SPAL USA's Rocket Ranger Breaks Diesel Land Speed Record
Source: SPAL USA Press Release Posted: 08-22-07 23:07 PT
© 2007

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2007 is sure to be remembered as a historic year for diesel pickups. Not only have we seen the cleanest oil burners ever produced hitting the highways, but SPAL USA has once again broken the land speed record for the world's fastest diesel pickup.

SPAL USA's Rocket Ranger, based on Ford's Ranger compact hauler and powered by a heavily modified 6.0-liter Power Stroke Diesel, ran an average speed of 215.091-mph in its two record-setting runs on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

An earlier incarnation of the Rocket Ranger first broke the 200-mph hour barrier back in 2001, at 205.208-mph, only to see the title snaked two years later by Gale Banks Engineering's Project Sidewinder Dakota pickup when it hit 213.583-mph.

Here's SPAL USA's press release:

SPAL USA's "Rocket Ranger," driven by Hypermax Engineering's Max Lagod, has set a new land speed record and claimed the title of World's Fastest Diesel Pickup Truck during the Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week, Aug. 11-17.
The "Rocket Ranger" achieved an average speed of 215.091 miles-per-hour - nearly 2 miles-per-hour faster than the previous record of 213.583 miles-per-hour in the "C/Diesel Truck" class.  SPAL's record is recognized by the Southern California Timing Association/Bonneville Nationals Inc. (SCTA/BNI).
In 2001, SPAL USA approached Ford with the "Rocket Ranger" concept.  Ford was eager to offer support by providing a stock Ford Ranger pickup.  Currently the "Rocket Ranger" is equipped with a Ford Power Stroke / International 6.0-liter diesel engine equipped with Hypermax intercooled series turbochargers, injectors and Mach 7 performance module, dual SPAL USA 12" high-performance cooling fans and a ZF 6-speed transmission.
"The Bonneville Salt Flats is the ultimate proving ground to demonstrate the performance of our cooling fans and centrifugal blowers," said Heath Langenfeld, sales and market manager - powersports, SPAL USA.  "We are thrilled to achieve this prestigious record, not only for SPAL USA, but also for Hypermax."
Lagod, who has driven the "Rocket Ranger" for the past three years, started road racing in 1988, won the SCCA GT-1 class national championship in 1997 and 1998 and recorded several top five finishes in SCCA Trans-Am racing.
The "Rocket Ranger" qualified for the land speed record three times but had difficulty making the back up run.  During the first back up run, a failed piston forced the team to change the truck's engine in Utah's 100-degree heat; an oil pump interfered with the second back up run. 
"It came down to the 11th hour, but in the end the truck definitely had a record-breaking performance," said Lagod.  "It was so exciting to beat the existing land speed record to become a member of Bonneville's 200 mile-per-hour club with the 'Rocket Ranger'."
Lagod said the team may return to the Bonneville Salt Flats in October to beat its own land speed record.
SPAL's "Rocket Ranger" set its first land speed record in 2001 at the SCTA/BNI World Finals with a Roush-built NASCAR Nextel Cup engine enlarged to 371 cubic inches.  It reached 205.208 miles-per-hour and shattered the existing "Modified Mid/Mini Pickup" class mark by almost 25 miles-per-hour.
In 2003, SPAL USA's "Rocket Ranger" returned to Bonneville to mark the first time a Powerstroke diesel engine was used for a land speed record attempt.  The truck reached a respectable 222 miles-per-hour but was unable to complete a back up run due to an electrical issue caused by an intercooler explosion on a previous run.
"Nothing comes easy at Bonneville," said Mark Kitlinski, sales and market manager - bus & truck, SPAL USA.  "We are very proud of the work our dedicated team has put forth.  This record breaking performance would not have been possible without the support of Hypermax, International Truck, Ford Motor Company, and Creative Werks Inc."

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