And considering it's a diesel, that's probably 2000 lb-ft of torque.


But i bet it won't be as reliable and cheap to build as a 2JZ


Bima Leksono  Not sure about build price versus Toyota; Cummins it's about double of a Small Block Chevy.  But, I have never seen a 2JZ come close the to the maintenance service intervals of a Cummins.  For more reliability you can go even further by ringing the head and adding forged-steel pistons to withstand 150 psi pressure levels.


Hydrolastic Bima Leksono  Now personally i'm a powerstroke guy and not making near the power or times as this dude, but yeah service intervals and reliability are the big difference and cost savings on these things.  making 430hp and 1000lb/ft (t wheels) with my motor was a pretty simple afair.  I have room to grow, drive it every day, and beat the snot out of it constantly including doing stupid things like punching 30psi for miles straight over mountain passes.  we are coming up on 265,000 miles on these stock internals and now i'm contemplating a fuel system and injector upgrade that could put us over 550hp.  at that level i'll still have no real worries about the motor and still drive it every day, but i guess headstuds will be something to think about as i reach this level.   maintenance pretty much comes down to 3000 mile oil changes and 6000 mile fuel filters.

compared to my previous motors in cars (Ford YB's 2.3's, 302's and 351's), this thing is a model of reliability and is always ready for some hoonage rain, snow or shine and has never let me down.

I am SURE that you could build a 550hp 2JZ for way less money than any 550hp diesel.  but could you beat on it mercilessly for 200,000 miles?  

Personally i'm looking forward to building another car project (LS based), something we can tow to the strip with the truck, then race them both!


Come up to Canada.... We have trucks like this with full interiors as daily drivers.


unless trucks are used for hauling/work vehicles they are grotesque but I have to respect this for the sheer speed. It's bananas!


Saber123316  right......................


Slackinfux yes


the car was very good 
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