Believe it or not, Jonathan Montesino’s small-tire Ford Ranger was originally destined to be powered by a 6.7L Power Stroke. A couple of years later, and after having lucked into the donation of a 6.7L Cummins before the V-8 ever went between the frame rails, he’s glad he pointed his radial tire project in a Cummins-powered direction. Not that his road to the 4’s came easy, but in joining forces with Hardway Performance’s Ryan Milliken—someone who shared many of his Pro Mod Cummins Nova secrets with Jonathan—a proven plan for attacking the eighth-mile was put into action. During testing at Orlando Speed World Dragway back in November of 2019, Jonathan’s nitrous-huffing, big single Ranger went low 5’s right off the trailer. The weekend culminated in a 4.99-second pass, making it just the second small-tire diesel to break into the 4’s at the time.

Big Plans Call For Big Changes

For 2021, Jonathan plans to improve on his current best, a 4.88, with a host of changes. On the turbo front, he’ll be relying on one of our 5-blade, 88mm compressor GT55’s. The sizeable single bolts to a Stainless Competition T-6 24-Valve exhaust manifold, the “Monster Foot” version with high-flow, 1.65-inch ports that span all the way to the collector foot. To keep boost and drive pressure in check, two 44mm external wastegates were added to the exhaust manifold, sending excess drive out the downpipe. To help bring the GT55 to life, control intake air temps and bring another potential 700hp to the party, five nitrous kits from Nitrous Outlet are employed. Thanks to N2O’s ability to cool IAT’s so effectively, no intercooler is needed, which provides a race-friendly reduction in weight.

All The Right Pieces

As for the rest of the truck, a Freedom Racing Engines Comp 6.4 (a sleeved and filled 6.7L block) topped off with a billet-aluminum Wagler head will serve as the foundation, with S&S 500-percent over injectors and a single 14mm CP3 (the single pump to save weight) providing fuel. The 2,500hp-capable Cummins will be told exactly what to do via a Bosch Motorsport MS15.1 stand-alone ECU dialed in by Hardway Performance. A trans-brake’d Rossler TH400 with a bolt-together lock-up converter from Sun Coast will send power to a Mark Williams rear-end and ultimately the 28-inch radials.

New Season, New Goals: More Power, Less Weight, Better Traction

After the guys at Riviera Beach, Florida’s Chassis Engineering shortened the frame 15 inches and reworked the chassis with titanium components over the winter, Jonathan is hopeful that the Ranger’s race weight will check in around 3,200 pounds, and that the chassis hooks when more power is brought into the fold. One thing is for sure, if the stars align for Jonathan this year, you’ll be reading about another diesel that can go deep into the 4’s.

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