Big Speeds, Big Pulls and Big Weather

August 22nd, 2011

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

The NADM Diesel Country Nationals Had It All

Those who were in Terre Haute, Indiana, for the NADM Diesel Country Nationals got more than they bargained for on May 6 and 7, 2011. Sure, Ron Knoch, one of the head guys at NADM, promised a fun weekend full of drag racing, sled pulling and all-around diesel partying, but even he didn’t know the full extent of the wildness that was to descend upon the show at the Crossroads Dragway and adjoining Wabash Valley Fairgrounds.

Things were going great for a while. Friday evening saw a huge gathering of diesel draggers ready to try out the 1.8-mile track. A total of 41 trucks paired off in front of 1,500 fans that were inside and outside against the fence and watching the action. What the locals call “a little weather” was scheduled to appear anytime, but those assembled only had speed on their minds.

Local racers and top guys from the surrounding states put on a great show. They included Matt Handwork, running the “Boneshaker,” and Wade Moody, with his killer ex-NHRA S-10. Both were out to run for the first time. The racing was great and was over by about 10 o’clock. Not a drop of rain fell. Everybody was hoping it would hold out just a little longer.

The weekend kicked off with heated, diesel-only drag racing at the Crossroads Dragway.

Sunday broke a little wet, but nothing too bad, and it made for potentially good conditions on the pulling track. The vendor row area, which also had some of the nicer show-and-shine contestants, opened. There were plenty of parts on hand to entice all. In addition, the crew from Bean’s Diesel had the dyno setup for anyone who wanted to put his or her diesel up against the needle. The sled pulling got started right at 1:30—and there was still no appreciable rainfall.

A packed grandstand watched as the various classes competed against each other. The big winner of the weekend was Terry Coppess, from Elwood, Indiana, in his 1998 Dodge; he took both the 2.6 and 3.0 Street Diesel classes. Will Dalenburg, of Indianola, Illinois, went 357.05 in his 2005 Chevy to take the Work Stock class, while Ben Miller bested the Modified class with a 320.13.

All that was left was the music concert, held later that afternoon. Approximately 1,600 fans attended. The concert setting was a 20-x-50-foot stage with half-million dollar sound system behind it. The music was great, and folks were having a great time. But while Lit Endz and James Wesley (the opening bands) played, the sky turned black.

Trent Tomlinson was the supposed headliner, but Ma Nature made a big entrance with high winds, marble-sized hail—and finally, a tornado, which supposedly touched down within a ¼ mile of the stage. It was a scary moment for those trying to get their families to a safe place. In fact, the sheriff’s department rushed everyone into the concrete-walled restrooms for safety. Although the winds, rain and hail tore up the place, nobody was hurt.

NADM has a full schedule planned for this year. They may not be able to promise a tornado at every one of them, but if you want to get more information on finding an NADM event near you, check out their website:

Winners List

Drag Racing

ET Bracket

1st Place         Adam Price

2nd Place         Kevin Shull

Quick Diesel

1st Place         Lynn Ross

2nd Place         Joel Johnson

Unlimited Diesel

1st Place         Matt Handwork

2nd Place         Micah Sullivan

Sled Pulling

Work Stock

1st Place         Will Dalenburg         Indianola, IL         2005 Chevy 357.05

2nd Place         Tom Hill                  Oblong, IL           2007 GMC 322.11

2.6 Street Diesel

1st Place         Terry Coppess         Elwood, IN                  1998 Dodge 320.11

2nd Place         Joe Hill                   Oblong, IN 2004          Chevy 306.11

3.0 Street Diesel

1st Place         Terry Coppess         Elwood, IN                  1998 Dodge 313.03

2nd Place         Joel Reece              Connerville, IN         1994 Dodge 303.01


Ben Miller         Ford                  Overtime Modified         320.13

Tags: , , , , , ,


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.