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Cummins Diesel Racing Heritage On Display @ ConExpo

Posted on February 10, 2014

Cummins Inc. announced that it will display one of the most famous diesel-powered  race cars of all time at its booth at ConExpo-Con/Agg. The Cummins Diesel Special 28 will be displayed to highlight the 95th anniversary of the company’s founding in February 1919. When it raced at the 1952 Indianapolis 500, the number 28 car set a four-lap record qualifying speed of 138 mph (222 kph) to take the pole position.

"The appearance of the Cummins Diesel Special race car at CONEXPO is a fitting testament to Cummins rich heritage of innovation in our 95th-anniversary year, brought right up to date with our latest near-zero emissions technology for Tier 4 Final, also featured in our booth," said Hugh Foden, executive director - Cummins Off-Highway Business.

The number 28 race car incorporated a radically different Kurtis-Kraft roadster style chassis with a lower and longer profile. The six-cylinder Cummins JB-600 diesel was horizontally oriented as a "flat" engine within the highly streamlined body. The engine utilized a turbocharger — a first for the race at that time — as well as the pressure-time (PT) fuel system, which at that time was newly developed by Clessie Cummins and the engineering team at Cummins  in Columbus, Ind.

For the race car, the JB-600 engine output was increased to 420 hp (313 kW) and made extensive use of lightweight materials, although it was essentially the same 6.6 L engine that had recently entered service in trucks and would later appear in construction equipment.

The driveshaft was offset to left side of the car to accommodate the engine and for a better center of gravity on the left-only turns at the speedway. The number 28 was also said to be the first Indy 500 race car to be tested in a wind tunnel, which helped to further enhance the sleek profile.

With driver Freddie Agabashian at the wheel, the Cummins Diesel Special 28 fell back from pole position as the turbocharger took its time to get the engine up to full power. Steadily, the diesel racer climbed back up the field to fourth position. But at the 175-mile mark, the car was forced to retire from the race due to damage resulting from the intake of tire debris on the track.

After the race ended, the entry rules were changed, effectively making number 28 the last diesel race car to compete in the Indianapolis 500.

Visitors to ConExpo can see the diesel race car in the Cummins booth, S4-84808.

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