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NMCA/NMRA Racers See the Benefits of Diamond Pistons

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
NMCA/NMRA Racers See the Benefits of Diamond Pistons
If you’re an NMRA or NMCA racer who is serious about winning, then you probably already know the value of choosing quality components such as Diamond Pistons.
It doesn’t matter if you race in VP Racing Lubricants Renegade, VP Lubricants Pro Mod, Circle D Specialties/Torqstorm Superchargers True Street, or anything in between, there is an excellent chance that Diamond makes components that are right for your application. 
As a brief history lesson, Diamond Pistons was founded in 1968, during the height of the muscle car era. The Diamond business model stresses innovation, and that continues today as the company remains a driving force in performance and racing piston design.
Diamond’s founders, “Diamond Jim” Cavallaro, Nick Plantas, and Butch Eldkins, were a group of racers and entrepreneurs who combined resources to form the company’s first iteration. They quickly carved their own niche in the high-performance racing world and grew the company to become a leader in piston development. Diamond became involved with Pro Stock and Super Stock in the early ‘70s and they’ve never lifted off the gas.
Diamond wasn’t satisfied to be focused on doing just one thing. Instead, they did it all including cylinder head porting, engine building, and almost anything else in a quest to stay ahead of the competition.
“It was a vast line of stuff they did,” said Mike Panetta, who is currently Sales and Product Manager for Diamond. “They built Pro Stock engines, did head work, and even had the NASCAR contract to build all the engines for the IROC cars. It was a fully operational machine shop, which built a lot of parts; from rocker arms, to fittings, and pretty much anything else they needed.”
As demand for performance peaked, Diamond started to machine its own pistons using forging blanks finished in-house to rigid specs and quality standards. That business plan continued into the early ‘90s when a new owner, Bob Fox, decided to shift the company’s considerable engineering resources solely to piston development.
Fox, who previously worked for the trio of founders as a salesman, purchased the company from Jim, Butch, and Nick in 1999. With new leadership and product direction, Diamond’s resources became hyper-focused on performance and racing piston technology and innovation.
“Throughout the years we’ve kept up with that technology and have upgraded our equipment and machinery along with new software to stay competitive in the business. Since our focus became refined, we’ve done a great job of staying ahead of the crowd,” Panetta said.
“We’ve come full circle. Once Bob took over the business, he had a great relationship with a lot of larger teams in and out of NASCAR and NHRA,” said Panetta. That relationship manifested itself in 2001 when Diamond began working with Greg Anderson and Jason Line on their NHRA Pro Stock engine programs–a move that completed the circle for Diamond as more and more teams sought R&D as well as manufacturing of custom pistons for their engine programs.
Today, Diamond supplies pistons almost exclusively to all NHRA Pro Stock teams. That technology trickles down to designs available to others in the racing sphere. “Our top segment is drag racing, with a strong presence in the circle track and diesel markets too. “We’re always looking forward, wanting to develop the next big thing in piston technology–from materials and machining, to tooling techniques and new software – we are always looking for innovative ways to stay ahead of the curve.
While some may think that piston technology has reached its zenith, that’s hardly the case. Diamond is on the cutting-edge of machining techniques, engineering advances, and use of revolutionary new materials. “It never stops. There is always something new,” said Panetta. Panetta sums up the new philosophy of Diamond Pistons succinctly: “If you sit still, you’ll be passed. We don’t plan on being passed.”

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