Starting the ODSS Pro Street points race right where we left off in 2020 proved a challenge at the season-opener, but the Stainless team hung tight and pulled together to take the win at Rudy’s Spring Truck Jam. The weather was inclement, the track was cold, and the only consistency our 4.80 tune-up seemed to be good for was knocking the tires off. But after regrouping in the pits, John Gilbert III (better known internally as J3) began piecing together the perfect tune-up for getting the truck down the track consistently—a tune-up that would prove to be a tenth faster than everyone else in the class.
All told, some 600 horsepower was pulled out of the truck in order to find enough traction to make a wire-to-wire pass at Piedmont Dragway. Following the big win, driver Johnny Gilbert recalled the pivotal moment of the weekend, when the truck had been de-tuned just enough to make a clean pass. “During the second qualifying pass we still knocked the tires off, so for Q3 we took a bunch out of the launch,” Johnny said. “We dropped our launch rpm and boost big time, just to be able to go A to B.” It worked. The “5.0 tune-up” would carry us all the way to the finals, where Johnny squared off against Michael Dalton and his orange fourth-gen—a truck capable of running consistent 5.20s at the present time. The Stainless Dodge’s best pass of the weekend would be a 5.08 at 143 mph, along with a solid 1.24-second 60-foot.
So what did our pre-Rudy’s prep look like? For starters, the TH400 was torn apart and freshened up to avoid any unexpected failures or possible downtime on race day. Then the 5-blade GT55 was split apart and given the same treatment. We measured for deflection, inspected the ball bearings (which can wear in this extreme application), and checked the turbine shaft for straightness—good insurance for a charger that sees 80-psi of boost and shaft speeds approaching 120,000 rpm.
Next stop: Lucas Oil Raceway and the Ultimate Callout Challenge the weekend of May 21, 22, and 23. Should ambient temps be in the 80s, track conditions may allow us to reach our short-term goal of breaking into the 4.70s. See you in Indy!