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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.

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.

Watch Scott Judnick Go Big – And Why We’re Into Snow

Watch Scott Judnick Go Big – And Why We’re Into Snow

At AMSOIL, we like to do things big. And when it comes to the world of Snocross, Scott Judnick of Judnick Motorsports likes to do things just as big. Check out his story below.


It’s About the People

Twenty-two years ago, Scott Judnick took his sons racing. Within just a few years he was running a rig across the country to race. His two sons developed into professional riders complete with mechanics and trailers set-up for the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series. Find Judnick anywhere on the track or in the pits and you are sure to be greeted with a smile and a “How are ya?”

For Judnick, it’s all about the people within the racing community. Fielding the dreams of the three young racers on his team is just a bonus.

Overcoming Adversity

Judnick went into the 2018-19 Snocross season with notable riders expected to dominate the Pro, Pro Lite and Sport classes. The season started on a high note with Sport rider Carson Alread taking the checkers to open the season in Duluth, Minn.

Noticeably absent from the Friday night DOMINATOR race was Pro Lite rider Nick Lorenz. A re-aggravated knee injury forced Lorenz to take it easy opening weekend. After further observation, he underwent surgery that ended his season before it started. Making matters worse for the team, a scary landing during practice in Canterbury, Minn., left Alread sidelined for the remainder of the season, too.

But that didn’t stop Judnick from continuing to compete. He signed Canadian standout RJ Roy, along with Pro rider Corin Todd. Roy has proven he can hang with the big boys, landing just short of the podium multiple rounds.

AMSOIL Products Keep Sleds Running Strong

Race sleds operate in extreme conditions. Judnick relies on AMSOIL DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil to keep his race sleds running in those extreme conditions.

“Our engines are tuned to run on the very edge and placed under extreme demands in extreme weather conditions,” said Judnick. “We’ve been using DOMINATOR since its inception and it has never let us down.”

DOMINATOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil

Buy DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil

Not to be forgotten, the chaincases on these sleds also need attention. Judnick uses AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil to protect his sleds’ chaincases.

“The chain and sprockets on our race sleds take a beating from the harsh landings and constant changes in snow and track conditions. With just routine maintenance, AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil prevents us from having parts failures in these areas,” said Judnick.

chain case oil

Buy AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil

Another team favorite? Mudslinger. It provides a protective, non-stick layer of armor against the accumulation of snow.


Buy AMSOIL Mudslinger

Will Judnick go big this weekend? Be sure to watch his team live in action this weekend at the Seneca Allegany Snocross National in Salamanca, N.Y.

Your Mid-Summer Team AMSOIL Update

Team AMSOIL Update

Summer is in full swing, race fans! Which means Team AMSOIL is busy, busy, busy. Let me take a moment from taking in all the exhaust fumes and evaluating my farmer’s tan to let you know what we’ve been up to and where we’re headed.

On the Track


AMSOIL GNCC wrapped up racing for the summer June 6-7 in Dunkard, Pa., a new stop on the circuit. #TeamAMSOIL members Chris Borich and Team Babbitt’s Josh Strang found themselves atop the podium heading into the summer break.


Be sure to catch our recap from the Snowshoe GNCC here.

Swap Moto at Milestone

The second of three AMSOIL Swap Moto Race Series kicked off this past weekend at Milestone MX Park. The Terra Firma Series will run through August. Racers who compete in this mini series are eligible to win AMSOIL products and gift certificates as part of our partnership with the entire series.

Take a trip around the Expert track below.


In the Staging Area

Sprint Week

Eight races, 10 nights. The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Championship expands to its largest schedule for its 32nd running this year. Racing starts this Thursday in Gas City, Ind. and runs through Saturday in Haubstadt, Ind. The drivers take Monday and Tuesday off to gas up for the remaining stretch.

We followed along last year with Chad Boesplug during Sprint Week. Check out the video below.


Expedition Colorado

Veteran off-road racers (and brothers) Brad and Roger Lovell are at it again. This year, Expedition Colorado starts near Grand Junction, Colo. and heads toward Moab, Utah. The route then heads southeast through the San Juan Mountains, ending in Lake City, Colo.

Check out all the scenery from last year’s trip below.


As always, stay up to date on all the AMSOIL action via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

We’ll see you at the races!

AMSOIL-Sponsored Chase Sexton Takes Supercross Crown

AMSOIL-Sponsored Chase Sexton Takes Supercross Crown

As I plopped down on the sofa with my second cup of coffee Sunday morning, I tuned the DVR to watch the Supercross finals from Vegas (#centraltimezoneprobs). I knew two things from watching heats and LCQs the night before:

1. Those whoops were pretty gnarly.

2. With temperatures steadily approaching triple digits during the day, the track was drying pretty fast, making it super slick.

But, I also knew that GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda’s Chase Sexton just had to finish in sixth place or better to secure his first 250 Supercross championship.

Championship within reach

Even if Justin Cooper (who sat 10 points behind Sexton) were to win the East/West Shootout, Sexton would secure his first championship by finishing at least sixth in the main event. Mimicking the patient, controlled riding style he’d displayed all season, the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda rider sailed through in the top five, ultimately crossing the finish line in fourth place and securing a 250SX East Championship.


Initially slated to run in the East Coast series, Sexton switched to the West a week before the start of the season after an injury to Christian Craig. After breaking his collarbone while riding his mountain bike, the 2018 Rookie of the Year switched again back to the East. Cameron McAdoo stepped in, filling his vacant spot on the West.


Patience pays off

Consistently riding in control throughout the season, Sexton landed his first career win in East Rutherford, N.J. After an injury took front-runner Austin Forkner out of the title running in that same round, Sexton moved into first place with just the finale left to go.

Shop AMSOIL Dirt Bike Products

Qualifying second Sexton headed to the final in Vegas knowing what he had to do. In addition to Sexton’s championship, GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda riders RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo capped the team’s night with second- and third-place finishes, respectively.

“It feels super good; it hasn’t really sunk in yet, being 19 years old and winning my first championship is unbelievable.”

Chase Sexton

“It was the longest 15 minutes plus one [lap] I’ve ever done; track was gnarly. Yeah, it was a super-sketchy track, and the whoops were gnarly. [I] had some moments with my teammate, and there were some hay bales knocked out on the track. It was really hard to decide if it was a good move or bad move, but it couldn’t have worked out better.”


Riding high from the championship fumes, the attention now turns to the outdoors with the opening round of Pro Motocross from Hangtown in Sacramento, Calif., just more than a week away.

As always, be sure to tune into our FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see how #TeamAMSOIL is doing and where we are off to next.

We’ll see you at the races!