Skip to main content

Scott Birdsall joins Team AMSOIL

Scott Birdsall joins Team AMSOIL

Scott Birdsall, holder of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and half-mile diesel records, joins Team AMSOIL.

I never seen a team with such the interesting variation of vehicles.

Birdsall Guy

Birdsall Guy

_by Brad Nelson|June 16, 2023

“It’s about finding that last tenth.” That’s how Scott Birdsall sees competition — and clearly, he knows where to go looking for it. Birdsall, the newest member of Team AMSOIL, is the visionary builder and driver of Old Smokey – a 1949 Ford F1 pickup equipped with a 12-valve, 6.7L twin-turbo Freedom Racing Engines* Cummins* – that holds the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb diesel record with a time of 11:24.065. Birdsall and Old Smokey also hold the half-mile diesel land-speed record at 167 mph. Those accomplishments are even more incredible considering that Birdsall simultaneously operates two award-winning fabrication shops, Chuckles Garage and Resolute Motorsports in Santa Rosa, Calif. But instead of slowing down, Birdsall is just getting started. When the milestone 100th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb runs on June 26, 2022, he will be back with a new car intent on resetting his own record. And AMSOIL will be there to help.

Scott Birdsall and Old Smokey charge up Pikes Peak on his record-setting run.

Old Smokey

“I bought Old Smokey off craigs list for $225,” said Birdsall.
I was just going to flip it, but it started to grow on me. I decided to make it into a shop truck to run around in and grab parts and stuff with, so we put a 12-valve Cummins diesel in it and some standard stuff.

“But I don’t have any personal restraint,” he continued. “So, one turbo turned into two, and two turned into two really big ones – and then it turned into needing big breaks. It turned into a 1200-hp street truck. Before I knew it, it was a full-blown race truck with a license plate on it.”

Old Smokey debuted at the 2016 SEMA with a lot of buzz, going viral on social media and making Car and Driver’s Top 10 of SEMA 2016. But Birdsall decided to take the truck to yet another level.

Old Smokey driven by Scott Birdsall up Pikes Peak.
Scott Birdsall drives Old Smokey to the new Pikes Peak diesel record.

Old Smokey went through another rebuild with “literally everything” upgraded with $400,000-plus of premium components. He says you can think of Smokey as a World Challenge Cup GT race car hiding under a ’49 Ford F1. It has a computer designed aerodynamics package that creates tons of downforce. The Freedom Racing Engines* Cummins* runs on NexDiesel,* a renewable fuel that burns clean and efficient. FASS Fuel Systems* pumps and Dynamite Diesel* injectors deliver the fuel, creating a staggering 1,463 hp and 2,100 lb-ft of torque. Birdsall says that Smokey is a beast to drive at 4,400 nose-heavy pounds and no driving aids like traction control or ABS.

“Smokey is like sitting on a silverback gorilla and giving it the taser,” joked Birdsall. “It’s a purely analog machine with no driver aids at all. The only drivers aid is your fear of mortality.”


Race to the Clouds

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as “The Race to the Clouds,” is a race to the summit of Pikes Peak in Manitou, Colo. The route stretches uphill 12.42 miles with 156 turns and 4,725 feet of elevation gain.

“There’s always been this mystique,” said Birdsall about Pikes Peak. “It’s one of the most legendary races in the world. I grew up watching it on TV with my dad, so I always held these drivers up on a huge pedestal. They’re professional racing drivers but they’re also doing this crazy race up this half-dirt, half-paved road.”

Birdsall has always been a gear head with a love for speed. He grew up racing dirt bikes and go-karts through club racing and then some World Challenge racing. But he walked away from the track for a while to focus on snowboarding.

Resolute Motorworks Porsche
Resolute Motorworks builds Overland Cayennes and Overland 911s from the SC and Carrera 3.2 generation of 911 Porsches.

“Before I was a sponsored racer, I was a sponsored snowboarder,” said Birdsall. “I rode for Burton* and Analog.* It’s crazy because my first big sponsor in the automotive world was Airaid,* and their GM at the time was a bigwig at Burton.* We met at SEMA and it just clicked. My snowboard sponsor became my first auto sponsor.”

In 2017, Birdsall set his sights on Pikes Peak. “I just got the idea, I wanted to go run the Peak,” he said. But things didn’t go his way initially.

“I threw it off the mountain in 2018 on my first try,” said Birdsall. “I crashed in tire testing, herniated two discs in my neck and broke my tailbone.” Old Smokey was also banged up. Birdsall and his crew fixed the truck in eight days and came back to qualify, but engine damage caused Birdsall to withdraw from the race.

