The 2018 Ultimate Callout Challenge: A Diesel Performance Battle Royale

Text and Photos by Jason Sands

It’s a name that has become synonymous with diesel performance: the Ultimate Callout Challenge. Now in its third year, UCC has transformed into an event that showcases the best diesels have to offer in the form of drag racing, competition dyno testing, and sled pulling. At the end of the three-day competition all the points from the three events are tallied up, and an overall winner is crowned. In addition to the main UCC action, there was also a truck show, a huge vendors row with more than 130 vendors, and a 2019 qualifying event that would give prospective entrants a spot in the 2019 Challenge. So who came to throw down, and who crumbled under the pressure? Here we’ll give you UCC’s top 10 of 2018, along with the top 3 qualifiers for next year. Let’s start with the 2018 UCC champion, now a three-time winner!

First Place: Lavon Miller / Firepunk Diesel
Quarter mile: 7.88 at 181 mph
Dyno: 2,243 rwhp 3,014 rwtq
Sled Pull: 329 feet

Even though he has more UCC experience than anyone, it never ceases to amaze us when Lavon Miller wades through a field of trucks and comes out on top. This year, Lavon became the first diesel in UCC history to run a 7-second quarter mile, and easily eclipsed 2,000 rwhp on the dyno. Not only did he dominate in the quarter mile and put up some staggering dyno numbers, but he impressed with his victory in the sled pull, proving again that he’s the man to beat!


Second Place: Derek Rose / DNR Customs
Quarter Mile: 9.08 at 131 mph
Dyno: 2,378 rwhp 3,479 rwtq
Sled Pull: 301 feet

The big news for Derek Rose was his astounding dyno numbers, which put him right behind Lavon Miller headed into the final event. An unfortunate draw kept Derek from pulling his best, as the dusty track just couldn’t handle the power, and Derek had to settle for Second. Still, his dyno run (especially the incredible 3,479 lb-ft of torque) is something that won’t be soon forgotten.


Third Place: Shawn Baca / Industrial Injection
Quarter Mile: 8.88 at 157 mph
Dyno: 2,391 rwhp 2,734 rwtq
Sled Pull: 324 feet

Always a big favorite for the dyno portion of the event, Shawn Baca backed up his power numbers on both the dragstrip and on the pulling track, landing him in Third place. Although Shawn made the most horsepower out of any truck (2,391 rwhp) he would get edged out by Derek Rose in the combined HP/TQ final score. The dragstrip is also the first time Shawn has ever been in the 8’s, which contributed greatly to his final score.


Fourth Place: Chris Buhidar / Truck Source Diesel
Quarter Mile: 8.57 at 165 mph
Dyno: 2,238 rwhp 2,802 rwtq
Sled Pull: 293 feet

A first year competitor, Chris Buhidar had an extremely strong showing with his Cummins-powered Ford. Chris normally runs the NHRDA’s Super Street class, which meant he was an easy 8-second capable driver. But how would he do in the sled pull and on the dyno? The answer is that Chris didn’t back down, which meant extremely good numbers and an extremely close finish. Not bad for a 6,100-pound truck!


Fifth Place: Jared Delekta / Industrial Injection
Quarter Mile: 8.07 at 180 mph
Dyno: 2,188 rwhp 2663 rwtq
Sled Pull: 246 feet

Right behind Chris’ Cummins-swapped Ford was the Cummins-swapped Chevy of Jared Delekta. Yep you read that right, the GM has an Industrial Injection Shredder Series engine for power. The big news for Jared is that he was right on Lavon’s bumper on day one, as his 8.07 quarter-mile was the quickest time until very late in the day. Jared’s performance went to show just how good the competition was this year, as a 2,188 rwhp dyno run and 246-foot sled pull was only good enough for Fifth.


Sixth Place: Donovan Harris / Armor Inc., and Dynomite Diesel Products
Quarter Mile: 8.58 at 167 mph
Dyno: 1,813 rwhp 2,222 rwtq
Sled Pull: 293 feet

Hailing all the way from Canada was Donovan Harris and his extremely strong compound-turbo Dodge truck. Donovan had finished well in 2017, and was looking for another good year in 2018. After a very quick pass on the dragstrip, Donovan fell off on the dyno, which would hurt his overall standings. He came back with force for the sled pull however, as a 293-foot pull was good enough for Sixth place.


