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November 2015 Particulate Matters

Clean Slate

KJ Jones
Jul 27, 2015
I hope by now you've taken time to read and absorb our extensive coverage of Diesel Power Challenge 2015, either online at the Truck Trend Network website, or in the September and October '15 issues of the magazine. Honestly, I can't reiterate this enough: the Challenge...my first...was awesome, and I've pretty much been saying that to anyone who will listen (and even some folks who may not want to hear it).
If you do still read the physical magazine, you've no doubt seen the entry form for the 2016 event, as it's included in the aforementioned October issue. Yep, just as soon as we think we're "done" with DPC, we're right back in the mix, getting stars aligned for the next one.
I definitely learned a lot more about Diesel Power Challenge's operations strategies, nuances, and so on, and I think approaching our 12th edition of this ultimate test of man and oil-burning machines with at least a bit of a "clean slate" attitude will help make the event even better.
So, with that said, while the plan is to continue using a majority of the event's tried-and-true operations template, there will also be some things that are different—either changed slightly...or completely new. One of the changes is noted right in the language of that DPC 2016 entry document we hope you're filling out:
"For 2016, we're going to have you choose the 10 trucks to compete for the Diesel Power Challenge title."
That's right, we're having you select a full rack of new contestants—not the usual nine who would try and dethrone the reigning champion. Now, understand, this decision was not made to punish or take anything away from Lavon Miller or his outstanding achievements in any way. Lavon is a fantastic champion and ambassador for Diesel Power Challenge and the diesel hobby. However, we just feel that winning back-to-back victories—or simply earning two DPC championships in any fashion—more than proves one's prowess, expertise, skill, ability, talent, and everything else, and that moving forward with a field comprised completely of non-winners or past champs with one DPC title (if they are voted in) is better for the event as a whole.
We're also looking into adding an additional day to Diesel Power Challenge. If this change goes into effect, DPC Week will open with "Features Day," which would be held on Monday. Making this important effort the only official activity on the first day of the Challenge will allow us to conduct full photo shoots of each truck and owner without having to rush or cut corners due to other schedule commitments for the same day (namely the ATS Diesel Performance Dyno Shootout).
I guess the biggest (and possibly most controversial) change to the Diesel Power Challenge—if it's implemented—will be switching our focus to vehicles that are more of the proverbial "real world." Examples of this include: newer/later-model trucks with diesels that make power while still retaining all of their original emissions equipment and aren't "deleted," "ECU- bypassed," or loaded with non-CARB-compliant accessories that, while promoting greater performance, do so in a manner that is now frowned upon by many.
Don't get me wrong, past competitors have certainly been capable of doing everything that's expected of them at DPC, including being somewhat "clean" by not spewing plumes of black exhaust into the atmosphere. However, given today's socioecological climate and even some of our own event-sponsors' concerns about the Challenge showcasing non-smog-compliant vehicles (without DPFs, EGRs, and such), driving on public roads, we're now in a position where some type of adjustment must be made.
"What will the change be?" Honestly, I don't know just yet. And, with equal sincerity, I'd appreciate hearing your constructive thoughts...in favor of or even against (I guess I'll brace myself for that onslaught) amendments to DPC's long-standing overall structure. While I'm certainly a staunch advocate of leaving well enough alone, I recognize there are instances when change really is good. My inaugural Diesel Power Challenge experience showed me there is some tweaking that can be done (to the format, rules, administrative ops, and such). And, while I'm confident some updating will help make our great event even better, my commitment is to make sure those changes are good for everyone involved with DPC.