He returned in 2019 and managed to start the race. But halfway through his run, rain and hail moved in and the race was called off for safety reasons.

But tenacity paid off in 2020. Birdsall and Old Smokey pulled down the Pikes Peak diesel record set in 2015 by an AWD Mercedes-Benz* C 250 d 4MATIC driven by factory rally driver Uwe Nittel. He succeeded despite Old Smokey overheating at 12,800 feet, putting it into limp mode to the finish. But Birdsall takes it in stride.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s just like my whole life, things just happen. There’s no plan, it just flows into its own organic monster. Same thing with my Porsche business, I never intended to have one. I just built one and it just became popular.”

Scott Birdsall’s personal passions are 90s Porches* and Japanese cars.

Chuckles Garage

In the early 2000s, Birdsall was working as a regional manager for a big-box retailer, but it wasn’t his thing.

“I got sick of corporate America, so I had to leave for my own health reasons,” he said. “It’s not worth it, burning eight hours of your life for something you’re not passionate about. You’re just burning your life to fuel someone else’s dreams.”

In 2005, Birdsall opened Chuckles Garage. The shop specializes in custom builds with Birdsall as lead designer. The shop has gained an international reputation for their work, with projects featured in magazines like Hotrod, Car Craft, TRC, Diesel World, Diesel Power and numerous TV shows.

Let’s tune in to see Chuckles in action..


“My personal passions are Porches* and vintage Japanese cars,” said Birdsall. “By vintage I mean the 90s, things like that. For example, I have a ’93 Selica World Rally Car GT 4 and a ’98 Supra Twin Turbo that’s basically a crazy streetcar with 13-hundred horsepower.”

As Chuckles Garage took off, the ever-restless Birdsall co-founded a second shop, Resolute Motorworks, to focus on fabricating Porsches.* Resolute builds cars from the SC and Carrera 3.2 generation of 911 Porsches, ideally 3.2-Liter cars produced from 1983 to 1989, and remake them into serious on-/off-road cars with re-engineered components that are tested on desert, gravel, snow and pavement.

“Chuckles does pretty much anything I deem fun. Resolute does Overland 911s and Overland Cayennes,” Birdsall said.

Scott Birdsall’s built a new Le Mans-style diesel race car to reset his own Pikes Peak record.

Return to Pikes Peak

Birdsall is returning to Pikes Peak in June. He hopes to reset his own record somewhere in the nine-minute mark. He also intends to push his half-mile diesel land-speed record to 180 mph. To run down those goals, he’s building a new car.

“I want to take my Pikes Peak diesel record and put it up where it’s really hard to get,” said Birdsall. “The new car that I built to be Smokey’s successor is a full-on Le Mans prototype, like a car you’d see running the 24-hours of Le Mans. So that’s a different kind of diesel. The new chassis will weigh less than 3,000 pounds with tons of downforce. Everything is super racecar on it and thoroughly modern. I’ve basically taken it and blown it down to its basic elements and made it into its own chassis. We call it the ‘CG Superlight LMP1.’”

The CG Superlight will be powered by a VM Motori* 24-valve diesel V6 built by Freedom Racing Engines.* It’s equipped with compound Garrett Motion* turbos to produce an output of 600 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque that’s mated to a 6XD 6-speed sequential transaxle.

Birdsall will be driving the CG Superlight, but he won’t be kicking Old Smokey to the curb. The fan-favorite will also return to the mountain, this time with Aaron Kaufman behind the wheel.


Given the audacity of his goals, Birdsall sought out a lubricant partner with a history of winning races and resetting limits.

“AMSOIL provides us with a reliability bump,” said Birdsall. “It’s definitely cool that I’m with a sponsor that has already conquered the peak – and basically puts my name in the hat with the Unsers. That’s cool, they are royalty out there. And I really like AMSOIL’s overall spread of motorsports. They really are into everything.”

When Birdsall leaves the line to reset his Pikes Peak diesel record on June 26, AMSOIL will be there too, helping him find that last tenth.


Keep up with Scott Birdsall’s adventures. Follow him on your favorite social media channel at @chucklesgarage.

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement, claim, express or implied, is made by their use.

2022-2023 AMSOIL Championship Snocross Season Gears Up

2022-2023 AMSOIL Championship Snocross Season Gears Up

Scheuring Speed Sports driver Hunter Patenaude enters this season with his eyes on the title. We preview his path.

