Diesel drag truck ready for East Coast Truck Nationals

Published 06.20.2024

Photos courtesy of Mike McCracken, Beaver Springs Raceway

Diesel Truck, Heavy Equipment & Power Generation
Engineering Technologies
Clubs & Organizations
Faculty & Staff
In anticipation of the East Coast Truck Nationals, set for this Saturday, June 22 at Numidia Dragway in Columbia County, "Accelerated Learning," the 1959 B-61 Model Mack drag truck operated by Penn College's Diesel Performance Club, visited Beaver Springs Dragway in Snyder County this past Saturday for a pre-competition test and tune.

It may be summer, but Penn College’s Diesel Performance Club and its 1959 B-61 Model Mack drag truck (nicknamed “Accelerated Learning”) are not taking any time off. They’re geared up for the East Coast Truck Nationals, set for this Saturday, June 22, at Numidia Dragway in Columbia County.

“We, the students, our industry supporters and myself have logged many hours over the last several weeks with engine and transmission programming in an attempt to squeeze a little more acceleration and mph out of Accelerated Learning, the ol' '59 B-Model Mack,” explained Mark E. Sones, diesel equipment technology instructor.

The event on Saturday will mark the first official competition for Accelerated Learning, its “pilot” Jake M. Spinosa (a Penn College dual-degree student from Wood Ridge, New Jersey) and the pit crew consisting of Diesel Performance Club members and faculty advisers Sones, Brad R. Conklin and Jeremy R. Bell, diesel equipment technology instructors. Also attending will be transport truck drivers Chris S. Weaver, assistant professor of diesel equipment technology, and Ken Bashista, diesel laboratory technician.

“Our dyno tune session at Antrim Diesel in Greencastle proved 1,129 horsepower at the flywheel and a whopping 869 horsepower at the rear wheels!” Sones enthused. “That showing put us in the prestigious 800 HP Club at Antrim's performance center and earned us the title of the most powerful E-7 Mack engine truck in our region! Currently, our best quarter-mile show is 14.17 seconds at nearly 104 mph. We hope to creep into the 13-second range with a couple more mph with our recent dedication.”

Spinosa gives a thumbs-up at Beaver Springs Dragway, following the "test and tune" in anticipation of the East Coast Truck Nationals on Saturday, June 22 at Numidia Dragway. Spinosa is dual-enrolled in heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis and technician emphasis.

Last Saturday, the truck traveled to Beaver Springs Dragway in Snyder County for a pre-event test and tune – “just one last ‘workout’ for the transmission to relearn its shift parameters prior to the Numidia event,” Sones noted.

“Special thanks to our industry supporters Antrim Diesel, Limitless Diesel & Repair, Bergey's Truck Center, S&J Tire, Penn Power Group, Kenworth of PA, Apex Diesel and several faculty wallets. Without sponsors, we would not have made such great accomplishments," Sones added.

Numidia Dragway gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday. Activities, including a truck show, dyno, drag racing, sled pulling and vendors, run throughout the day. Event details are available on the dragway’s website.

Following the Numidia appearance, the next anticipated competition for Accelerated Learning is at Maple Grove Raceway's Keystone Truckin’ Nationals on Sept. 21 in Mohnton, just south of Reading.

For more on Penn College's diesel truck, heavy equipment and power generation majors, call the School of Engineering Technologies at 570-327-4520.

For more on the vintage Mack road tractor, enjoy this Fall 2023 article and this Spring 2024 video created by diesel technology student and club member TJ Buck, of Warminster: