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Diesel Power Challenge 2013 - The Events & Results

Nine Trucks Go To War— One Comes Out On Top

Mike McGlothlin
Aug 19, 2013
Photographers: The Diesel Power Staff
Prologue To Power
Battling elevation issues in the high altitude of the greater Denver area has been referred to as the eighth challenge of our benchmark event. Diesel Power Challenge has been hosted in Colorado since 2011, and the mile-high region has a way of hindering the performance potential of most diesel trucks. In addition to the thin mountain air, Mother Nature played a bigger part in the outcome than it ever has this year, with rain, snow, and generally cold weather present during the majority of the Challenge. However, DPC competitors are always willing to adapt and overcome—and that’s exactly what they did.
Photo 2/47   |   Chevy Ford Drag Race
Unlike last year, we saw most of the carnage gremlins show up during the eighth-mile trailer tow, as opposed to the quarter-mile drag race. Still, eight out of nine trucks made it through the three-day torture test without throwing in the towel. Along the way, we saw the event’s first 10-second quarter-mile pass ever made, as well as the fastest eighth-mile trailer tow to date. Get ready for Diesel Power Challenge 2013.
The Dyno: Torque AND Horsepower
Once again, we used ATS Diesel’s tough, dual-eddy-current Mustang chassis dyno to measure each truck’s power level. New for 2013, dyno scoring was based on horsepower and torque, combined—rather than solely basing it on the highest torque number each truck could produce. However, the scoring change didn’t keep many competitors from pursuing big torque numbers, via spraying nitrous at low rpm while on the rollers.
Photo 3/47   |   This is what dyno pulls sometimes look like at 5,000 feet of elevation. Chris Hillison’s fuel-only attempt shown here illustrates how heavily fueled Diesel Power Challenge trucks can be.
Finishing in Ninth Place was the only truck not sporting a common-rail fuel system: David Heafner’s 7.3L-powered ’99 F-250. Unfortunately for David, his nitrous controller wasn’t working on the dyno, meaning the solenoids in his two-stage system never activated. This explained his smoky, 642hp and 1,350-lb-ft effort. Down on boost was Wesley Beech’s ’08 Ford F-250, and it seemed that no matter how much nitrous he used, 40 psi was all the 6.4L could make. After three dyno pulls, Wesley had to lay claim to Eighth Place (687 hp and 1,397 lb-ft).
Since Matthew Doyle’s ’11 F-250 had one of the country’s first built 6.7L Power Strokes, he garnered a lot of attention while on the rollers. The truck put down a solid 744.2 hp and 1,411.9 lb-ft, and a 2,156.1 final number landed him in Seventh Place.
The middle of the pack yielded an 814hp, 1,423-lb-ft dyno pull from Willie Lewis and a 919hp, 1,465-lb-ft fuel-only effort from Tony Rizzi, which was a solid start for the outnumbered Duramax trucks. From there, carnage struck, as Paul Cato’s 6.7L Cummins-powered Dodge blew a freeze plug on its first run. With just 563 rwhp achieved on the pass, everyone knew the truck had a lot more in it. To keep things fair, a competitors’ meeting was held and everyone agreed Paul could dyno two more times if the truck was fixed by the time Erik Clausen (the last competitor in the running order) was finished on the rollers. Paul made the cutoff—and had a much more impressive showing of 859 hp and 1,693 lb-ft of torque.
Photo 4/47   |   Chevy Silverado On Dyno
"It’s a Cummins— it’ll be fine.
— Paul Cato on the whole week"
Our top three dyno competitors all made four-digit horsepower this year, and each had more than one turbo under the hood. Once Chris Hillison’s giant 80mm-over-104mm chargers lit, his ’04 Dodge put down 1,885 lb-ft, and horsepower peaked at 1,009 at the wheels. Next up was returning champ Erik Clausen’s triple-turbo F-250. With a small stage of nitrous thrown in on the last run, a watchful eye on the interior-mounted turbo speed gauges, and the 98mm atmospheric turbo screaming, Erik’s Super Duty ousted Chris for Second Place at 1,086 hp and 1,926 lb-ft.
Blowing the doors off the rest of the field was Banean Woosley’s ’05 Dodge. With plenty of dyno experience and a truck that had been making more than 1,000 rwhp for years, it came as no surprise when he topped all other trucks. After smoking the rollers to the tune of 1,220 hp, Banean and crew made a jet change in the nitrous system and tried one more run. A few onlookers gasped when the final numbers became visible on the giant projector screen hanging next to the dyno cell: 1,255 hp and 2,063 lb-ft would be more than enough for First Place.
Trailer Obstacle Course: The Ultimate Driving Skills Test
Thanks to intermittent rain showers, day two of the Challenge got a slow start. When the first break in the weather appeared, the action kicked off with the trailer obstacle course. The Class A–style course is designed to test driver skill more than anything else, and because the trucks that compete in Diesel Power Challenge were originally designed to tow, it only makes sense to see how they perform in their intended environment. It’s also a nice break from the high-horsepower action (the dyno, quarter-mile drag race, and sled pull) and helps keep the field close. This event puts the truck’s functionality to the test, rather than showing off each rig’s straight-line horsepower. Six out of nine competitors were able to navigate the route around the 1 minute, 30 second mark, which was how long it was designed to take a good driver to complete.
Photo 11/47   |   To say Tony Rizzi was flying through the trailer obstacle course would be an understatement. He took this 90-degree corner faster (and harder) than anyone we’ve ever seen! Too bad for Tony, his rush to finish caused him to take out nine cones, penalizing him and changing his overall time from 1:07 to 1:52.
"The converter was locked on the trailer obstacle course, so I had to be going at least 50 mph.
—Tony Rizzi on his high-speed cornering"
Wesley Beech definitely brought his A-game. Proving how well he knew his truck and using his small-sized, quick-spooling compound turbo setup to his advantage, Wesley stormed through the course in 1:09. The only truck to ever complete the course faster than that was the minute-flat effort put forth by Erik Clausen a year earlier. Following Matthew Doyle’s back-of-the-pack finish, Erik got his chance. Unfortunately, while he had the speed needed to beat Wesley, he took out five course cones along the way. And because each cone that’s hit adds 5 seconds to the overall time, Erik’s 58-second run turned into 1:23. Still, at the end of the event, it was good enough for Third Place. In Second Place was David Heafner who, despite never really getting the 7.3L Power Stroke’s 76mm turbo up on boost, managed an impressive 1:19 tow. This showed that big cubic inches definitely come in handy during this event.
A Sixth Place, 1:34 finish for Banean Woosley meant things were starting to shake up in the points race—especially after his dominating performance on the dyno. Another mid-pack finish for Willie Lewis played right into his plan to finish well across the board, be consistent in all events, and survive everything the event threw at him and his Duramax. Things were definitely getting interesting as we headed to the dragstrip for the eighth-mile trailer tow.
Eighth-Mile Trailer Tow: An Emerging Leader
In an effort to limit breakage and entice competitors to go all out during the quarter-mile drag race portion, the eighth-mile trailer tow was held after the trailer obstacle course this year. Unfortunately, the first four competitors’ smooth-sailing runs weren’t a sign of things to come, and despite our hope to head off any major carnage until the end of the day, a few catastrophic failures would surface with the 10,000-pound trailer in tow. First up: Banean Woosley’s mega-horsepower Dodge.
Photo 17/47   |   We don’t know why we were worried about Paul Cato switching from a 75mm S400 to an 80mm when he arrived in Denver. Thanks to the extra cubic inches of the 6.7L Cummins, he had few problems spooling in elevation. This was proven in the eighth-mile trailer tow, where he got out of the hole decent and came on strong in the second 330-foot stretch, running a DPC record: 75 mph.
Unbeknownst to Banean, the first competitor to run has never come out on top in this event—and this year would be no different, despite his impressive run of 11.50 seconds at 66 mph to get things underway. Willie Lewis followed suit with a 66-mph effort, albeit at 12.29 seconds. Then came the Fords, which have always performed well in the eighth-mile trailer tow. Matthew Doyle’s 6.7L Power Stroke had a strong start, cutting a 2.69-second 60-foot time on its way to the quickest pass yet of 11.11 seconds at 66 mph. Then it was Wesley Beech’s turn, and he absolutely killed the trailer tow. Once again, he used his quick-spooling combination to his advantage, and the heavy Ford nabbed a 2.73-second 60-foot before freight training through the eighth-mile in 10.34 seconds at 74 mph.
Looking to improve on his Third Place finish in 2012, Erik Clausen’s big F-250 looked good out of the hole, but after letting off the throttle and then getting back in it, Erik trashed his transfer-case side yolk and its respective U-joint, lost the front driveshaft, and coasted to the 330-foot mark. He would have even more front-end problems during the quarter-mile drag race.
When it came time for Paul Cato to hook to the trailer, he didn’t disappoint. Actually smoking all four tires in order to stay on top of the 80mm single charger, his Dodge really got with it further down the track. Paul’s 10.50-second trailer tow was good enough for Third Place, and his 75-mph trap speed set a new Diesel Power Challenge record. However, his Cummins was emitting a new noise after the all-out effort, indicating he’d hurt something, internally. Next on the chopping block was David Heafner, whose lightweight, regular-cab F-250 hated this event. With the truck bucking and hopping violently, David was forced to lift off the throttle and hit it again, which, with two stages of nitrous in the mix, culminated in a massive nitrous backfire. He would coast through the traps at just 28 mph. The carnage continued with Tony Rizzi, as his chance to march the trailer down the track ended almost as soon as it began. He was looking to blast out of the hole, but the launch proved too much for something inside the Allison 1000, and the run was over before it even really began. Fortunately, Tony was able to coast through the eighth-mile, technically finishing the course.
Quarter-mile Drag Race: Eliminations
By the time the quarter-mile drag race rolled around, a few trucks were hurt, but all but one were still in the hunt (Tony Rizzi had taken his GMC back to his shop to install a spare transmission). The only problem we could foresee was the next wave of rain showers slowly approaching Bandimere Speedway. New for 2013, we decided to run an eliminations-based, heads-up, quarter-mile drag race, rather than simply an open test-’n’-tune-style session in which the quickest time determined the winner. This year, competitors would have to put their drag race experience to use and give it their all on virtually every pass made.
In order to put together our eliminations bracket (in which the slowest qualifier would face the quickest), three qualifying rounds were held. It was here that Banean Woosley’s 1,255hp, rollcage-equipped Dodge really shined. His 10.80 seconds at 129 mph not only gave him the top qualifier position, but it was also the first 10-second pass recorded in Diesel Power Challenge history. He also accomplished this feat on a 45-degree day, when the track temps were anything but ideal. Unfortunately, cold nitrous bottles caused spooling issues that would handicap Banean in eliminations, landing him in Fifth Place overall.
"This has been one of the best weeks of my life.
—Willie Lewis"
Once again, Wesley Beech’s feel for his truck would be on full display, as he beat Chris Hillison, who was having transmission troubles. He also edged out Matthew Doyle in the second round, running a 12.50 at 116 mph to Matthew’s 12.68 at 115 mph. The ever-consistent Willie Lewis, who actually had very little drag racing experience, piloted his LMM Duramax past a traction-limited (and two-wheel-drive) Erik Clausen, Paul Cato’s ailing Dodge, and into the final. Literally seconds before the sky opened up and the next wave of rain ensued, Wesley took the win over Willie Lewis, completing a clean sweep (three First Place finishes) of day two.
Ride and Drive/Fuel Economy Test: This One’s For Keeps
For the first time, the ride and drive became a scored event in 2013. This meant the truck with the best fuel economy would win, as opposed to this portion of the event serving as pass or fail (and the mpg numbers being used as a tiebreaker, if needed). And while we followed the same 140-mile route up and over the Continental Divide as in previous years, a late-spring snowstorm would shake things up a bit. The more this year’s group of trucks climbed in elevation, the more ice and snowfall accumulation we encountered. This meant cruising speeds were vastly reduced. There was no getting into overdrive and keeping the rpm low for extended periods of time and no coasting in neutral to conserve fuel. Upon reaching the 11,000-foot Eisenhower Tunnel, we even sat idling in the freezing temperatures for several minutes.
