Photography by Shawn Michener
When you think about truck pulls, or drag racing trucks, what kind of images come to mind? Nine times out of ten, thoughts of domestic diesels and boosted gassers are representative of both worlds. Every now and then, however, someone chooses to break the mold and stray on to the road less travelled. Thankfully for us, one of those people is Walter Cheney, and we’ve managed to track him down to talk about his 2010 Nissan Titan Pro4X.
Inspired by his brothers, who spent a lot of time racing in his younger years, Cheney was swept into the world of fast trucks before he even had a truck of his own. “I started at a very young age truck pulling and drag racing (18 years old) and never stopped,” he tells us. “I have built several truck pulling trucks, several drag cars, and even a show-winning Honda Civic hatch.” As you can see, he’s got quite the well-rounded pedigree, but trucks have always been the main focus for him and his family.
It all started when his brother purchased the first Nissan Titan in their area back in 2004. They immediately noticed how much potential the platform had to be something great, so they decided it would become a race truck over time. Of course, back then the Titan was a brand new platform, so it wasn’t easy to find parts right away. “You just can’t open a magazine or pop open a web page and order race parts for these trucks,” he says. “Yes, it’s getting easier now, but back in 2004 when we started, it was unheard of.”
That lack of aftermarket support only motivated Cheney and his brother. Thanks to their hard work with research and development, the brothers have managed to make products for the platform and help other Titan owners. With a list of sponsors longer than most grocery lists, as well as their own expertise, the build was well underway by the time Cheney acquired the 2010 Nissan Titan Pro4X you see here. With UpRev on board as a tuner, they were going to go all out this time around.
Taking Nissan’s VK56 engine to the next level required a smorgasbord of parts from all over the industry. Venom Racing, R2C Performance, JWT, Stillen and others have removed any factory restrictions from the VK, bumping the power up to a respectful estimated 600 whp and 700 lb-ft of torque after UpRev’s tuning. Singing the VK’s signature song out the rear is a Magnaflow race exhaust, connected to the engine by way of Cajun B-Pipes’ down-pipe, as well as JBA ceramic-coated long-tube headers. PRG jumped on board the project as well, providing engine mounts, transmission mounts, and drop shackles which have all withstood abuse over time, keeping the build assembly solid.
When you’re making the kind of power that this Titan is with solid mounts throughout, you’ll need a drivetrain that can handle all sorts of abuse from the high-revving, high-torque output. Luckily for Cheney, Level 10 Transmission had just the thing: a “Bulletproof Build” transmission, complete with a 3400 RPM stall for hard launches. The Level 10 transmission sends power from a Venom transfer case, down an aluminum driveshaft with solid joints, to a Drivetrain America True Trac rear differential mounted to custom upgraded axles that have withstood torture-testing.
The bulletproof transmission and drivetrain setup transfer their rotating power to a set of 20-inch Anthem wheels, the style of which change up every so often depending on the event, wrapped in Nitto 420 tires measuring in at 305 mm wide. Suspension is handled by Radflo shocks, with Eibach custom springs up front, and custom interchangeable Dever rear springs which are swapped out depending on the type of racing the truck is staging for. PRG’s drop shackles come into play for leveling, and a Hellwig rear sway bar keeps the truck rigid.
If this entire setup sounds remarkably impressive, that’s because it is. The combination of custom engineering, a badass drivetrain, and carefully chosen suspension components have landed this Titan Pro4X a prestigious title. As of the time of writing, Chenvey’s Titan holds the world record for the world’s fastest Titan, boasting a stunning quarter-mile time of 11.7 seconds at 115 mph (185 km/h). To give those numbers some context, the 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 does the quarter-mile in 12.05 seconds at 113 mph (182 kp/h). This truck is no joke.
The feats achieved by this truck wouldn’t have been possible without the support of some stellar sponsors. “Support was key,” says Cheney, thanking his sponsors. “We could not afford a failure, so we went with top quality and supporting backers like Huttig Nissan of Plattsburgh, New York. We also needed our tuning to be the best possible. This was an easy choice with UpRev. Randy, Omar, and Dustin are the best in the tuning business, period. PRG was our chassis line choice. Greg at PRG has supplied us with components like engine mounts and drop shackles and much more.”
Since the project began, Cheney has gained the support of over 40 sponsors, alleviating some of the challenges of managing this dual-purpose racing truck as a small-town mechanic. The build started off as a way for Cheney to express himself, as well as an outlet where he could go fast legally, while also kicking ass in competition. These days, the story of the build is dedicated to Cheney’s mother who passed away due to cancer in 2014. Since then, Venom has been Cheney’s personal tool to promote cancer treatment awareness.
In its time touring over the last seven years, the Venom truck has won over two dozen truck pulling championships, the Best Truck award at several shows (including Carlisle Truck Nationals and Street Scene in Syracuse), and claimed the world record for fastest Titan. With the help of sponsors big and small, as well as some strong family ties, Cheney’s truck has climbed to the peak of street-driven Nissan Titans.