Photo: Elburn’s Brett Deutsche and his 1969 Chevy C-10 pickup truck won the 2014 National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) Pro Street World Final title at Texas Motorplex Speedway in Ennis, Texas, with a world record time of 8.81 on Oct. 4. Deutsche (below, right) accepts his trophy from NHRDA’s Katie Radewald. Photos courtesy of NHRDA
ELBURN—Elburn’s Brett Deutsche and his 1969 Chevy C-10 pickup truck won the 2014 National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) Pro Street World Final title at Texas Motorplex Speedway in Ennis, Texas, with a world record time of 8.81 on Oct. 4. In doing so, it became the first street truck to break 9.0 seconds for a quarter mile.
In footage from the race, the truck leaps forward off the track at the start to open a lead on the former national record holder, en route to reaching a record top speed of 158.19 mph.
Brett and his father Don have been drag racing the truck since 1999, when Brett was 16. Brett was given the pickup by his grandfather, Chuck Deutsch, when Brett was just 15 years old. His grandfather had owned it for about 10 years and decided to give it to Brett so he could redirect his attention on restoring a 1914 Model-T Ford.
Brett and his dad brought the truck into the family’s diesel repair shop in West Chicago, Ill., and went to work stripping it down to the chassis for a complete restoration. After replacing its rusted panels and installing a new truck bed from a 1995 Chevy, Don painted it black with several high-gloss clear coats.
Most important, they replaced its three-cylinder diesel engine with a Chevy 350 gas engine for the speed Brett wanted. The father-son team finished the truck before Brett turned 16 and got his driver’s license. After enjoying it for a year, Brett saved the money to add a supercharger, and then blew up the engine while racing a muscle car. After putting other gas engines in the truck, Brett realized it was about as quick as it was going to get, and lost interest in it as a racing vehicle.
In 2008, he came across a junkyard bus chassis with a new Duramax diesel engine in it. After adding that and an Allison transmission to the truck, Brett in 2011 decided to make it a NHRDA Pro Street class pickup and attempted to reduce its 5,300-pound weight.
To meet the Pro Street class racing requirements, the truck has to be legal to drive on the street, have a factory frame, and weigh a minimum of 4,500 pounds. Brett went to work lightening the truck by removing its bumper and truck bed lining, and adding a lighter radiator and other internal components. Remarkably, he was able to shed 650 pounds from the truck without pulling out all its creature comforts. It still even has air-conditioning.
With its new engine and lighter weight, the truck initially had a quarter-mile best of 9.8 seconds and reached 145 mph. Recently, Brett outfitted it with a drive lockup converter specifically designed for diesel racing. Made of 100 percent Kevlar, the lockup converter keeps the the big diesel’s massive torque from burning up the truck’s clutch.
Brett says he’s spent a small fortune on retrofitting the truck, and couldn’t have done it without the help of his sponsors. One of Duetsche Racing’s local sponsors is the St. Charles-based company VERTEX, a human resource company. Other sponsors include Danville Performance, which provides the truck’s electronic engine tuning; HSP Diesel, which provided its triple-turbo piping; Wagler Competition, which provided its engine cylinder heads and machining; Neal Chance Racing Converters, which provided its torque converter; Bullseye Power, which provided its turbo-chargers and turbo components; Flexicorps Racing; and, of course, Deutsch’s Diesel Truck Repair. Recently, the truck was appraised at $104,000.
Typically, drag racing events involve a couple of qualifying rounds, then one-on-one elimination rounds that lead to a two-vehicle final. That can require running eight-10 races in a day, creating stress that often results in them breaking down and not being able to make it to the starting line for the next round when they advance.
The NHRDA Pro Street World Final was the final event of an 11-race 2014 national diesel drag racing series where, during the eight-truck elimination rounds, the Duetsche car ran 8.87, breaking the world record of 9.20. In the final, racing against national record holder Jarid Vollmer and his 2006 Dodge Ram 1500, Brett lowered the world best to 8.81 seconds. Even though he only participated in two of the eleven circuit races, Brett finished second in points among 25 scoring drivers.
This Saturday, Brett and his record-setting Chevy C-10 pickup race at the Diesel Truck Blackout Drag Day Fall Nationals at the Byron Dragway in nearby Bryon, Ill.—the final Midwest drag racing event of the year. The competition will start at 10 a.m. and feature several “T & T” races, where drivers can test and tune their race cars in competition on the track.