The National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) staged their first diesel drag race of 2011 at Phoenix, Arizona's Speedworld Dragstrip. "I brought my Super Street race truck down for the event," said Eagle, Idaho's Rob Coddens, "And feeling good about my set-up, I also entered the lighter weight, more advanced Pro Street class."
In winning Coddens broke his own NHRDA Super Street MPH record.
Rob Coddens won the season opener at Phoenix's Speedworld Dragstrip, in Super Street and Pro Street classes
The K&N backed racer's good feelings about his set-up were spot on, as he ended up winning both classes and breaking the NHRDA Super Street MPH record, a record he previously held. Coddens' new record now stands at 140.67 mph.
"The great thing about a diesel is the abuse it can take," commented Coddens. "I'm able to win an elimination round in one class running nine seconds at 140 mph, and then drive the truck around right into the lanes and into the staging beams for the next classes round within minutes."
Diesel magazines, Diesel Power and Diesel World recently did a photo shot and write-up on Coddens' impressive truck.
Coddens says that breaking the record was not high on his list of priorities, but that winning is everything.
"I'm able to dial the power levels up and down as needed to advance rounds and not abuse the equipment too much. The hardest thing I've learned over the years of racing is to race with your head and not your ego. Yes it's cool to click off record breaking passes, but I'd rather drive it into the winners circle then go fast once and go onto the trailer early because of parts failure."
That's the sort of wisdom that comes from racing nearly everything with wheels for the past 30 years. Coddens started as a kid racing mini-bikes, then moved to street/strip cars, he road raced motorcycles for a few years, and then moved back onto the dragstrip with motorcycles.
"Family life and work stopped the motorcycle thing, and money was tight so a dedicated racecar was not in the cards. I had a diesel work truck in the driveway, and being a racer at heart, and having a great drag strip (Firebird) 15 minutes from the house, off I went to the track."
After a spending year or so modifying his truck, Coddens created an 11-second work truck.
"I could tow heavy trailers, plow snow, go off-roading, and then on the weekends air down the tires, put it in 4x4, and whip up on Corvettes and Vipers on the race track," explains Coddens. "One thing led to another and along with a couple friends, we decided to see what we could accomplish, so we built a 6000 pound 4x4 drag race truck."
Coddens has now been drag racing diesels for seven years, mostly with street trucks running in the NHRA Sportsman or Pro Classes, and he's had some success with local wins in those classes. In 2009 he campaigned his first true race truck with the NHRDA. In his very first weekend of racing in the NHRDA Coddens shattered the ET and MPH record in the Super Street class and he has been the dual record holder for three years now.
Discussing how he came around to K&N Coddens says, "With the oiling needs on a 1200+HP diesel engine, we have had to run modified oil pumps. In the past we have had a problem keeping oil filters from blowing the seal and dumping 10 quarts of oil in a matter of seconds. This was not only very messy, but potentially dangerous. Since switching to K&N oil filters, the problem has gone away. The nut on the end also helps when changing, as I tend to get a little heavy handed during installs. It's the little nagging things that can screw up a race day. With the filter problem handled, I don't have that nagging doubt every time I strap in and fire the truck."
Coddens' goals for the 2011 season are to always be totally prepared for each event, to find the weak parts on his truck and strengthen them, and to never lose a race because of a mental mistake. Then he adds, "I also want to win the NHRDA World Finals in Kansas.
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