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  • Diesel Power Challenge 2016 - Kelsie Epp

Diesel Power Challenge 2016 - Kelsie Epp

’02 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 6.6L Duramax LB7

Jul 5, 2016
Photographers: Anthony Soos
“When I was 14, my grandpa bought an ’03 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD from the dealership. I was with him, and I fell in love with it.”
That’s how Kelsie Epp found her way into the world of diesel performance. She bought that very truck when she turned 18 and went away to college, using the 6.6L Duramax LB7-powered Silverado to get to and from school and modifying it gradually for better performance and reliability. The guys at her local diesel shop also had an affinity for Duramax engines, and she started accompanying them to the track, where she says she got “completely hooked” on drag racing.
From that first ’03 (which she still owns), Kelsie graduated to her current truck, an ’02 GMC Sierra 2500HD. Getting it into fighting condition hasn’t been easy, however.
“I’ve always loved the idea of Diesel Power Challenge, the ultimate truck and everything, so two years ago, I bought a truck sight unseen that would make a good starting point,” Kelsie says. “On my first drive after taking delivery, I blew the motor, which ended up being a good thing in the end, because we took it apart completely and rebuilt it the way it should have been built.”
Even before she was selected for Diesel Power Challenge 2016, Kelsie was setting up her truck for the competition. Each powertrain, suspension, and electronic modification was made with the Challenge in mind, even though she didn’t know she would be selected as a competitor.
“I’m just a firm believer that when you have a big dream in mind, you have to keep that in your brain all the time and concentrate and focus everything toward that dream,” Kelsie says. She organized a meeting with Gale Banks at a previous SEMA show, just because she wanted to meet him and, in the course of the week, she was put in contact with people who helped get her on track for Diesel Power Challenge.
Kelsie prepared for DPC 2016 by taking her truck to her local eighth-mile dragstrip to dial it in just right. She also attended ATS Diesel Performance’s Gauntlet Dyno Challenge (where she won the unlimited class and placed Fifth overall in the Gauntlet) to ensure her triple-turbocharger setup would light in Denver, Colorado’s high altitudes. “I knew at that point those turbochargers were meant for that place,” Kelsie says.
Kelsie acknowledges the “huge list” of people that helped her get to where she is, including Supreme Diesel, DFC Diesel, Dynomite Diesel Products, Dmitri Millard at No Zone Diesel, ATS Diesel Performance, Diesel Garage Media, Rob Coddens of Adrenaline Truck Performance, and Integra Tire and Automotive Center. “Everyone’s faith in me as a driver has been overwhelming,” Kelsie says. “I can’t say that enough.”
Will her truck’s impressive build process and massive support system pay off? You know we’ll be watching her closely when she hits the scene at DPC 2016.
Photo 2/16   |   001 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Sleek, smooth, hunter green bodywork combines with black bumpers and acid-green accents to give Kelsie Epp’s ’02 GMC Sierra 2500HD a sophisticated yet aggressive visage.
Photo 3/16   |   002 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Kelsie Epp and her team will drive thousands of miles from Canada to join the other Diesel Power Challenge 2016 competitors in the foothills above Denver, Colorado.
Photo 4/16   |   004 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Under the Sierra’s hood, three turbochargers feed a race-built 6.6L Duramax LB7 V-8 engine. With huge horsepower on tap, this engine should be as radioactive as it looks.
Photo 5/16   |   005 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Paint that matches the acid-green exterior accents adorns the intake and turbocharger systems, as well as the radiator supports, reservoir caps, and other underhood items.
Photo 6/16   |   006 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
A custom independent front suspension should keep the Sierra tracking straight and true, even when pulling trailers or racing down the dragstrip.
Photo 7/16   |   007 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
CalTracs traction bars, dipped in coordinating lime-green paint, should help direct power to the pavement. Strengthened rear suspension components will ensure strong, consistent performance as well.
Photo 8/16   |   008 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
A 3.42:1 gearset resides inside the rear pumpkin and coordinating paint hangs out on the shocks and differential brace.
Photo 9/16   |   009 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Kelsie’s truck is a street-legal race machine, as evidenced by the quick-release custom rollcage inside.
Photo 10/16   |   010 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Driveshaft loops, Wilwood disc brakes, and suspension bushings all tie into the truck’s good/evil color combination. More importantly, they will provide an added measure of safety in high-stress situations, such as when hauling the 10,000-pound Diesel Power Challenge trailer.
Photo 11/16   |   011 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
The underside of the ’02 GMC is the definition of overbuilt. We don’t expect Kelsie to experience any driveability problems relating to these stout components.
Photo 12/16   |   012 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Photo 13/16   |   013 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Falken Wildpeak A/T tires are wrapped around 20-inch MKW alloy wheels with green-painted Wilwood disc-brake calipers hiding behind. It’s a look that gives the GMC an aggressive strip-ready stance.
Photo 14/16   |   014 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
The luxurious leather seating and custom roll protection come from two different worlds, but they make us love the interior more. Discreet A-pillar gauges add to the appeal.
Photo 15/16   |   015 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
Photo 16/16   |   016 Kelsie Epp 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
The business end of Kelsie’s truck houses ZEX nitrous-oxide bottles, a transmission cooler, and some very aggressive custom exhaust stacks.
Build Sheet
Name: Kelsie “MissMaxx” Epp
City: Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Vehicle: ’02 GMC Sierra 2500HD
Driver Experience: Dyno, drag race, tow
Engine: 6.6L Duramax LB7 V-8 by DFC Diesel
Turbo(s): Two BorgWarner 66mm (high-pressure) with one BorgWarner 71mm (atmospheric)
Fuel: Dynomite Diesel Products 200-percent-over injectors, ATS Diesel Performance Dual Fueler kit with BD Diesel Performance 12mm CP3 and stock LBZ CP3 injection pumps, and Fass 260-gph lift pump
Electronics: EFILive with tuning by “Idaho Rob” Coddens, Edge Products Insight monitor, and ATS Diesel Performance Co-Pilot
Injectables: ZEX nitrous-oxide system
Intake/Exhaust: Supreme Diesel custom air intakes, and custom dual exhaust stacks
Transmission: “Overkill” Allison 1000 five-speed automatic by No Zone Diesel, and a SunCoast Diesel Transmissions torque converter
Suspension: Stock-height, custom independent front suspension, Rancho/Bilstein shock absorbers, CalTracs traction bars, and Dirty Hooker Diesel suspension stops
Tires/Wheels: 285/55R20 Falken Wild Peak A/T, 20x9 MKW Offroad M19B
Differentials: RCV CV axles, 3.42:1 gears, and an E-locker (front)
Other: Rollcage, driveshaft loops, Wilwood big-brake kit, BD Diesel Performance transmission cooler, and Flex-a-lite cooling fans