■ LOGAN YELTON might specialize in building transmissions – for high-horsepower diesel applications , to be specific – but his skills also extend to fabricating , chassis building , chassis setup and tuning , engine building , power management , and more . He can build parts , read data , and drive . Yelton , 29 , will do whatever it takes to follow his racing dreams , and a big part of that is knowing how to do as much as possible himself .
“ I don ’ t care if I ’ m driving a 4-second 4x4 or sweeping a pit mat off – every bit of it matters and I love every part of it with every fiber in my being ,” says Yelton , a third-generation racer . “ I ’ ve never had any sort of big budget or financial backing . The more stuff that you can do yourself , the more money you save . Plus , what you learn through that process is that it ’ s not just saving money , but it actually helps your entire program because nobody cares about your race car like you do . So , the more stuff that you can learn on your own , the better your entire program is going to be .”
Growing up around his father ’ s paint and body business , Yelton always had an appreciation for nice-looking stuff . That ’ s evident in his 1993 Dodge Ram 2500 , a truck he drove to high school and now races . It ’ s not flashy , but it ’ s clean with an attention to detail that fellow craftsmen will notice . It even appeared on the cover of Diesel Power magazine in 2013 .
“ I wanted to go from the burnout box to the finish line as professionally and as quickly as possible and not focus so much on the E . T . because that will come later ,” says Yelton , who ’ s dipped into the 5.70s in the eighth mile with the truck . “ That was what I did accomplish this year : I have a really nice-looking program now , to where next year , I want to hit it hard and probably run the Outlaw Diesel Super Series .”
Yelton is all-in on the diesel racing world . In 2018 , with the support of his business mentor , JP Libert , Yelton launched his own transmission business , Loganbuilt . He developed new products and improved others , including transbrakes , converter dump valves , aluminum clutch drums , and custom ratio gear sets .
“ By the end of 2019 I even developed my own SFI-tested and approved flexplate shield , which had never before been done for the 47 / 48 platform ,” Yelton says . “ The 47 / 48 platform was stalled out and falling off before I got invested in it . Things were tried and failed and a lot had given up on it . Today it is thriving , and 90 percent of my business the last year and a half has been 1,000-plus-horsepower to full race-only builds .”
Yelton ’ s commitment to the 47 / 48 platform
extends to the racetrack as well . Driving Libert ’ s ’ 07 Dodge Ram in Radial vs . the World at No Mercy 11 , Yelton recorded a 4.973-second pass at 142 mph in the opening round of eliminations . It was no match for Melanie Salemi ’ s blistering 3.556-second blast , but that wasn ’ t the point . It was one of the quickest passes in 4-wheel-drive diesel history .
“ I can ’ t even put the emotions into words , but it was one of the greatest highlights of my life ,” Yelton says . “ At that time , it wasn ’ t enough for the overall 4x4 diesel record , which just six months beforehand had fallen to a 4.82 . But it was the quickest pass of any 47 / 48 transmissions , which made me proud . On that day I became one of only five people to ever run 4s in a 4-wheel-drive diesel . To this day there has only been six people to accomplish the feat .”
Though he credits mentors like Libert for showing him the ropes , Yelton also says he had to learn a lot through trial and error because there are no guidebooks or instruction manuals for his niche . He ’ s now helping others , especially fellow young racers , find their way through the diesel racing world with his YouTube channel , where he offers a behind-the-scenes look at his racing and business efforts , as well as technical explanations .
“ If you ’ re going to be invested in drag racing , you have to get the next generation of people in ,” Yelton says . “ You ’ ve got to be transparent and put it out there and show your struggles . I don ’ t care who you are , everyone makes the wrong calls sometimes .
“ I tell people all the time that if one person quits , it doesn ’ t just affect me as the transmission guy , it affects the engine builders , the injector companies , the turbo companies . Everybody across the board just lost one customer . I think it ’ s our job , as people already in the sport , to be ushering in the new people and showing them why it ’ s worth all this time and money and investment .” – NATE VAN WAGNEN DI
90 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 179