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Ultimate Callout Challenge 2019

Always Expect the Unexpected at This One

Chris Tobin
Jul 8, 2019
For what may have been the first time since the inaugural Ultimate Callout Challenge in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2016, we went into the event, now located at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, without a clear favorite to take home the top prize. That's right, three-time and reigning UCC Champion Lavon Miller and his dominant Firepunk Diesel team was not competing in 2019's contest. Of course, there were plenty of competitors champing at the bit to take over the title, including contenders from the past few years as well as a few new faces. And while the Firepunk team wasn't competing, in an ironic twist of fate, the truck they built was once again back in action, with new owner, Josh Scruggs, and an updated drivetrain he hoped would continue the winning tradition.
Photo 2/113   |   Diesel Power Editor KJ Jones announces the competitors for the 2019 Diesel Power Challenge during the UCC opening ceremonies.
Diesel-industry experts, enthusiasts, shops, manufacturers, and representatives converged on Lucas Oil Raceway May 3 to 5, 2019 where the Diesel Performance Industry Expo takes place alongside three days of action on the dragstrip, dyno, and pull track for the main UCC competitors, as well as drivers attempting to qualify for the main event in 2020. Friday started out with cool, overcast weather for the opening ceremony that unfortunately got worse shortly after, with rain falling for a few hours. The track crew went to work drying and preparing the famed strip for racing action and completed their work shortly after the rain stopped. Derek Rose made the first competitive pass down the track. Other UCC competitors followed throughout the afternoon in attempts to put down their quickest pass, which would count toward half of their drag-race score, while the other half came from their results in the first-ever UCC heads-up eliminator. Derek set the pace early with a best pass of 5.44 seconds at 131.45 mph in the eighth-mile run.
Photo 3/113   |   Unfortunately, shortly after the opening ceremonies, rain began to fall, causing a slow start to the weekend activities. But spectators waited out the rain by checking out the vendor area—especially those that had covered displays.
Photo 4/113   |   004 Ultimate Rain
Nine of the other 23 UCC competitors managed to get into the 5-second e.t. range, while 10 covered the distance in 6 seconds. When evening came, the competitors were slotted into brackets for head-to-head eliminations. Despite putting down the quickest time of the day, Derek suffered transmission problems and was eliminated in the second round. Aaron Rudolf used his fast Ford F-250 to blast to the Number Two qualifying position and went round after round in eliminations, ultimately defeating Wade Minter in the final—taking home the top prize in the drag-racing competition and establishing a healthy lead heading into Day Two.
Photo 5/113   |   Derek Rose was the first one to hit the track once it dried off after 2 p.m.
While the UCC competitors were battling on the dragstrip, the nine UCC Qualifier competitors attacked the chassis dyno to lay down the highest combined horsepower and torque score. Mike Wysowski was in a league of his own, posting the only 2,000-plus-horsepower pull of the day, putting more than 400 more horses on the rollers than his nearest competitors. Mike's combined score gave him a big lead heading into the second day of Qualifier competition on the dragstrip.
Saturday morning started off wet as well, with the more than 100 show-'n'-shine competitors rolling in and trying to clean and dry their trucks for judging. While the show judging got underway in the early afternoon, the main UCC competitors got their trucks ready for the dyno challenge and the Qualifiers prepared for drag finish. John Schirado laid down the quickest pass, with a 5.72-second blast through the eighth-mile—only one other qualifier joined him in the 5-second zone. Saturday was scheduled to be the day for the eliminations for the Outlaw Diesel Super Series' Quick 8 race class, and we were treated to fast passes and great heads-up races during eliminations. But toward the end of the night, one of the Qualifier competitors oiled down the track, forcing the cancelation of the ODSS semifinal and final round races. Competitors split the $9,500 purse.
Photo 6/113   |   013 Ultimate Dhd Drag
On the chassis dyno, the day started with Todd Welch setting the tone with a 2,000-plus-horsepower run across the rollers followed by six more trucks that broke through the 2,000hp barrier. One of the early drivers to break 2,000 was Josh Scruggs in the former Firepunk Diesel Dodge Ram 2500 coming off a solid Fifth Place finish in the drag-racing event. Unfortunately, as the engine crested the 2,000hp threshold, it also let go with a broken camshaft and window'd block, and a small fire that ended the possibility of the same truck winning the UCC four years in a row. Derek Rose dominated on the dyno, spinning the rollers to the tune of 2,500 hp and nearly 4,000 lb-ft of torque to take the top spot for the day.