_by Lindsay Tousignant|December 12, 2022

Hey race fans, last March we took a trip up to the Klim Compound to catch up with Scheuring Speed Sports between AMSOIL Championship Snocross races.

At that point, Hunter Patenaude found himself just 37 points out of first place. The next weekend he went on to secure his first Pro win at ERX and sealed his second place in the season overall.

With those results in his pocket, Patenaude enters the new season with his eyes on the title. Let’s breakdown his path to clinching it.


Early start

Santa’s coming early this year. In sled form that is.

AMSOIL Championship Snocross kicks off next weekend in Fargo, N.D. Notoriously one of the coldest weekends on the circuit, the Fargo opener will also play host to the elusive AMSOIL Dominator. But more on that below.

As we head into the new year, the series returns to the Daytona of Snocross, the Pirtek Snocross National in Shakopee, Minn.

The first month of the year closes out with a fan-favorite, the U.S. Air Force Snocross National in the “wild west” of Deadwood, S.D. Then the series heads east. We spend Valentine’s Day weekend at the U.S. Air Force National in Salamanca, N.Y.

March kicks off in Sioux Falls, S.D. for the Sioux Falls Snocross National. Then the circuit rolls to ERX Motorpark for the AMSOIL Snocross National in Elk River, Minn.

The season concludes with two ski-slope events, the Cannonsburg Snocross National in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Theisen’s National in Dubuque, Iowa.


Dominator goes back to OG status

The AMSOIL Dominator first entered the scene as a head-to-head, bracket-style race on opening weekend for members of the Pro class.

However, in 2021 the AMSOIL Dominator switched to a cup-style format and was expanded to include Sport, Pro Lite and Pro classes. The 10-minute-plus-two-minute format lined up Pro Lite and Sport riders on the front row with Pros in the back. Opening the door for pure carnage, this format was favored by fans, but racers yearned for the old style. After discussion in the off-season, the Dominator will return to its head-to-head format and kick off the season in Fargo.

Setting the stage is a track that gained a lot of attention last season, a design by former snocross champion (and member of Team AMSOIL) Robbie Malinoski.


In 2022, Elias Ishoel captured his fourth straight Pro championship. Coming into this season tied with Ross Martin for career wins at 34, the “Viking Rocket” will look to take that record as he runs for his fifth title.

Though the true Dominator, Ishoel was contested by Pro sophomore, Scheuring Speed Sports Hunter Patenaude. Patenaude is hungry to capture a championship after his first career Pro win last season.

Hot on their tails will be a slew of returning riders including Petter Narsa, Aki Philaja, Francis Pelletier, Patenaude’s Scheruing Speed Sports teammate Logan Christian and others, making this season one of the most competitive in years.


Be sure to catch all of the season’s action by subscribing to FloSports. Tape-delayed programming of all 16 rounds will be re-aired on CBS Sports network.

Racing kicks off Friday, Dec. 16 with the AMSOIL Dominator in Fargo. Follow our social channels for more information and behind-the-scenes action.

We’ll see you at the races!

A Deciding Pikes Peak Summit and a First-Time Win in Crandon

A Deciding Pikes Peak Summit and a First-Time Win in Crandon

Scott Birdsall fails to reset the Pikes Peak diesel record. Kyle Chaney picks up speed at the AMSOIL Championship Off-Road…

Pikes Peak racing

Pikes Peak racing

by Lindsay Tousignant | June 30, 2022

Happy summer race fans! Can you believe it’s already America’s birthday? It seems like we were just kicking off summer with the start of the AMSOIL Championship Off-Road season. A little follow up on that to come.

But first let’s delve into news about our newest Team AMSOIL member, Scott Birdsall, and regale his latest attempt to summit Pike’s Peak in record time, all while dubbed “best dressed on the mountain” in a pretty bad a** LMP1 (that runs with AMSOIL).


The Mountain Said No

When Scott Birdsall flipped his snowboarding career to car racing, Pike’s Peak was just something he grew up watching with his dad on TV. Then, in 2017, he set his sites on the illustrious summit. After two failed attempts, Birdsall succeeded at resetting the diesel record in 2020, breaking the record set in 2015.

He returned looking to reset his own record with a new vehicle. After experiencing some cooling issues during practice rounds, Birdsall was faced with another, less-controllable obstacle on race day, weather. Rain, low visibility and fog all led Birdsall to know going into his run that he was not likely to reset the record. But he reached the summit, a feat itself, and he leaves knowing that the LMP1 is capable of putting the diesel record up where it’s hard to reach.

Birdsall’s previous record-setting vehicle, Old Smokey, also reached the summit with driver Aaron Kaufman behind the wheel.

