Only one word can accurately describe the spectacle of two wondrously powerful jet trucks facing off against each other at the same time on a drag strip: badass. Just to be in the presence of the two extreme machines is an experience that makes even the rowdiest of rock concerts look tame, with plenty of thunderous noise and pyrotechnics to go along with the show. Back in August of 2013 just such an event was held as part of the International Hot Rod Association Northern Nitro Jam in Martin, Michigan. The annual gathering usually sees some extreme vehicles show up, but the spectacle of the jet trucks squaring off against each other was so unique, it definitely stole the show.
The race was staged at the 131 drag strip, supposedly the fastest drag strip in the entire state. That fact alone contributed to the promise of an event that was not to be missed, because it no doubt would be packed with plenty of excitement, creating long-lasting memories for everyone in attendance. It’s not every day that jet truck racers actually compete side-by-side, making the race that much more unusual.
In normal circumstances, such a competition would be set up so the jet-powered vehicles would make quarter mile runs one at a time. While it’s fun and interesting to watch one jet truck make an ultra-fast run on a track, it is more than twice as interesting to watch two go up against each other simultaneously. In fact, two jet trucks have raced next to each other in only under a dozen occasions, making the showdown in Michigan actually considerably rare. The combined output of the two jet trucks launching off the line is actually enough to technically be classified as an earthquake in the immediate area.
Neal Darnell piloted the first of the jet-powered trucks, named Shockwave. Having considerable experience driving drag racers with jet engines, Darnell also sets up racing events and has driven jet trucks at airshows for well over ten years. Darnell even set an Airshow Speed Record at 375 mph while attending an event that was held at Tyndall AFB in the state of Florida. That record is still standing today, even though it was set back in 2005, demonstrating just how impressive of an accomplishment it is.
As you can see from the video, the whole spectacle started as the two jet-powered trucks lined up for the race. The trucks start off about 4G’s and then accelerate up to a maximum of 6G’s positive back down to 9G’s negative while sprinting down the track. The noise of the two extreme performance vehicles was tremendous, while the humongous clouds of exhaust that billowed out of the back of each created enough smokescreen to put a dragon to shame. Adding even more excitement into the mix were the 30-foot flames shooting out of the back of each truck, not to mention the pillars of flame constantly pouring of out of the exhaust stacks like two demons wearing fiery crowns while locked in a fateful duel.
Adding to the showmanship of the race event, and the overall excitement the audience felt there, were special pyrotechnics that only added fire to the fire and sparks already spewing all over the drag strip. Capturing fans’ attention, and maybe even startling them once the race finished, were a series of planned explosions set along the length of the track, sending flames and smoke mushrooming into the air as cheers erupted.
In the end, the race was as fierce as anyone could imagine. Super Shockwave emerged victorious with a quarter mile dash that took only 5.38 seconds to complete at 148.55 mph. Shockwave wasn’t too far behind, pulling a time of just over 6 seconds at 137.06 mph. In the full mile, the Super Shockwave is capable of speeds up to 375 mph!
The geniuses behind the unique drag race, Shockwave and Flash Fire Jet Trucks, boasts a fleet of trucks that are powered by jet engines, including Shockwave and pickup trucks with a single jet engine secure where the bed used to be.