Seventh Place: Cody Hale / Anarchy Diesel
Quarter Mile: 8.81 at 156
Dyno: 1,675 rwhp 2,437 rwtq
Sled Pull: 267 feet

The Anarchy Diesel truck driven by Cody Hale would be a strong runner, starting with an 8.81-second pass, allowing him to join the ranks of several other contenders running in the 8’s. Although he had a strong start, Cody was yet another competitor who would fall short on the dyno, if a 1,675 rwhp pull can be considered “falling short”. Cody had a good pull but again wasn’t near the top, which meant a Seventh place overall finish. If anything, it speaks to the level of competition at UCC, you have to be flawless in all areas of competition to win it.


Eighth Place: Todd Welch / Power Driven Diesel
Quarter Mile: 10.00 at 138 mph
Dyno: 1,853 rwhp 2,294 rwtq
Sled Pull: 290 feet

If any team was swinging for the fences, it was the mechanical 12-valve entry of Power Driven Diesel, which started off with a less-than-stellar 10.00 at the dragstrip, thanks to a cracked block. After pulling an all-nighter, the team came back with a vengeance during the dyno portion of the event, where they put down 1,853 rwhp. PDD also went the extra mile during the sled pull where they installed SIX cut tires, and slung dirt to the tune of 290 feet. With a little better quarter mile time the team would have jumped a few spots, but as it was, they made an amazing recovery.


Ninth Place: Jess Hardessen / Husker Diesel Performance
Quarter Mile: 9.24 at 151 mph
Dyno: 1,816 rwhp 2,469 rwtq
Sled Pull: 255 feet

The top GM of the field went to the Husker Diesel entry, which motivated the Allison 1000-shifted truck down the quarter mile in 9.24 seconds, and cranked out an impressive 1,816 rwhp on the dyno. Jess was another truck that would get bit by the sled pull, as a mid-pack 255-foot pull meant a Ninth place finish.


Tenth Place: Josh Gruis / Jags Pro Shop
Quarter Mile: 8.74 at 160 mph
Dyno: 1,721 rwhp 1,984 rwtq
Sled Pull: 268 feet

Josh Gruis, driving the Jags Pro Shop truck, was another case of a contender that could have finished quite a few spots up had he not had issues on the dyno. Josh had a decent showing in the sled pull (268 feet) and a good pass at the dragstrip (8.74 seconds), but cranked out a limited amount of torque at 1,984 lb-ft. This just goes to show how consistent you have to be to finish in the top portion of the field in this very difficult competition.


2019 UCC Qualifiers

Starting with 2018, those who weren’t invited to the UCC main competition would get a chance to qualify for the 2019 show, provided they could bring enough power to the party. The qualifiers weren’t pushovers either, as an 8-second dragstrip pass and 2,000-plus horsepower dyno run would attest to. The field was extremely strong, and we can’t wait for these guys to show up in 2019.


First Place: Ryan Phaff
Quarter Mile: 8.87 at 160 mph
Dyno: 1,868 rwhp 2,507 rwtq
Sled Pull: 266 feet

Ryan brought the unique combination of a ridiculously lightened Dodge Ram that looked more or less stock on the outside, that is, aside from the parachute. It turns out that Ryan needed the chute, as he went 160 mph on his first trip down the track, then called it good. Next came a strong 1,868-rwhp dyno run, followed by a 266-foot sled pull, all of which combined earned Ryan the top spot of the 2018 UCC qualifiers. Now onto next year!


Second Place: Trevor Peterson
Quarter Mile: 10.06 at 150 mph
Dyno: 2,109 rwhp 2,609 rwtq
Sled Pull: 262 feet

The big news for Trevor Peterson in the Industrial Injection sponsored Dodge, was the insane 2,109 horsepower dyno number. Unfortunately Trevor had trouble spooling at the dragstrip, only running a 10.06, which kept him out of the lead. Still Trevor put on an excellent show, and his power number means he’ll be one to watch next year.


Third Place: Cory Witteveen
Quarter Mile: 11.12
Dyno: 1,397 rwhp 2,328 rwtq
Sled Pull: 282 feet

Cory was one of the few mechanical entries in either field, and he did quite well for a beginner. The truck had three mammoth S500 turbos, which meant the sled pull was the only event he really got on top of the challengers. A little more refinement, and Cory will be stiff competition in 2019.

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