Photo 27/47   |   Diesel Power Challenge Fuel Stop
All weather elements and forced driving strategy changes aside, three competitors still achieved 20 mpg or more. Tony Rizzi’s GMC dualie took top-efficiency honors with 22.49 mpg, and Paul Cato finished right behind him with a nitrous-spraying 22.39 mpg. From there, Matthew Doyle’s ’11 F-250 rounded out the top three, achieving an impressive 20.78 mpg. It was no surprise that the rule change hurt Erik Clausen in the point’s standings, as his 9,060-pound Super Duty could only muster 13.16 mpg. A fuel leak and several other underhood issues plagued Chris Hillison’s ride and drive fuel economy numbers. While all the trucks were hazing at 2 miles above sea level, his was the smokiest of the bunch and only returned a dismal 8.76 mpg when it came time to refill the tank.
Photo 28/47   |   Dodge Ram Driving On Snow Road
The only competitor to fall out of line during our Rocky Mountain convoy was Banean Woosley who, thanks to the snow and sleet, managed to get condensation in the engine’s rail pressure sensor. This sent the fuel system into default mode, where 26,000 psi of rail pressure was commanded—obviously not a good set of circumstances for maximizing mileage. After a side-of-the-road fix (where Vaseline was used to keep the elements from getting in), Banean and crew caught back up to the rest of the field. Due to a downed cylinder in David Heafner’s 7.3L Power Stroke, he was unable to make the call on day three. This meant eight trucks were still in running condition for our last event: the sled pull.
The Sled Pull: The Finale
For the ultimate test of strength, the sled pull is still the final event of Diesel Power Challenge. As the finale of our three-day torture test, everyone goes for broke in a last-ditch effort to grab as many points as possible. By the time we rolled into the Adams County Fairgrounds in Brighton, Colorado, it was still possible for Paul Cato or Banean Woosley to catch Wesley Beech and take the win. Paul and Banean faced an uphill battle, however, as the sled pull has always had a way of rewarding the heavier trucks and punishing the lighter ones.
Photo 35/47   |   Because Erik Clausen couldn’t source another 4.30 ratio front ring and pinion, his crew installed 4.56 gears up front and retained the 4.30 in the rear prior to Day 3. It paid off in the sled pull as, in a near repeat of his performance last year, Erik stole the show, going 315 feet before the sled caught up with him.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature struck again just as the final track prep was coming to an end. Yet another torrential downpour turned the already soft, sandy soil into a muddy mess. With what appeared to be no end to the rain in sight on the weather radar, Chris Hillison, who had been randomly drawn as the first hook, decided it was now or never. With no traction to speak of, Chris still managed to go 241 feet. And even though we allow the first competitor to turn down his pull if he thinks he can do better, Chris decided to keep it. Next up was Paul Cato, whose Dodge pulled similarly, spinning the whole way and going just 238 feet. At that point, his seemingly unstoppable Cummins had had all it could take, blowing its head gasket in catastrophic fashion.
As fate would have it, the rain subsided just before experienced sled puller Tony Rizzi got his turn, and the track (somehow) actually transformed into the best pulling surface it’s ever been. As expected, Tony let it rip like no other and ended up at the 310-foot mark. After that, Matthew Doyle put his ’11 F-250 down the track for the first time ever, and then it was Erik Clausen’s turn. Just like his 2012 performance, Erik hauled the sled down the track like nobody’s business and took the lead at 315 feet. Then it was time for Wesley Beech—and he made it count. Easing out of the hole and hammering down at the 75-foot mark, his 8,600-pound Ford went 294 feet, which would be good enough for Third Place. More importantly, it meant he’d sealed the deal and would be crowned Diesel Power Challenge Champion.
A Power Stroke Wins Again!
When the event kicked off, no one suspected Wesley Beech’s incognito Ford (which was actually selected as an alternate vehicle) to sweep in for the upset, especially after his Eighth Place finish on the dyno. But his second day performance at Bandimere Raceway, where he dominated all three events, quickly turned everyone’s eyes on him. It’s just proof that you don’t have to set the dyno on fire to win the Diesel Power Challenge. Driver skill, knowing your truck, bringing a proven setup, and surviving all events is the key to taking home the crown. Of course, his humble attitude didn’t hurt matters, either. Wesley simply kept his head down, motored through each event as if he’d been there before, and showed us what a 6.4L is capable of. That makes two in a row for Team Power Stroke!
