Every year for the last seven years that the Ultimate Callout Challenge has been held, there has been a buzz throughout the industry. As the event approaches, there are posts and photos of your friends or favorite shops on social media preparing for the event or even offering friendly (mostly) banter to others competing. This event has made our already booming industry more noticed among the motorsports world and this year stepped it up a notch.
When this event started, it was still the best of the best within our small but mighty group. However, diesel trucks were often overlooked because they aren’t exactly what people expect to be fast or powerful, unlike other builds you would see inside a performance industry. Fast forward to now, there is no way that outsiders can see what these trucks have done and not be impressed.
Each year, the trucks evolve. They became more powerful, faster, and tougher, and because of our competitive nature in this field, everyone will do whatever it takes to win. With that, the cost of pushing the envelope has been explosive. Literally. In the six events we’ve had, we’ve seen epic explosions, terrifying fires, insane speeds, and so much more.
As the limits were pushed, lower elapsed time and higher horsepower number grew. Each year teams got closer and closer to that four-second pass and that 3,000-horsepower number. It took quite a while to get to that point and we weren’t sure that we would ever get there but the buzz this year was worth the wait. We did it.
Let’s dive into what happened, talk about the notables, and discuss.
Ultimate Callout Challenge Day 1: Drag Racing
There were 15 total competitors in this event which means 15 teams would partake in the three-day gauntlet that is UCC. Upon arrival, each team anxiously unloaded their trucks, equipment, and spare parts in hopes that their combinations would survive. Trailer tires were removed and the fat, sticky drag-specific tires were installed on the trucks.
Each of the competitors had the day to the legendary Lucas Oil Raceway dragstrip where they had a perfectly prepared race track to stop the clocks in the least amount of time. For the first three years, each truck tested their luck in the quarter-mile but because things have gotten so out of hand, they’ve limited it to the eighth-mile.
If you remember back in 2019, the fastest pass (1/8th) was Aaron Rudolf’s 5.503. If you can believe it, six of this year’s competitors were faster than that and three of them were buried into the four-second range. After his unbelievable performance at the Wagler Spring Nationals, Derek Rose’s Ram led the pack with his 4.737 pass.
Again, as no surprise, he was followed by just a few tenths of a second by Tyler Burkard (4.96) and Justin Zeigler (4.997). All three of these trucks are purpose-built machines to do one thing. Make a lot of power and go really, really fast. The rest of the field followed by not a lot, but there were some struggles for teams. And while some teams didn’t set the world on fire, you have to understand there is a lot of pressure to show up ready and hope everything goes your way.
The drag race results are as follows:
- Derek Rose- 4.737
- Tyler Burkhard- 4.96
- Justin Zeigler- 4.997
- Turba Tom- 5.456
- Wade Minter- 5.458
- Chris Patterson- 5.488
- Charlie Fish- 5.564
- Chris Buhidar- 5.565
- Josh McCormack- 5.608
- Dmitri Millard- 5.61
- Dave Martin- 6.433
- Quality Diesel Performance- 6.443
- Ben Francis- 6.515
- Robbie Garcia- 6.774
- Eric Merchant – 7.139
Since this was the first day for scoring, these were the standings heading into day two. While some of these trucks may have struggled to keep up with the pack, the dyno day offered points-o-plenty. This meant the trucks that were within reach of the lead could put up a big number and get right back into the chase. Everyone settled in for the night knowing that, for the most part, the trucks were ready to go for day two.
Day Two: Dyno Competition
However, that night’s sleep wasn’t THAT good, because the most stressful day, in our opinion, was upon them. All the ducks had to be in a row, the timing had to be right when the power was poured on, and things have to go as planned to get the results they want. Bright and early, Dirty Hooker Diesel‘s Tyler Burkhard, alongside his team which includes his dad Tony, hit the dyno.
