Orange Crush
Ultimate Diesel Builder Guide|June-July 2017

Michael Dalton's Sweet 2012 RAM Drag truck.

Chrish Tobin

Michael Dalton is the owner of RLC Motorsports in Coolville Tennessee,and he successfully raced an 800hp,street-driven,fourth-generation Ram 2500 for several years.The truck was one of the first to run successfully at high power with the 68RFE transmission thanks to the experts at SunCoast and it made several low 11-second quarter-mile passes,taking home win after win in NHRDA and Outlaw drag races.But he always wanted to build a 2WD diesel drag truck-so in 2015 he sold the 4WD,purchased a 2012 Ram 2500 work truck for $8,000 and drove it while coming up with a plan for his dream race truck.

With a game plan in mind he turned to his friends at Wide Open Design in Murfreesboro, Tenn., to partner with them on building the chassis. While teaming with a chassis shop to build a race vehicle happens on a regular basis, there was a special twist with this teamup. The crew at WOD is a highly talented group of fabricators that specializes in building off-road competition vehicles, not drag racers— but this team would not let that stop them. Throughout 2016 they built the chassis, focusing on the suspension and making it as light as possible while keeping it very strong. The chassis is fabricated from chromoly tubing and meets SFI 25.3 certifications.

The build team started with the factory chassis, removing the cab, bed and drive train before stripping it down to bare frame rails and completely removing the suspension mounts in the front and rear of the frame. They decided to chop off most of the front and rear of the frame, leaving the section from the rear of the cab up to the front of the engine. For better weight transfer they set the heavy Cummins engine back 16 inches from the stock location.

Up front they designed the chassis to work with Strange Engineering spindles and coil over struts with custom lower control arms and a Stiletto steering rack to minimize weight and allow adjustability where it was needed. Braking up front is handled by a set of Strange 11-inch slotted rotors and 4-piston Strange calipers. The chassis also supports the factory steel fenders, a sport model bumper and the factory aluminum hood.

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