A scary moment took place with Mark Broviak operating the Dirty Hooker Diesel Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD owned by Tony Burkhard. A few seconds into the first dyno pull, one of the turbochargers exploded and damaged a high-pressure fuel line, an intake tube, and the pump controller, causing the high-pressure pumps to run wide open while spraying high-pressure fuel under the hood and into the intake. The combination of problems resulted in a massive fireball and blaze (that lasted for more than a minute), along with a runaway 6.6L Duramax engine. Mark did everything he could to try and stop the engine with the brakes, showering the dyno with sparks and heating the rotors to a bright red hue. Eventually, with the cab full of smoke, he bailed out of the driver window and moved to safety. Despite efforts from UCC crewmembers, Tony, and the track's fire squad, the flames continued to blaze and the engine roared at nearly 10,000 rpm until it finally ran out of fuel! By some miracle, the engine did not suffer catastrophic damage and still spun over by hand after they pulled it from the chassis. More on the amazing teamwork and camaraderie later. The dyno recorded a peak of 1,572.5 hp and 1,799.8 lb-ft of torque during the DHD run.
Photo 7/113   |   Shown Ellerton, the self-proclaimed Canadian Redneck, struggled throughout the weekend. He told us he forgot his famous "Canadian Redneck" tailgate back in Canada—maybe that was part of the problem.
Sunday brought the wonderful weather we hoped for all weekend, with a bright blue sky and warm temperature, which are perfect for sled pulling. Unfortunately, all the rain over the previous two days saturated the dirt track that was laid on top of the asphalt pit road for the Lucas Oil Raceway circle track, making for very soft track conditions that require skillful driving to drag the sled long distances. The Qualifiers were up first, with Brian Shew winning with a pull of 313 feet. Points leader Mike Wysowski had an issue during his first attempt, and it looked as though he may hand the overall win to John Schirado, but he came back and made a near 300-foot pull with his second and final attempt, taking Second Place in the sled pull and locking down the top spot overall—securing an automatic invite to compete in the main Ultimate Callout Challenge competition in 2020.
After a short break, the main UCC competitors lined up to tackle the soft track and do the best they could to drag the sled. Derek Rose came into the sled pull with the points lead, but Donavan Harris and Shawn Baca were both within striking distance. Todd Welch set the standard with a 326-foot hook that would go on to be mostly unchallenged throughout the afternoon. Derek pulled to a respectable 263-foot distance but was no doubt concerned that his points lead might not hold up and that he could see bitter disappointment at the UCC once again. Donavan faltered with a 228-foot pull and Shawn was not able to capitalize on Derek's position with a 287-foot hook that landed him in Second Place for the time being.
Photo 8/113   |   019 Ultimate Rose Quickest
The last competitor scheduled to hook was none other than Tony Burkhard and the Dirty Hooker Diesel team who, with the help from many other competitors and vendors, swapped the engine out for their 2018 competition powerplant, installed a new wire harness, plumbed a fuel system, and converted the truck to its sled-pulling trim in less than 24 hours! Complete with burn scars on the bodywork and a temporary fuel system plumbed into the truck, Tony drove it up to the sled for his hook. The beaten, burned, and battered Chevy accelerated off the line and drug the sled down the soft track for a 308-foot journey that landed him solidly in Second Place, making up for the disappointment on the dyno and showing camaraderie within the diesel industry is second to none.
After the dust settled from the dyno, the UCC team brought the stage around to the front straight of the circle track for the awards presentation. They handed out custom banners and custom-fabricated Royalty Core trophies for Third to First Place in each of the individual events for the main UCC competitors, then brought up the overall Fifth and Fourth place finishers for custom banners and wrapped up the awards ceremony with the presentation of banners and trophies for the Third, Second, and First Place overall winners. Wade Minter and his Duramax-powered Chevrolet claimed the Fifth overall position while Cummins-motivated Dodge trucks swept the top four spots (Donavan Harris/Fourth, Todd Welch/Third, Shawn Baca/Second, and the 2019 UCC Overall Champion: Derek Rose.
Photo 9/113   |   Mike Wysowski was the only UCC Qualifier to break through the 2,000hp barrier as he took the dyno win for the Qualifiers on Friday.
Despite two days of rain and several catastrophic failures from competitors complete with fires both large and small, the 2019 Ultimate Callout Challenge was a terrific event. We witnessed highs and lows, including the resilience of the diesel community in rebuilding the charred remains of the DHD truck and coming back for the sled pull after the wild dyno fire and engine runaway. We also saw 4-second passes and big wheelstands on the dragstrip from the Outlaw Diesel Super Series Quick 8 competitors and a wide variety of diesel parts and gear from some of the top diesel-performance shops, manufacturers, and vendors in the world. All of it was wrapped up in the three-day bow that is the UCC. Follow along for some of the best sights of the event, and, by all means, if you can witness this event live in 2020—be there.

