Assembling the country’s most powerful, best-built diesel trucks in one place is no small feat, but the folks at Alligator Performance pulled it off last week in Salt Lake City, Utah. With over $30,000 in payouts up for grabs, the company brought 32 of the highest horsepower diesel trucks on the continent to town, with invites sent out to the players for the Ultimate Callout Challenge. The three-day event measured the performance of the trucks in three specific categories: highest combined horsepower and torque, quickest quarter-mile times, and best performance in a sled pull environment. Only one thing was guaranteed other than the payouts, and that’s the chance to see lots of carnage as the competitors pushed their trucks to the edge – and in some cases beyond the edge – trying to be the biggest dog in the park.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Firepunk Diesel’s Lavon Miller was considered one of the favorites, with rumors of his dragstrip performance during testing sessions stopping the clocks in the low, low 8-second range. While he didn’t duplicate that performance in the mountains – Rocky Mountain Raceways routinely runs 5,000-plus feet of corrected altitude – Miller did take home the quickest elapsed time award on day two of the competition with an outstanding 8.50, .87-second quicker than second-place finisher Andrew Tovornik of Midget’s Diesel.
Miller’s Firepunk truck also finished second in the dyno competition with 2,211 horsepower and an amazing 3,309 foot-pounds of torque, bettered only by Industrial Injection’s Shawn Baca. And in the sled pulling competition on day 3, Miller also finished in second place to Ryan Milliken’s Hardway Performance entry. With the scores totaled up, Miller bested Milliken by 171.32 points to take the big prize back to Ohio. Look for a feature on this truck coming soon, right here on Front Street.
Daniel Pierce’s Power Source Diesel entry didn’t cooperate with him through the course of the event. A healthy explosion on the dyno left him scrambling to get the truck repaired, then it appeared to eat the turbo during the drag runs on Friday. Pierce repaired the truck to get it into the pulling competition, but the truck didn’t go anywhere on the starting line, with Pierce ending his week in the 21st spot.
Ryan Milliken’s triple-turbo Hardway Performance entry was no slouch during the course of the event, taking home the top spot in the pulling competition, besting Miller’s effort by 13 feet. The Ram relies on a 6.4-liter Cummins from Fleece Performance, a set of S&S Motorsport injectors and twin CP3’s to boost the performance. Milliken came in sixth during the drag event with a best elapsed time of 9.61, and he was fourth during the dyno sessions with 2,079 horsepower and 2,810 foot-pounds of torque showing on the readout. Milliken finished second overall.
Shawn Ellerton thrashed the wheels off his Power Stroke 6.0 truck; he made pass after pass on the dragstrip but was only able to muster up an 11.44 best ET. On the dyno, Ellerton twisted the roller to 1,365 horsepower and 1,930 foot-pounds of torque. He struggled during the sled pulls, only dragging the sled 163.23 feet, securing his final position mid-pack at 16. Still, an excellent showing for the much-maligned 6.0-liter engine. Ellerton was the only competitor in the entire event who isn’t sponsored by or affiliated with an aftermarket company, making his performance even more admirable.
On drag day, Andrew Tovornik of Midget’s Diesel Performance was one of the few racers trying to do a burnout before his runs, and it paid off for the North Carolina competitor, as he ran a best pass of 9.37 to edge Derek Rose of DNR Customs into third place. Tovornik completed the pull with a mark of 285 feet, and ran the dyno up to 1,476 horsepower and 2,088 foot-pounds of torque. Ultimately, those results landed him in the eighth position with 2,044.193 points.
With Industrial Injection located right in the heart of Salt Lake City, Shawn Baca had to feel some pressure to defend the hometown’s honor. Baca, the engine builder at Industrial Injection, put his Cummins entry on the short list of high-powered entries, and it didn’t disappoint on dyno day, stopping the measurement with a whopping 2,476 horsepower and 3,240 foot-pounds of torque to leave day one as the clear leader in the event. Baca’s deckplate Industrial Injection engine wears a trio of turbochargers and triple CP3’s to build its monster power.
But the three-part event made the winners and losers of each discipline evident, as Baca struggled to get the truck down the dragstrip consistently, turning in a best 11.23 elapsed time on day two to finish 15th place during this event. On day three, he redeemed himself with a strong 300.91-foot pull to take the sixth spot, finishing in the third position overall once all three events were taken into account.
After Lavon Miller’s moonshot run on drag day, his pits were a hotbed of activity for quite some time, as everyone wanted a piece of the driver. Miller took it in stride, with a smile on his face as he talked to everyone.
The folks at Weaver Customs brought their 1970 Plymouth Cuda for display during the dyno day. You might think this doesn’t really belong in the vendor area at a diesel event like the Ultimate Callout Challenge, but you’d be wrong. It sports a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel with a compound turbo setup, a 48RE transmission converted for manual use, and a ton of other upgrades and enhancements. Sydney Weaver says it will be autocrossed regularly, along with plans to attend the Hot Rod Power Tour this coming year, and maybe even some drag racing to enjoy the car’s abilities. With four-digit horsepower and a set of wheels and tires to harness the performance it offers, this is one of the nicest hot rods we’ve ever seen. Check out more photos of it down in the gallery!
The stands were full during the dyno day and the drag day; there was something for just about any diesel fan at the Ultimate Callout Challenge.
As one of the more understated machines in the competition, Zac Fuller’s Starlite Diesel entry didn’t really look the part when compared to some of the stickered-up, all-out haulers brought by some of the other attendees. But when the heat was on, Fuller’s Duramax acquitted itself quite well, rolling the dyno to 1,664 horsepower and 2,213 foot-pounds of torque. He recorded a best elapsed time of 11.09 on drag day, then a monster 360.39 sled pull distance on the final day of the event. When the points were tallied up, Fuller took the seventh spot with 2,143 points – not a bad showing for a truck that looks like it should be hauling a horse trailer.
Not only were the stands full, there were a ton of media members on-site to cover the event for the various diesel-specific magazines like Diesel Power and Diesel World. There was also a live stream running on the Ultimate Callout Challenge website to show off the event for those enthusiasts who couldn’t make it to Salt Lake City. Here, Armor Inc.’s Donavan Harris tools down the track in his low-10-second Cummins-powered brawler that uses – like many of the other competitors – three turbos in a compound arrangement. Dynomite Diesel injectors, a BTS 4R100 Ford transmission, and ATS Diesel dual CP3s are also onboard.
All in all, the event went off without many noticeable hiccups, which is a feat in itself for a first-time affair. The Alligator Performance team surely received plenty of feedback on how to make the event better for 2017.
Somehow, we have a feeling that Lavon Miller will be on the hot seat all year long as the rest of the Ultimate Callout Challenge competitors work to dethrone him from his perch.