Dirty Hooker Diesel: The Explosion Heard Around The World

Just a few weeks ago, in Indianapolis, Indiana, the 2019 Edition of the Ultimate Callout Challenge was finished up. It was, like usual, an epic event. When it comes to the Ultimate Callout Challenge, you can guarantee that all of the competitors are going to throw everything they have at these trucks and whatever happens, happens. If you have any sort of social media, chances are, you know about the scary occurrence on the dyno day with the Tony Burkhard-owned, Dirty Hooker Diesel truck. We had to get all of the details of this situation, so we went straight to the source. Mark Broviak, dyno pilot of “Last Minute Hooker” and tuner of Danville Performance.

“Tony and I have been working together since late 2006 to early 2007 when he came to my shop for the first time to dyno his truck and have been friends ever since, “said Broviak. “I was riding shotgun with him on the dyno at the Diesel Power challenge in Salt Lake City in 2007 when an unfortunate downshift caused a nitrous backfire/turbo failure that took him out early.”

Since it’s something Broviak obviously specializes in, Burkhard and several of his friends, as well as their customers, had him run their trucks on the dyno. Broviak has been dynoing and using a Dynojet in-house at Danville Performance for the last 12-years with close to 20,000 runs under his belt. To say he has dyno experience is an understatement.

“Last years dyno went fine without a single hiccup but with only 1,600 horsepower, we knew we needed more in the tank for this year’s competition. In the offseason, we decided to run a big single turbocharger with nitrous since we have a ton of sled pulling experience with that configuration,” said Broviak. “So, we mounted up a Precision 102-MM Pro Mod turbocharger rated for 2,300 horsepower to this engine as it was a tried and true setup.”

Brett Deutsch’s 1969 C10 drag truck that is also tuned by Broviak runs the same setup with great success, so there should be no issues, right? Well, as a matter of fact, Burkhard’s truck in the drag racing portion qualified great. He went right past his personal best elapsed time and laid down a 5.62 at 140 MPH. Due to the drag racing experience, Burkhard was taken out in eliminations due to being timed out on the tree. But, the setup worked flawlessly.

With day one in the books, up next was dyno day for the competitors. Everything was looking great and confidence was high. Waiting patiently in line to the dyno, a few trucks had some serious issues and like anyone, it hits you in the nerves knowing you’re up next.

“I prefer to be behind the scenes 99-percent of the time and let my customers do the epic stuff in front of everyone. Although one of my personal biggest fears is dynoing in front of huge crowds, as crazy as that sounds, we marched on. So, at UCC, you can imagine how that was,” said Broviak. “But, we had everything set up the way we thought it needed to be and had a checklist in place to make me comfortable as I could be in the cab for the dyno.”

From the information we got from Broviak, the dyno run seemed normal and everything was working great. As he loaded the engine and turbo up, it started to get into its powerband with 80-psi of boost and 70-psi of drive pressure, which is doable, and only 1,400-1,500 degree’s of EGTs. Then, all hell broke loose.

“The range we were working in, those temperatures, those pressures, everything should have been fine,” said Broviak. “But then, it was pure mayhem. This turbo wasn’t having it anymore and let go. The turbine wheel came off the shaft was basically a hand grenade going off and anything in its path wasn’t making it. The turbine wheel hit the safety cross bolts with enough force that it ripped the clamp and a piece of the exhaust housing off.”

As the shrapnel got worse as seconds went on, the first thing it hit was the wiring to the cp3’s cutting them and shorting out the ECM and the main fuel rail on the front of the motor breaking off the high pressure fitting on the rail then hitting the intake tube right at the manifold ripping a two-inch hole in the pipe.

“This is when it went nuts and ran away on the fuel spray coming from the broken fuel rail and intercooler fan blowing straight back at the intake tube and into the motor,” said Broviak. “When the turbo let go the engine was roughly 4500-4700-RPM’s and roughly 160mph range so she was moving.”