Dylan Grooms made hard contact with the wall early in the afternoon session. He managed to make a full pass later in the day but failed to keep the truck in the competition for the rest of the weekend.

Ashley Walker saw the sky as she launched her classic GMC hard off the line, with the 6.6L Duramax engine putting the power to the big slicks in the rear and lifting the front of the truck skyward. After the front end slammed to the ground, she got back in the throttle and lifted the front wheels again before settling down and finishing the pass.

Amsoil Show and Shine Results:
Best in Show Brandon Davis '07 Dodge Ram 2500|
Best Dodge Damon Edmonds '17 Ram 2500
Best Ford Pleasant Cook '17 Ford F-250
Best GM Lisa Goode '15 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali
Best Other Darlene Wehr '16 Nissan Titan XD
Best Conversion Gerry Hilder '76 Ford F-250
Best Interior Koy VanHorn '79 Ford F-350
Best Paint/Wrap Matt Lee '15 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD
Best Suspension Dustin Sterling '19 Ford F-450
Longest Distance John Carroll '19 Nissan Titan XD
ODSS Quick 8 Final Four
Ben Shadday
Brett Deutsch
Steve Royalty
Larson Miller
UCC Competitor Top Five Results Drag Racing
First Aaron Rudolf First 5.503 937.125
Second Wade Minter Second 5.775 892.255
Third Kodi Koch Third 5.823 875.386
Fourth Donavan Harris Fifth 5.650 875.272
Fifth Josh Scruggs Fourth 5.740 874.891
UCC Competitor Top Five Results Dyno
First Derek Rose 2,503.2 3,783.1 967.123
Second Justin Andres 2,268.5 3,176.5 837.692
Third Shawn Baca 2,194.6 2,935.6 789.262
Fourth Donavan Harris 2,096.4 3,019.5 787.062
Fifth Chris Buhidar 2,219.6 2,763.4 766.615
UCC Competitor Top Five Results Sled Pull
First Todd Welch 326.25 853.75
Second Tony Burkhard 308.92 801.76
Third Shawn Baca 287.08 736.24
Fourth Corey Witteveen 273.17 694.51
Fifth Derek Rose 263.58 665.74
UCC Competitor Top Five Results OVERALL
First Derek Rose 2,468.667
Second Shawn Baca 2,353.670
Third Todd Welch 2,253.479
Fourth Donavan Harris 2,221.574
Fifth Wade Minter 2,130.611
UCC Qualifier Top Five Results Dyno
First Michael Wysowski 2,132.5 3,124.6 808.785
Second Nathan Bandstra 1,722.7 2,543.4 656.323
Third John Schirado 1,736.9 2,420.6 639.615
Fourth Brian Shew 1,700.5 2,387.4 628.908
Fifth Charlie Fish 1,536.7 2,405.2 606.446
UCC Qualifier Top Five Results Drag Racing
First John Schirado 5.720 820.00
Second Michael Wysowski 5.869 782.75
Third Nathan Bandstra 6.008 748.00
Fourth Charlie Fish 6.177 705.75
Fifth Josh McCormack 6.781 554.75
UCC Qualifier Top Five Results Sled Pull
First Brian Shew 313.78 816.34
Second Michael Wysowski 298.86 771.58
Third John Schirado 281.75 720.25
Fourth Nathan Bandstra 277.35 707.05
Fifth Shawn Elmhirst 273.63 695.89
UCC Qualifier Top Five Results OVERALL
First Michael Wysowski 2,363.115
Second John Schirado 2,179.865
Third Nathan Bandstra 2,111.373
Fourth Brian Shew 1,980.998
Fifth Shawn Elmhirst 1,430.482
Photo 21/113   |   Shawn Baca and his team have been steadily improving on the dragstrip. He was among the large group of UCC competitors to get into the 5-second e.t. range with a 5.67 eighth-mile pass in his Master Shredder truck.

Several of the big rat rod and semitruck exhibition vehicles made passes down the famous strip during breaks in the UCC racing action.