Team AMSOIL was along for the climb. See all the action unfold below.


Gettin’ ‘er done at the Big House

Scheuring Speed Sports’ Kyle Chaney didn’t have the breakout start to the AMSOIL Championship Off-Road season that everyone had hoped for. A mechanical issue forced him off the track in round one after leading for the fist half of the race. Chaney returned with a vengeance to prove his opening was just a fluke, running away with the lead in rounds two, three and four. Another milestone for the 2022 UTV King of the Hammers Champ? His first win at Crandon Raceway. Good thing he trusts AMSOIL to get him around Turn 1 and through to the finish line.

In the staging area

As we dive from winter there is plenty more Team AMSOIL excitement to be had. S

Check out the new AMSOIL Performance Blog with the latest up top the moment lessons why AMSOIL is the only product for your lasting motor enjoyment!

We’ll see you at the races!

No Fear and Loathing at the Mint 400

No Fear and Loathing at the Mint 400

“In some circles, the Mint 400 is a far, far better thing than the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby and the Lower Oakland Roller Derby Finals all rolled into one. This race attracts a special breed…”  – Hunter S. Thompson

In 1971, author Hunter S. Thompson wrote his famous article “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” while covering the Mint 400 for Sports Illustrated. Thompson’s article was later adapted into a novel and then into a film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, signifying the Mint 400’s relevance to American pop culture.


The Mint 400 started in 1967 near Las Vegas as a public relations event to promote the Mint Hotel’s annual deer hunt. Race organizers sent two matching dune buggies 600 miles through the desert from the Mint Hotel to the Sahara Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Calif. The event because famous overnight, with national television coverage drawing the attention of race fans across the country.

Some of the “special breeds” who have competed in this event include Al and Bobby Unser; Rick Mears; Mickey Thompson; actors Steve McQueen and Patrick Dempsey; and comedian Jay Leno.

AMSOIL racers to take to the desert

Coming off an impressive seventh-place finish at the King of the Hammers UTV race last month, two-time Mint 400 champion Bryce Menzies is looking to do it again in this year’s Trick Truck class. His fellow #TeamAMSOIL racer Brad Lovell is also looking to keep the momentum going following a second-place finish at last month’s King of the Hammers EMC. Lovell, who took second in the Vintage Open Class at last year’s Mint 400, will be competing in his first ever 6100 race.

Prior to racing on Friday, Lovell’s pit crew will participate in the Method Race Wheels Pit Crew Challenge along Fremont Street on Thursday evening.

Stop by the AMSOIL booth

AMSOIL will be located on Fremont Street throughout all the pre-race events. Be sure to stop by and pick up your exclusive Runs on Freedom™ bandana. Fill out our survey on Friday, March 8 for a chance to win the fender from Lovell’s new 6100 truck following the race.

On Thursday and Friday, Menzies’ UTV from King of the Hammers will be on display. Lovell’s Bronco will be displayed Thursday and his new 6100 on Friday. Both Menzies and Lovell will be in the booth Friday at 2 p.m. local time signing autographs for fans.

Buy two SEVERE GEAR® easy-packs, get one free

We’re also offering a special promotion as part of our Mint 400 partnership. Buy two AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR Synthetic Gear Lube easy-packs and get one free. It’s the same gear lube Menzies and Lovell trust in their race vehicles.

Find more information on the promotion here.

As always, tune into our social media channels for updates throughout the race. The week kicks off Wednesday, March 6 in Las Vegas. Check out the complete schedule of Mint 400 events here.




We’ll see you at the races!

SCCA Mazda Engine Builder Trusts Only AMSOIL

Championship Engine Builder Trusts Only AMSOIL

More than 1,080 miles covering six states separate Jesse Prather Motorsports, in Topeka, Kansas, from Virginia International Raceway.

And yet Jesse Prather’s influence at the track in October for the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) annual “Runoffs” was unmistakable as an estimated 20 cars had one of his motors under its hood. In 2017, that number was 32. And two of those cars won national championships that year.

Top driver becomes top engine builder

That’s all to say that Jesse Prather is a big name in SCCA road-racing circles, particularly for competitors at the Runoffs, the SCCA’s biggest event. Many of them source their engines from Prather’s shop, where he puts his wealth of racing experience to work.

Although Prather has raced himself, winning three SCCA national championships, and has built race cars, today he mostly builds high-performance engines. He’s developed a niche building Mazda engines, but he also builds Honda, BMW and other foreign-made engines.