“From all of the videos and being in the seat, I can tell you that everything happened stupid fast,” Broviak continued. “When the turbo popped, I instinctively ducked trying to avoid the debris and the concussion from it as it was a massive boom and pressure wave in the cab. I have a personal checklist for when things go south on the dyno and that is what I started going down. The first thing to do was stop the tires since this dyno doesn’t have a brake for the roller like mine does and I didn’t want this thing jumping off the dyno and hurting anyone else. I couldn’t live with that myself.  It is my job as the operator to try and bring it to a safe stop so it can’t go anywhere.”

Photo courtesy of Amy Gilbert Photography.

Broviak jumped on the brakes and killed the power to the engine, not knowing that it had already been killed by the turbo, and the engine came down a touch then took off again. So, with only one other option, he put the transmission into neutral to at least get the tires to stop. As this is all happening, the cab was being engulfed with white smoke and fuel vapor. Being a trained free diver without a tank, Broviak used his breath-holding skills to not breath in any of these gases and looked for the exit.

“I only saw the first fireball and then the white smoke hid the rest of it.,” Broviak said. “When I felt the tires finally stop I was ready to try and bail out of the truck since the engine was still roaring like a possessed fire breathing dragon and she was so loud in the cab. This is where my first real mistake took place. During the rundown and getting familiar with the truck, I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to the door handle and its location and it bit me in the rear.”

“I can’t see a thing in the cab everything was a glowing white so I’m trying to feel for the handle with my left hand and nothing,” Broviak continued. “After a few moments, I turn in the seat to feel with both hands and still can’t find it.  At this point, I start thinking to myself, damn, I should have paid more attention to the handle location. After what seemed like forever, I thought to myself I am going to have to get the hell out of here soon so I can take a breath.”

Photo courtesy of Amy Gilbert Photography.

Although he can hold his breath for quite some time, his nerves were started to set in as the flame clock has been running too long now. It was at this time Broviak started to feel the heat of the fire on his feet through the firewall. Still struggling to find that door handle, out the window was his only option. Spinning feet first, he grabbed the roll cage to yank himself out of the cab.

“When my head came out the window, I felt the real fire for the first time and she was hot,” Broviak said. “I reached for the railing and Ricky Bobby’d myself out of the truck and jump to the ground and walked away. I took a breath and looked up as my friends were yelling for me to run to them as they were visibly shaken by the events that transpired. I was still not freaking out and still calm considering what just happened to me. I got a huge hug from my oldest son who is normally by my side for everything I do and the look on his face definitely got to me.”

Knowing that his wife would lose it when she saw this, Broviak made the phone call to her letting her know that everything was okay. Broviak walked away from probably the worst dyno explosion to date unharmed with only a few singed hairs. He felt worse for Burkard and his truck as he has so much time and energy in the truck.

Photo courtesy of Amy Gilbert Photography.

Burkhard, being as determined as you can get, as soon as the truck was unloaded off the wrecker in their pit, the Dirty Hooker Diesel team and a sea of volunteers went to work. You would think that after experiencing something like that, they would call it quits and just rest. Not this team.

“It was an all-night thrash by the DHD team and many people chipped in to help any way they could to get this truck back to life,” Broviak said. “It was alive at 11:00 AM the next morning and ready for the sled pulls.”

Burkard and his team are not made for drag racing or dynos. They are a sled pulling team. They were bound and determined to get that truck into the event that they shine at. Sure enough, they made it. The crowd roared as they see a worn out, burnt Silverado, now coined “One Hot Hooker” make it onto the track. Even after all of the struggles the day before, Burkhard placed second in the pulling section overall.

“At the end of the day, a horrible event turned into a big win for the team,” said Broviak. “I would hop back into that seat in a heartbeat because it’s what I do every day. Stay tuned because Tony plans to go back to the triple turbochargers, but bigger.” Photo courtesy of Amy Gilbert Photography.

We want to thank Mark with Danville Performance for taking the time out and giving us the scoop. Also, be sure and check out the Ultimate Callout Challenge website for future dates. Stay tuned for more action right here on Diesel Army.

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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