Photo 42/47   |   As proof that Wesley Beech’s ’08 F-250 is the real deal, he sent us this photo from his trip home from the Challenge. After his team’s tow vehicle developed a bottom-end knock, they found both black and silver on the dipstick and unloaded the 6.4L Power Stroke from the trailer, loaded up the Dodge, and used the Diesel Power Challenge–winning rig to tow everything more than 860 miles back to Ohio.
Photo 43/47   |   The Scorecard
Truck Weights
Erik Clausen ’08 Ford F-250 9,060 pounds
Wesley Beech ’08 Ford F-250 8,620 pounds
Matthew Doyle ’11 Ford F-250 8,020 pounds
Tony Rizzi ’04 GMC 3500 7,940 pounds
Willie Lewis ’08 Chevy 2500 7,780 pounds
Chris Hillison ’04 Dodge 2500 7,560 pounds
Banean Woosley ’05 Dodge 2500 7,220 pounds
Paul Cato ’07½ Dodge 2500 7,120 pounds
People’s Choice: Banean Woosley
At the conclusion of Diesel Power Challenge 2013, we asked each competitor which truck they would most prefer to drive, other than their own. The most common answer: “Woosley’s Dodge.” That’s why this year’s People’s Choice Award goes to Banean Woosley. Not only did he help keep the mood light in an otherwise fierce competition, but he also brought a truck that took top honors on the dyno and made the quickest quarter-mile pass ever recorded in Diesel Power Challenge history. We can definitely see why the other competitors were envious of his ’05 Dodge.
Photo 44/47   |   Banean Woosley And Sean Holman
Carnage: Paul Cato
Simply put, Paul Cato’s balls-to-the-wall attitude earned him this year’s Carnage Award. Day 1: Paul blows a rear freeze plug while on the dyno, pulls the transmission, replaces said freeze plug, and re-dynos. Day 2: Paul’s 6.7L endures internal damage during his record-setting eighth-mile trailer tow, yet he still runs the truck through the quarter-mile and squeaks out a Fourth Place finish. Day 3: Paul pushed the big-cube Cummins over the edge (leading to a catastrophically blown head gasket and what appeared to be an engine oil fire), but not until after it survived the sled pull. No matter what he and his team faced, his Dodge just kept on comin’!
Photo 45/47   |   Paul Cato And Sean Holman
Driver Skill: Wesley Beech
It would be very hard to overlook Wesley’s Beech’s Day 2 sweep of all three events. After a disappointing performance on the dyno, he literally came from the back of the pack and became the most feared competitor in just 24 hours time. Wesley was cool, calm, collected, and—most important—knew exactly what his truck was capable of. From his maneuvering capabilities during the trailer obstacle course to his 10.34-second eighth-mile pass with the same trailer in tow to his 12-second repeatability in the drag race eliminations, winning these three events appeared to come naturally to him. This is why he unquestionably earned the Driver Skill Award.
Photo 46/47   |   Wesley Beech And Sean Holman
Longest Distance: David Heafner
Even though David Heafner’s engine was in pieces just four days before Diesel Power Challenge began, he and his fearless crew still made the 1,800-mile trek from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Denver. The grueling, cross-country drive took them 29 hours, and we’re pretty sure they drove straight through. Even though their campaign to win Diesel Power Challenge ended on Day 2, the distance David traveled to be here speaks to the relentless nature of die-hard diesel enthusiasts.
Photo 47/47   |   Ford 7 3l Super Duty On Drag Strip

Sources

Snow Performance
Woodland Park, CO 80863
866-365-2762
www.snowperformance.net
AMSOIL
Superior, WI 54880
715-392-7101
www.amsoil.com
BD Diesel Performance
Sumas, WA 98295
800-887-5030
www.dieselperformance.com
Mahle Motorsports
Fletcher, NC
888-255-1942
http://www.mahlemotorsports.com
American Force Wheels
Miami, FL 33176
800-620-6259
www.americanforcewheels.com
Destroked
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
720-897-7477
www.destroked.com
Pacific Performance Engineering
Fullerton, CA 92831
714-985-4825
www.pacificp.com
Sinister Diesel
888-966-6543
http://www.sinisterdiesel.com
Universal Technical Institute
http://www.uti.edu
Fuel Bomb
855-993-2662
http://www.fuelbomb.com/

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