Photo 26/113   |   In the semifinal round of the new-for-2019 UCC elimination drag race, Aaron Rudolf used his Ford to eliminate the Dodge of Todd Welch, who failed to make a qualifying pass earlier in the day.
Photo 27/113   |   The second semifinal heat was a General Motors battle, with Wade Minter's Chevrolet taking out Eric Merchant's GMC.
Photo 28/113   |   In the Ford vs. Chevy final round, Aaron and Wade got off the line well, but Aaron's 6.4L Power Stroke engine prevailed.
Photo 29/113   |   030 Ultimate Ucc Final
Photo 30/113   |   Rain fell once again Saturday morning, but that didn't slow down the spectators or vendors in the Diesel Performance Industry expo, where the aisles were still crowded.
Photo 31/113   |   032 Ultimate Rain
Photo 32/113   |   More than 100 truck owners braved the inclement weather to compete in the UCC show 'n' shine.
Photo 33/113   |   034 Ultimate Long Distance
Photo 34/113   |   A custom hydraulic setup helped Dustin Sterling's '19 Ford F-450 win the Best Suspension award.
Photo 35/113   |   036 Ultimate Wrap
Photo 36/113   |   Koy VanHorn was awarded the Best Interior award for his Cummins-powered Super Cab '79 Ford F-350.
Photo 37/113   |   Darlene Wehr won the Best Other award for her '16 Nissan Titan XD rolling on a set of 22x12 American Force Diablo wheels.
Photo 38/113   |   This '76 Ford F-250 is one of the cleanest Fummins swaps we have seen with its compound-turbo 12-valve Cummins under the hood.
Photo 39/113   |   Damon Edwards' '17 Ram 2500 is lifted sky-high and sports a custom wrap along with a unique and badass interior that put him in position to win the show 'n' shine's Best Dodge award.
Photo 40/113   |   The Best Ford honor went to Pleasant Cook for her '17 Ford F-250 with custom suspension and performance goodies abound.
Photo 41/113   |   Lisa Goode won the Best GM award with her tricked-out '15 GMC Sierra Denali and its huge lift and performance mods throughout.
Photo 42/113   |   The Best in Show award went to Brandon Davis' super clean '07 Dodge Ram 2500—a stunning build.
Photo 43/113   |   Proving he could do more than just make big power on the dyno, Mike Wysowski laid down the second-quickest dragstrip pass of all UCC Qualifiers.
Photo 44/113   |   John Schirado made the quickest Qualifier pass with a 5.72-second lap in his Dodge Ram.
Photo 45/113   |   Shawn Baca spun the rollers to make more than 2,000 hp and nearly 3,000 lb-ft of torque, finishing Third in the dyno competition. Ben Shadday helped by going over the data log on his laptop between dyno pulls.
Photo 46/113   |   048 Ultimate Baca Dyno
Photo 47/113   |   Aaron Rudolf came into the dyno portion of the competition with the points lead and high hopes, but the team experienced fuel-delivery problems on the dyno and couldn't make the power they expected.

Josh Scruggs' hopes of taking the same truck to the winner's circle for a fourth UCC overall championship in a row literally went up in a ball of fire as the camshaft broke and sent internal engine parts flying.

Derek Rose was disappointed with his dragstrip performance on Friday after putting down the quickest time in qualifying but failing to back it up in the elimination rounds. He erased that deficit by making more than 2,500 hp and nearly 4,000 lb-ft of torque on the dyno.

Photo 56/113   |   Seeing and hearing the massive turbos on Cory Witteveen's rig spool is something that is best witnessed in person, but here is a photo nonetheless.

When a turbo unexpectedly failed catastrophically, exploding and sending shrapnel throughout the engine bay, the high-pressure fuel pump controllers, fuel lines, and intake tubing were all damaged. This combined to allow the high-pressure fuel to ignite into a large fireball much like an oil-well fire. It also caused the engine to scream at 8,000 to 10,000 rpm for more than a minute, while Mark Broviak was holding his breath inside the cab trying to get the monster to shut down. He emerged unscathed through the driver-side window and was thankful that he heeded advice to wear his fire suit during the dyno pull. Truck owner Tony Burkhard was among the first to try to extinguish the fire. Eventually, the engine stopped and the fire was extinguished once the fuel tank ran dry!

Photo 77/113   |   Our GoPro camera was mounted to the passenger-side window and recorded the entire event. Even though the housing was melted closed, the camera was still recording. In fact, the Ram mount did not release from the glass until after it was hit with the fire hose.
Photo 78/113   |   Larson Miller drove the Firepunk Diesel '00 Chevrolet S-10 to a record-setting 4.25 e.t. at 174.30 mph during eliminations in the ODSS Quick 8 Shootout.
Photo 79/113   |   Shawn Ellerton couldn't catch a break on the dyno, either, delivering some fireworks as he spun the rollers.

