Home Local Sports Diesel series records broken at Rockingham Dragway

Diesel series records broken at Rockingham Dragway

Diesel smoke rises from the exhaust of a truck squaring off against another during Rudy's Spring Truck Jam at Rockingham Dragway on April 23. See more photos below. Photos by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Two new elapsed time records in the Outlaw Diesel Super Series were set this weekend during the Rudy’s Spring Truck Jam at Rockingham Dragway.

Johnny Gilbert, of Middlebury, Indiana, now holds the series ET record in the Pro Mod class with 4.1415 on the 1/8th mile at 177.58 mph.

That tops the 4.160 ET previously set last August by Ben Shadday, but not the speed of 178 mph, according to Race Director Greg Jolly.

Gilbert also holds the Pro Street record, set in August of 2020, with 4.828 at 156.72 mph, according to the series website.

Likewise, second-generation racer Mattie Graves, of Hollywood, Maryland, drove herself to the diesel-powered Pro Dragster ET record in the series with a 4.0406 at 189.87 mph — besting the ET of 4.078 set by Jared Jones in July 2021.

But, like Gilbert, Graves didn’t beat Jones’ speed of 185.64.

“Love my team, love the family that comes to support when they can, beyond thankful for all our sponsors and I just LOVE this sport,” Graves said in a Facebook post.

Graves, dubbed “the quickest woman in diesel motorsports,” started racing in 2019 and joined the series in 2021 and last year broke the Duramax 1/8th mile record and the overall Diesel 1/8th mile record at Maryland International Raceway with a 3.963 at 187 mph, according to TheBlock.com.

Officials postponed racing on Saturday due to rainy weather and Dragway owners Dan VanHorn and Al Gennarelli shared a booth with Rockingham Speedway’s Kim O’Sullivan to promote the neighboring tracks at Rockingham’s SpringFest.

Dan VanHorn, left, Kim O’Sullivan and Al Gennarelli at SpringFest in Rockingham. Photo courtesy Visit Richmond County.

However, the action resumed on Sunday with diesel trucks — and cars — speeding down the new concrete.


The AHDRA returns to the Dragway this weekend for the All-Harley Spring Nationals. Local vocalist Nikki Fletcher will be performing the national anthem on Sunday.

But before that, the N.C. Department of Transportation will be holding its annual Roadeo, where employees “engage in friendly competition” with a number of departmental vehicles and heavy equipment “through obstacle courses that model real-life scenarios that maintenance crews encounter each day on the job.”

The Man Cup motorcycle racing series brings Rumble at the Rock to the legendary drag strip May 19-21 with more than $80,000 in prize money up for grabs, a bike show and live music.

In June, the N.C. Speed Lab Civil Wars returns to The Rock with trophies in 14 classes, fireworks and a concert by Richmond County native Erik Hawks.

Click here to see photos of Hawks’ performance at SpringFest.

See photos from Sunday’s action below.

NOTE: This story has been slightly altered. 11:59 p.m. 4-24-23.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.