DHD’s truck had been stripped of its drag racing turbo configuration overnight and came out into the light with three monster turbos hanging outside of the engine bay. This Mad Max-looking contraption may have looked silly to some (not us), but this was enough power to suck the air out of a room in a hurry. In fact, it put everyone on notice when they made a whopping 2,486.9-horsepower and 3.076.4 lb-ft of torque.
I’ll refer back to the earlier years of this event, in 2016 when it started, the highest dyno horsepower and torque were 2,474-horsepower (Shawn Baca) and 3,309.1 lb-ft (Lavon Miller). The first person on the dyno this year beat the highest in ’16 and still eclipsed 3,000 lb-ft in the first rip. After witnessing this, we knew that today would be a good day.
There was plenty of banter and wagering going on for this portion of the event in the months leading up to this. In fact, Hardway Performance‘s Ryan Milliken wagered $1,000 on a 500-horsepower gap between Derek Rose’s DNR Customs Ram and Chris Patterson’s Unrivaled Diesel-backed Ram on dyno day. Although Rose pumped out 2,621.1-horsepower and 3,677.3-lb/ft of torque, Patterson’s Texas-bred Ram made 2,614.7-horsepower and 3,611.4-lb/ft.
Even though Patterson was barely edged out, Milliken kissed that $1,000 goodbye. Unsure who the bet was actually to, someone earned some money this weekend. We knew that going into the dyno session there was going to be some huge numbers. Dirty Hooker Diesel was a dark horse to win this event. They’ve got a truck that can run 4’s, and with a power-capable setup they had, they were in the thick of it.
However, there were a few heavy hitters that remained. Chris Buhidar, Josh McCormack, and last but not least, Justin Zeigler. Each of these competitors has dyno experience and the knowledge it takes to make some steam but who would take the cake on day two? Buhidar’s Cummins-powered Ford didn’t disappoint with a 2,368.7-horsepower and 3,146.1 lb-ft torque run.
Josh McCormack’s new-to-him Dynomite Diesel Products-backed Ram churned out 2,342-horsepower and 2,908 lb-ft of torque. Although his numbers were solid, it did suffer an issue after the run. Not to worry, though. The truck wouldn’t be needed for the sled pull. We’ll get into that soon. Still, as the dyno ran throughout the day, nobody neared that 3,000-horsepower run, and nobody has taken over the top spot on the dyno.
Derek Rose’s 2,621-horsepower run remained. Out of a climactic movie, the final dyno session was for Justin Zeigler. Zeigler’s team had waited all day long watching others hit the dyno and push out some serious numbers but anxiously awaited to see if the beast they built was really as powerful as they expected.
Fortunately for us, it was and everyone wanted to see that 3,000-horsepower number. Fortunately, today was the day. With the straps tightened down as much as humanly possible, Justin ran through the gears getting ready to let this thing scream. He patiently waited for the signal from the dyno operator, and away she went.
From 3,100 rpm to 5,725 rpm, Zeigler’s Cummins-powered Ram ate 5.9-pounds of nitrous oxide in 1.9-seconds. What does that equate to? 3,336-horsepower and 3,642 lb-ft of torque. Finally. It is absolutely bonkers how far we’ve come as an industry. This record-setting dyno pull was nearly 1,000-horsepower more than the highest power in the first ever UCC event.
Teams have tried everything to generate more power including, more turbos, and more nitrous, but nobody has made this much power at the Ultimate Callout Challenge. This number launched the Zeigler Diesel Performance team into the lead heading into day three.
Day Three: Sled Pulling Competition
In recent years, this was a one-truck event. However, UCC has adopted the team aspect for this challenge where each team had the choice to either use the same truck they used for the drag and dyno competition in the sled pull or use someone else as their sled-pulling option. This means if they have a friend that dominates the dirt, they can utilize them on Sunday.
Some chose to use the same truck for all three events. Some used this as an opportunity to pull some of the best pullers in the country to their advantage. At the end of the day, though, only one could pull the top spot — pun intended.