The Dirty Hooker Diesel crew was joined by several other competitors and their teams to make repairs on the truck throughout the night and into Sunday morning in order to compete in the pull with their backup engine (the powerplant they competed with in 2018), a new wiring harness, and fuel and air plumbing repairs.

Photo 83/113   |   085 Ultimate Sunday Crowd
Photo 84/113   |   086 Ultimate Sunday Crowd

Not all teams had to scramble like the DHD Team, but there still was a lot of work to be done to convert race trucks to sled-pulling duty.

Photo 88/113   |   Brian Shew drove to the UCC Qualifier Sled Pull win with a 313-foot hook.
Photo 89/113   |   After experiencing problems in his first attempt, Mike Wysowski came back for his second shot and pulled nearly 300 feet, which was good enough for Second in the category and the overall Qualifier win.
Photo 90/113   |   Thanks to days of rain and nowhere for it to go and with an asphalt base to pit road where the temporary pull track was installed, the extremely soft surface made having a tractor on standby (to move the sled back and into position) necessary on more than one occasion.
Photo 91/113   |   Todd Welch used six cut tires on his Dodge to once again win the Sled Pull portion of the UCC with his 12-valve "dinosaur," but it sure looks like he is looking down at a laptop or data logger during the run. Maybe he isn't as adverse to electronics as it may seem.
Photo 92/113   |   Four cut tires on Shawn Baca's Dodge Ram 2500 claw for traction in the soft dirt. The effort was good enough to put Shawn in Third Place with a pull of nearly 290 feet.
Photo 93/113   |   Derek Rose had a big lead going into the pull but still needed a good hook to wrap up the overall UCC win. He finished Fifth with a 263-foot hook then had to wait out the rest of the competitors' runs and see where the points shook out.
Photo 94/113   |   Without the tailgate, Shawn Ellerton struggled for the third day in a row, this time realizing a "Bluetooth" driveshaft won't get it done in UCC Sled Pull competition.

The teamwork and camaraderie demonstrated in getting Tony Burkhard and the "Crispy Hooker" to the pull track Sunday was touching. Just seeing him hook to the sled would have been great, but Tony really put on a show, dragging the sled for nearly 310 feet to take Second Place. The effort proves that hard work, determination, dedication, and some great friends can get anything done!

Photo 98/113   |   The 2016, 2017, and 2018 UCC Overall Champion Lavon Miller did not return to compete this year to defend his title, but Emmie, his latest daughter with his wife, Kelly, joined their other two kids, Lexi and Braxton, just before the event, giving the Firepunk Team leader a new challenge to focus on. We wonder how long it will be until the Firepunk kids slide behind the wheel?
Photo 99/113   |   Kodi Koch finished Third in the Drag Race portion of the event.
Photo 100/113   |   Wade Minter took home the Second Place banner and trophy for Drag Racing.
Photo 101/113   |   Aaron Rudolf earned the First Place banner and trophy for Drag Racing but was not at the presentation to pick them up.
Photo 102/113   |   Shawn Baca prefers the top spot on the podium but finished in Third Place on the dyno.
Photo 103/113   |   Justin Andres was happy to take home the hardware for his Second Place finish on the dyno.
Photo 104/113   |   For the second year in a row, Derek Rose won the UCC's Dyno competition.
Photo 105/113   |   Shawn finished Third for the second time this year, taking home the hardware for the Sled Pull.
Photo 106/113   |   Tony Burkhard and his crew overcame the huge fire that would have caused many to load up and head home, finishing Second in the Sled Pull—with the hardware and burns to prove it!
Photo 107/113   |   Todd Welch considers himself a drag racer but seems to do pretty well at sled pulling, too, winning the banner and trophy for the category.
Photo 108/113   |   Wade Minter's Chevy was the only non-Cummins-powered rig to place in the Top 5 overall.
Photo 109/113   |   While Donavan Harris finished Fourth overall, he and his crew were loading the truck for their long trek back to western Canada during the awards presentation.
Photo 110/113   |   Todd and the Power Driven Diesel crew were happy to take home Third Place overall.
Photo 111/113   |   Shawn and his Industrial Injection family accept the Second Place overall banner and trophy.
Photo 112/113   |   Derek and his DNR Customs Racing team fill the entire stage to accept the overall UCC Championship award he has fought so hard to win over the past four years.
Photo 113/113   |   After the dust settled, the Rose family gathered with the truck to take in their amazing achievement.


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