SPAL USA's "Rocket Ranger" Pickup Sets New Land Speed Record

Aug 21, 2007, 01:00 ET from SPAL USA

    ANKENY, Iowa, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- SPAL USA's "Rocket Ranger,"
 driven by Hypermax Engineering's Max Lagod, has set a new land speed record
 and claimed the title of World's Fastest Diesel Pickup Truck during the
 Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week, Aug. 11-17.
     The "Rocket Ranger" achieved an average speed of 215.091 miles-per-hour
 -- nearly 2 miles-per-hour faster than the previous record of 213.583
 miles-per- hour in the "C/Diesel Truck" class. SPAL's record is recognized
 by the Southern California Timing Association/Bonneville Nationals Inc.
     In 2001, SPAL USA approached Ford with the "Rocket Ranger" concept.
 Ford was eager to offer support by providing a stock Ford Ranger pickup.
 Currently the "Rocket Ranger" is equipped with a Ford
 Powerstroke(R)/International 6.0- litre diesel engine equipped with
 Hypermax intercooled series turbochargers, injectors and Mach 7 performance
 module, dual SPAL USA 12" high-performance cooling fans and a ZF 6-speed
     "The Bonneville Salt Flats is the ultimate proving ground to
 demonstrate the performance of our cooling fans and centrifugal blowers,"
 said Heath Langenfeld, sales and market manager -- powersports, SPAL USA.
 "We are thrilled to achieve this prestigious record, not only for SPAL USA,
 but also for Hypermax."
     Lagod, who has driven the "Rocket Ranger" for the past three years,
 started road racing in 1988, won the SCCA GT-1 class national championship
 in 1997 and 1998 and recorded several top five finishes in SCCA Trans-Am
     The "Rocket Ranger" qualified for the land speed record three times but
 had difficulty making the back up run. During the first back up run, a
 failed piston forced the team to change the truck's engine in Utah's
 100-degree heat; an oil pump interfered with the second back up run.
     "It came down to the 11th hour, but in the end the truck definitely had
 a record-breaking performance," said Lagod. "It was so exciting to beat the
 existing land speed record to become a member of Bonneville's 200 mile-per-
 hour club with the 'Rocket Ranger'."
     Lagod said the team may return to the Bonneville Salt Flats in October
 to beat its own land speed record.
     SPAL's "Rocket Ranger" set its first land speed record in 2001 at the
 SCTA/BNI World Finals with a Roush-built NASCAR(R) Nextel Cup(R) engine
 enlarged to 371 cubic inches. It reached 205.208 miles-per-hour and
 shattered the existing "Modified Mid/Mini Pickup" class mark by almost 25
 miles-per- hour.
     In 2003, SPAL USA's "Rocket Ranger" returned to Bonneville to mark the
 first time a Powerstroke diesel engine was used for a land speed record
 attempt. The truck reached a respectable 222 miles-per-hour but was unable
 to complete a back up run due to an electrical issue caused by an
 intercooler explosion on a previous run.
     "Nothing comes easy at Bonneville," said Mark Kitlinski, sales and
 market manager -- bus & truck, SPAL USA. "We are very proud of the work our
 dedicated team has put forth. This record breaking performance would not
 have been possible without the support of Hypermax, International Truck,
 Ford Motor Company, and Creative Werks Inc."
     SPAL is a leading manufacturer of ISO 9001-certified and
 TS16949-certified OEM and aftermarket automotive products, including
 electric cooling fans, centrifugal blowers, power window kits, power door
 lock kits, security systems, shaved door kits parking sensors,
 satellite/navigation systems, keyless entry systems and many other
 products. Founded in 1959, SPAL is headquartered in Correggio, Italy. The
 company maintains distribution facilities in Ankeny, Iowa, (SPAL USA), Sao
 Paulo (SPAL Brazil) and Shanghai (SPAL China). SPAL USA is located at 1731
 SE Oralabor Rd., Ankeny, IA, 50021. Contact SPAL USA at 800.345.0327, fax
 800.654.7725 or visit online at