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.
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.
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
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
"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
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."