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Story by Jack Baruth – Photography by Dave Everest and Jack Baruth
Welcome to the first installment of Towin’ Speed:Sport:Life. In this series, we will be trying out different trucks with just one purpose in mind: towing to races and other auto events. We aren’t going to talk about residual value, slalom speed, or global warming – we’ll save that for the mainstream press, who typically “review” these rigs by driving little Austin and MacKenzie to their local Goddard School. Instead, we’re loading them up and running them hard. Each review will focus on Ten Important Questions For Your Race Rig, which isn’t a trademarked phrase as far as we know. Without further ado, then, let’s meet our truck: the 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4×4 Crew Cab Lariat Styleside Triton V-10 156″ Wheelbase. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?
The Super Duty pickups were kind-of-new for 2008, featuring a revised frame, upgraded interiors, and a new front end designed to produce involuntary urination in five out of six Prius drivers. The list of options and configurations possible in a Super Duty makes for literally millions of possible combinations, and we’ll be trying more of them in the next year, but for now we decided to start with a variant that is relatively common among club racers – the 4×4 crew cab. Although having four-wheel-drive in a tow rig seems like a waste of money and fuel economy, it only took one start in wet grass to convince us of the benefits. Since then, we’ve found plenty of uses for 4×4 in towing, including backing the trailer up a steep hill, using the Low Range to tow a disabled race car out of the weeds, and dragging a stuck trailer out of six inches’ worth of mud. We’re not the only people to understand this, so more and more Super Duties are showing up at the races with the “4×4 Off Road” sticker on their beds. While it may be tempting to go out and buy a new 4×4 so you can enjoy all these features, one alternative to this is investing in 4wd conversion which will allow you to keep your current car and have the joys of being able to go off road.
Where this truck does deviate from standard club racer doctrine, however, is in the short bed and 6.8L V-10 gasoline engine. For the committed race driver, bed space is like money in the bank. It’s just not possible to have too much. However, this F-250 has a trick up its sleeve to help bridge the gap, as well see. We were also a little unsure about the Triton V-10, which serves up 362hp at a relatively lofty 4750 rpm and 457 lb-ft of torque at 3250 revs. Compare that to the 6.4L Powerstroke’s 350 horses at 3000rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque at a basement-level 2000 rpm, and it’s easy to see why many racers choose the diesel. Could the V-10 compete? Let’s ask the questions and find out.