One of our favorite classes to watch is the stick shift class. It takes more than just “flooring it” to win one of these events. The driver, car, and parts need to be in tune in order to win a round. And if the stars aren’t in proper alignment, you can expect anything from a bad launch, missed gear shift, or massive parts breakage, which certainly keeps things interesting. And while we’ve seen just about every type of car in this class, we haven’t seen many trucks. And while we’ve witnessed several really fast S10s at the dragstrip, none have housed a manual transmission. However, we can’t say that anymore thanks to Nick Cole-Mann from Sussex, Wisconsin.
Nick’s S-10 is a serious machine that shouldn’t be taken lightly at the drag strip. The engine consists of a 402 cubic-inch LS with a Dart block, Trick Flow 260 LS7 heads, John Dougherty Racing camshaft, and a set of Borg-Warner 78/87 Bullseye turbos. The combination made 1,751 horsepower on Haltech’s dyno.
Since the truck was built for the stick shift class, Nick needed a transmission to reliably hold the horsepower. So the team decided on a G-Force six-speed gearbox with a fifth and sixth gear delete. The trans was also converted to a dog box for lightning-quick gear changes. In just six weeks, Nick says the transmission has been in and out of the truck at least 15 times for clutch adjustments.
Nick managed to run a 7.65 at 192 mph on his first pass in the 1/4-mile, which was his fastest run ever for the truck, but it had more. For his second pass, Nick only managed a 7.71 at 191 mph. However, Nick forgot to turn on the Co2 bottle, which means the turbos were only generating a minimal amount of boost. With the Co2 active, Nick ran another personal best of 7.57 at 194 mph, but the questions remained, would it go faster?
Remember in the first paragraph when we said that stick shift racing is hard on parts? Well, when Nick went to make a clutch adjustment after his fastest pass ever, and he found a problem. It turned out that he had twisted the input shaft on the G-Force transmission. So his options were to either not race anymore because he didn’t have another shaft or put it back together and hope it holds. In true racer fashion, Nick decided to run it. However, the next pass would bring even more carnage as Nick broke the shifter handle off on the two-three shift. After running around the pits, he was able to get the shifter fixed before day three and eliminations started.
For race day, Nick modified the truck to improve his driving by adding a shift light. Since he was still getting used to the new combination, Nick was short-shifting the engine at 6,800 rpm even though the powerplant was good to 8,600 rpm.
Nick would go up against Chris Moore, the current world record holder for the quickest H-pattern stick shift vehicle in the first round of eliminations. And unfortunately, the race was over from the start as Moore cut a light and left Nick playing catch up. As a result, Nick was unable to reel in the silver Camaro before crossing the line, but there was good news. Nick set another personal best and a new stick-shift world record with a 7.28 at 196.93 mph.
Congratulations to Nick Cole-Mann and his crew on a killer build and a new stick shift record. Who would have ever thought Moore’s record would be bettered by a stick-shift truck of all things.