At the end of the day, it was Quality Diesel Performance‘s sled pulling entry “Iron Maiden” that pulled the sled the farthest. This rounded out Quality’s weekend with a respectable 11th-place finish. Eric Merchant’s team struggled early but managed a great pull getting second overall with a tug of 297-feet. In third was Texas’ own Chris Buhidar. Buhidar’s 2,368-horsepower Cummins-powered Ford pulled the sled 296-feet.
There was some great sled-pulling action and that concluded the 2022 Ultimate Callout Challenge. After the pulls were over, the points were tallied up. In the end, it was Justin Zeigler who took yet another victory overall at UCC making this his second win in a row. Zeigler just released a statement following the event.
“I’d like to thank everyone that helped us repeat the overall win and for winning the dyno two years in a row as well. First, my wife Jen for putting up with this madness and all the time away and money spent on this insane machine. My son, Jaxon, for always being my number one fan and hype man. Derek Allen, my crew chief, and the first one there to get things done and ready for us to make a safe pass. I appreciate all the pep talks over the radio to keep me calm and ready. My crew, Mike Zbinden, Jamie Ferguson, and Jake JJ Qno. You guys always doing whatever needs to be done when asked no matter what it takes. Nick Tarolli for pulling me to and from the track and keeping me hydrated when I get out of the truck as well as helping the crew work. My sister Christy Tarolli and Julie Marie for keeping us all fed all weekend with great food and good spirits. Lavon Miller for doing Lavon things and tuning this thing to be the monster it is and always giving me advice and help in any way to keep us at the top! You’re the man! Cody Fisher for all the fabrication work and setup work on every inch of this thing. I trust this man with my life. And as long as I’m racing no one will do these things for us but Cody. Josh Scruggs for helping guide my crew to keep us on point, and running back and forth from the Firepunk pit for all the little things we may need. Your advice and confidence helped me more than u know. Lyn Miller for doing all the chassis adjustments needed at the track to get this monster to hook and go straight so we can go fast. Thank you everyone at Firepunk Diesel. Kyle Fischer and all of Hot Shot’s Secret for the amazing fluids to keep this thing alive and well under the most extreme abuse. Drew Pumphrey and D&J Precision Machine for making the most badass engine in this game. This factory cast block and head did things billet engines haven’t done yet and it’s still alive after making a record 3,336-horsepower. Exergy Performance for making the best injectors and pumps, as well as the Bosch stand-alone set up for us. These 400% over injectors and two 14mm pumps just laid the smack down on the competition. Calvin Miller for sled pulling for us in the Running In The Red sled pull machine. Calvin was my first choice as soon as the rule change came about. I knew he was the man for the job. No one on that property had more sled pull experience than him. My crew at Zeigler Diesel Performance always busting tail to keep our customers happy and taken care of. Russ Russell at Summit Racing Equipment for helping us any way they can. Especially with all the new race gear and all the nitrous parts, we could need. My friends and family were both with us at the competition and at home cheering us on. I couldn’t do any of this without every single person and company listed here. We made history as a team this weekend and will continue to push the limits!! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. To compete at this level it takes a really badass team and I’m lucky enough to have the best I love all of you! Lastly, to all the haters, you all motivate me when you doubt me. Keep up the good work and we will keep hurting your feelings!“- Justin Zeigler, Zeigler Diesel Performance
The overall results are as follows:
- Justin Zeigler
- Derek Rose
- Tony/Tyler Burkhard
- Chris Patterson
- Chris Buhidar
- Josh McCormack
- Ben Francis
- Wade Minter
- Turba Tom
- Dmitri Millard
- Quality Diesel Performance
- Charlie Fish
- Dave Martin
- Eric Merchant
- Robbie Garcia
This concludes our recap of the 2022 Ultimate Callout Challenge. We cannot thank the entire UCC team enough for having us come and cover their awesome event. This event continues to provide the best action when it comes to diesel performance. We can’t wait to be back for more next year.
For more information about UCC, check out their website.