No doubt his father’s experience racing British sports cars for parts of three decades played a part in Prather’s career. Prather’s father opened a racing shop in Kansas around 1990, where Jesse worked for 10 years. It was there he started working on Mazdas.

“A customer wanted me to build a rotary engine for his RX-7, and it just kind of snowballed from there,” Prather said. His success behind the wheel laid the foundation for his success as an engine builder.

“[When you win], people want to know where you’re getting your equipment from. I built it all myself, so that’s how I started this business.”

AMSOIL Break-In Oil key to success

Today, Prather runs his own business, and AMSOIL products are a huge part. In fact, every engine that leaves Jesse Prather Motorsports is shipped with AMSOIL Break-In Oil inside the crate. It was this product that drew Prather to AMSOIL several years ago.

“I was looking for an oil that would seat rings properly, but that I could also run hard on the dyno,” said Prather. “With a lot of the break-in oils out there at that time, you couldn’t run the engine hard on the dyno because it couldn’t take the heat that we put them through on initial break-in.”

Break-In Oil (SAE 30)

Engine break-in is vital to building a championship racing engine. If the piston rings don’t seat properly against the cylinder wall, engine compression can suffer, reducing horsepower.

In Prather’s case, engine design posed additional challenges.

“We used forged pistons with thin rings to reduce drag in the bottom end of the engine,” he said. “I used to always have a lot of trouble getting these rings to break-in to the cylinder wall.”

Prather tried several techniques to solve the problem, but AMSOIL Break-In Oil proved most successful. “Now the rings seat in the first 10-15 minutes versus having to run an engine 2-3 hours before the rings seat – and sometimes they’d never seat,” he said.

“Every single engine I ship has AMSOIL Break-In Oil shipped in the crate with the engine. It’s a required step to using a Jesse Prather Motorsports racing engine.”

Jesse Prather

Racing oil just as important

Prather’s use of AMSOIL products doesn’t end after break-in.

He recommends AMSOIL DOMINATOR® Synthetic Racing Oil in his engines due to its excellent wear protection and heat resistance.

(Should you use racing oil in your daily driver? Find out here.)

“Even after running fairly high oil temperatures during a race, the oil does a good job absorbing the contaminants we put it through,” said Prather.

Most customers have their engines rebuilt after two years or 20 hours. It’s then that he sees DOMINATOR’s excellent performance first-hand.

“When I get these motors back, I see that the bearings have been protected. We don’t have bearing scuffing. We don’t have bearing deterioration. I don’t see extensive wear in some of the chain-driven camshafts. I don’t see excessive wear on the bore or on the pistons.”

“It’s amazing; it just works. And we abuse it. This oil gets abused day in and day out.”

Jesse Prather

DOMINATOR® 10W-30 Racing Oil

Prather’s use of AMSOIL extends beyond the motor.

He uses Synthetic Manual Transmission and Transaxle Gear Lube in all synchronizer-equipped transmissions. He also uses SEVERE GEAR® Synthetic Gear Lube in the differentials and some transmissions not equipped with synchros.

As Prather says, wear protection is the key to a good differential fluid, particularly in high-demand racing applications that undergo tremendous pressure. And SEVERE GEAR meets his demands.

“Even up to 300°F (149°C), SEVERE GEAR doesn’t break down; it continues to protect. It can take the heat and it still protects those gears.”

Jesse Prather

New Easy Pack for simple differential oil servicing.

AMSOIL isn’t just for racing

Prather makes sure his customers know just how well AMSOIL performs.

“I tell them it does the best job protecting their engine, period. I’ve been around racing for 40 years, and I tell them it works the best for what we’re doing with these cars.”

“I’ve seen the least amount of wear in the engines and the best protection of any other oil I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a lot over the years.”

Jesse Prather

While Prather has notched plenty of wins on the track, he derives more satisfaction from seeing his customers win.

“I’ve had a customer win a national championship every year for the last multiple years,” he said. “And that really is what drives me to keep pushing.”

As with many AMSOIL users, Prather’s initial positive experience with one AMSOIL product convinced him to try others. He now uses AMSOIL products in everything he owns with an engine.

“I’ve expanded into using AMSOIL in all my engines, from my lawnmowers, to my RV, to my skidsteer, to all my family’s vehicles. I use it exclusively. I don’t have any other oils in my shop,” he said.

And the reason he uses it, as his customers have found out, is that it simply works.

“That’s all that matters to an engine builder. It’s not about being loyal to a certain company – it’s about what works. I trust AMSOIL exclusively with all my racing engines,” said Prather.