The event is the Ultimate Callout Challenge. The reason for the event is to find out who owns the nastiest diesel-powered truck in the country, and the fine folks at the Northwest Dyno Circuit extended the invitation to 32 competitors for the second year in a row.
Last year, the event was held in Salt Lake City, and for 2017 it was moved to Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana. “Indy”, as the track is known by the drag-racing faithful, is one of the most storied racetracks in the world, and it is fitting that the facility can handle all three disciplines of the Ultimate Callout Challenge. I attended the event last year in SLC (it was my first-ever diesel event) and was seriously impressed with the quality of the vehicles, their performances, and the general vibe from the event. So when the date and location was announced for 2017, I immediately placed it onto my calendar.
In the weeks leading up to the event, all eyes were on two competitors – Lavon Miller of Firepunk Diesel and Shawn Baca of Industrial Injection. Miller took home the title last year, but didn’t just sit back and wait for the competition to come to him; instead, he built a completely separate engine featuring a mechanically-injected Sigma pump setup solely for use during the dyno portion of the competition.
Baca’s truck features a trio of Holset turbochargers atop the 6.7-liter deck-plate/sleeved Shredder Cummins-based engine from Industrial Injection. Baca, the lead engine builder there, had his work cut out for him to keep up with the consistency of Miller’s Firepunk entry.
The Master Shredder of Shawn Baca simply annihilated the dyno roller with 2,389.1 horsepower and 3,337.4 lb-ft of torque. Even so, he didn’t match last year’s horsepower number, although he was the class of this field on this day.
The driveline in the Master Shredder is based around a B&J transmission like you’d find in an NHRA Blown Alcohol or Pro Mod entry, and Baca struggled with keeping the turbochargers lit on the dragstrip. He also stumbled on Sunday, making a pull of only 81.07 feet before shutting the truck down for another day. It’s a shame as the truck makes so much power, but it’s only a matter of time before Baca sorts it out and is running at the front of the pack.
In conjunction with the Ultimate Callout Challenge, the first-ever Diesel Performance Industry Expo also took place on the Lucas Oil Raceway grounds, with well over 100 vendors and manufacturers of the latest and greatest diesel truck parts displaying their wares and talking to customers.
Industrial Injection had a massive display tent; outside was this insane Welder Up creation from Steve Darnell.
Inside the tent, they held a seminar for customers.
There was also a truck show happening during the festivities on Saturday, and this insane Ford made use of a 5.9 Medium Duty Cummins swap and a host of well-thought-out modifications to take home the Best in Show award. When I shot these photos, I was unaware the truck won the award – it was simply the vehicle which caught my eye.
On Friday night, a number of the competitors made their way to Fleece Performance to make changes prior to Dyno day. Much like last year, it was a scene filled with parts, pieces, and a sense of shared camaraderie despite the competition.
One of the most impressive trucks to me was Randy Reyes’ crew cab dually out of the Randy’s Transmissions stable. Three turbos and a Cummins in the mix combined with his transmission expertise produces a truck that makes huge power (1,898 horsepower and 2,469 lb-ft of torque), yet is docile enough to drive on the street.
The hook is set early with this one. How could it not be, if he’s growing up inside the Firepunk family? Lyn Miller on duty.
Many competitors were the victims of parts destruction. Mike Graves pulled 275.11 feet before the driveshaft and suspension on his Hollyrock Customs entry cried Uncle.
The Rudy’s Diesel gang got a rude awakening when their front weight bar launched itself out of the frame upon stopping.
Randy Reyes didn’t fare much better during the pulls – on his first shot, the driveshaft decided that “pretzel” was an appropriate shape.
Ben Shadday of Done Right Diesel Performance didn’t have the best luck during the dyno session. He made a solid 1,930.8-horse pull, but on try #2, the engine not only lost a v-band clamp, it also spit out pieces of head gasket.
The Duramax billet beauty from Wagler Competition Products. Every time I walked by this engine stand, there was a group of enthusiasts checking it out.
One of these engines is in the company’s “shop truck”, which on this weekend was driven on the dragstrip by well-known reality TV star Farmtruck of the Street Outlaws TV series. The all-billet DX500 engine in the truck uses a pair of Precision Turbo Pro Mod 102mm turbochargers and a PSI screw-style supercharger on top.
This is what happens in the stands when a reality TV star is piloting a diesel truck down the dragstrip.
Unfortunately for Farmtruck, something on the engine expired on the dragstrip right at the mile-per-hour clocks, rendering the truck’s strip run its one-and-only entry into that portion of the event. The team subsequently repaired the truck and outfitted it with monster meats for the sled pull portion of the Ultimate Callout Challenge.
On Sunday, Jeremy Wagler drove the truck in the sled pull, recording a distance of 297.05 feet to finish fifth in that element of the competition.
Lots of beautiful, friendly dogs at UCC.
It was totally unexpected to see a pair of side-by-side turbocharged 12V Cummins engines under the hood of this 1970 Dodge Sweptline. I did a double-take, as did many of the attendees.
Much like 2016, Lavon Miller dominated the competition on the dragstrip with his Firepunk Diesel entry, carding a best pass of 8.63 to take the overall lead after that portion of the competition. They had tested on the previous day and run solidly in the 8s, then went to swap out the transmission for a new one. The truck wouldn’t go into gear, so they swapped it back to the known-good unit – even though it wasn’t fresh – and then had the same problem. Eventually, it was discovered that the transmission linkage wasn’t adjusted properly, so at that point they just left the backup in the truck and got to work on the strip.
The Firepunk team then changed over to the Sigma-pump engine for the Dyno day, where Miller was the last entrant onto the roller. Although he didn’t best Baca’s high number on the dyno, with 2,399 horsepower and 2,712 lb-ft of torque he was close enough to end the day in the top overall spot just ahead of Derek Rose’s DNR Customs entry. The Sigma pump engine – unlike the drive-by-wire common-rail engine Miller used on the drag and sled-pull days – uses the mechanical-injection pump on a hand-operated throttle controller.
I love Derek Rose’s DNR Customs entry. Although it looks like a “race truck” from the rear, from the front it is unassuming, free from an eye-catching wrap and anything else to draw attention. But in competition, it’s a beast. Rose ran a 9.16 on the track at 148 mph, then pulled 312.07-feet. It wasn’t enough to get around Miller, but it was without a doubt enough to cement Rose’s name into the list of players when it come to the Ultimate Callout Challenge.
Lyn Miller (foreground) told me the team made over 3,000 horsepower on the engine dyno in testing, but the way the chassis dyno loads the engine doesn’t allow it to make the same type of monstrous horsepower numbers they saw at that time. Since the team was going for broke (literally!) the UCC staff forced everyone to clear out of the immediate area while the Firepunk truck was on the dyno. It’s worth noting that Miller was the only entrant to wear his helmet and full race suit on the dyno, a testament to the team’s uncertainty about how the engine would perform – or whether it would even last long enough to complete the pulls. Here Lyn anxiously awaits the results of the team’s hard work.
From what I understand, on sled day Miller needed to pull within 36 feet of Derek Rose to earn the big $20,000 Ultimate Callout Challenge payout for 2017. Rose’s first pull was 312.07 feet, and Miller’s was 296.09 feet, which ended up being his best pull of the day. Rose gave it all he had on his second pull, but didn’t beat his first – and blew it up before he could eclipse the 36-foot number necessary to take Miller out.
Ladies and gentlemen, Lavon Miller, your 2017 Ultimate Callout Challenge champion! This face says three-peat in 2018.