As we’re rolling into Lucas Oil Raceway on Sunday, there was a lot to think about. Between a qualifier making horsepower numbers as high as the competitors, an engine explosion heard around the country, mother nature doing her best to keep us from finishing the wildest weekend in diesel performance, and the points as tight as ever, what could the final day of action bring?
For starters, The Weather Channel, believe it or not, nailed the forecast. It was the most beautiful day thus far with a slight breeze and a warm, cloudless 70-degrees. With that in mind, we were ready to finish this day off with a few trucks and one heavy sled. The weather leading up to this day did everything but help the pulling surface, but, the show must go on.
The Ultimate Callout Challenge had a non-competing truck do a test hook prior to starting the pulls and unfortunately didn’t do so hot. As both the competitors and qualifiers watched, the atmosphere trackside seemed on edge with a nervous feeling. All of these drivers have worked relentlessly over the last few months to dial in these trucks for a perfect weekend but wasn’t sure if the track was going to allow it.
With the qualifier points very tight between The Diesel Shop N.Y.‘s Mike Wysowski and Granby Truck Shop‘s John Schirado. Although Wysowski had a point lead, he wouldn’t be happy with a second place finish. Wysowski, second puller up, went after his first hook as the front tires weren’t spinning. Unfortunately, the front driveshaft was compromised leaving The Diesel Shop N.Y. crew frantically trying to figure out how to fix this before their re-pull.
In the meantime, Schirado, just a few pullers later, piloted his Ram down track 281.75-feet giving him the points lead for the time being. As the clock ran out, Wysowski and Co. temporarily fixed the truck and backed up to the sled. With one try remaining, the New York-based, 2,000-horsepower Cummins pulled 298.86-feet safely securing his ticket into the 2020 Ultimate Callout Challenge show.
The competitors put up a hell of a fight all weekend and finished as follows:
- Mike Wysowski- 2,363.115-points
- John R Schirado- 2,179.865-points
- Nathan Bandstra-2,111.373-points
- Brian Shew-1,980.998-points
- Shawn Elmhirst-1,430.482-points
- Zachary Camarota-1,418.349-points
- Charlie Fish-1,312.196-points
- Matt A Greger-1,084.254-points
- Josh McCormack-1,057.35-points
2019 Ultimate Callout Challenge Competitor Finale
Ever since the first Ultimate Callout Challenge, teams have been in a frenzy trying to get to the top. Teams like Derek Rose and DNR Customs, Shawn Baca and Industrial Injection, Todd Welch and Power Driven Diesel, Donavan Harris Armor Inc./Dynomite Diesel, and Truck Source Diesel‘s Chris Buhidar as of late. With Firepunk Diesel, three-time UCC champions, stepping down, the door is wide open for a new king on the block.
After a few years of testing, this years revision coined “Shredder X” was sure to make it to the top, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Shawn Baca and the Industrial Injection team was just short on dyno numbers, and a hair slower on the dragstrip leaving it all up to the final day of competition where they shine with the monster cut tires.
Donavan Harris and his Armor Inc./ Dynomite Diesel Ram has always been in the fight and this year looked, even more, promising with a new chassis setup and plenty of testing time. With a fourth-place finish in both drag racing and dyno competition, Harris and his crew were feeling confident heading into day three.
Todd Welch and his Power Driven Diesel-backed Ram, after months of preparation, had a ton of steam heading into this weekend. Knowing the truck would make the power and could pull the sled on any given day, they knew the podium was possible. Unfortunately, their first and only pass on the dragstrip didn’t offer many points which set them back overall. After a few issues on the dyno, they didn’t get the full potential out of “The Godfather,” but knew their best event was coming up.
Wade Minter, the 15th place truck in 2018, wanted more in 2019. They took their Duramax-powered Silverado and made 1,690-horsepower and 2,488-lb-ft of torque. They took that power and their drag racing knowledge and applied it resulting in a second place finish in the head-to-head racing portion putting them into a good position for the top 5.
Derek Rose and DNR Customs. This team has been fighting for three years now trying to top the podium. With a fifth-place finish and 2016, and now two-second place finishes in 2017 and 2018, Rose and his squad was ready for the payoff, but there was still the final grueling day they had to do well in.
Tony Burkhard and Dirty Hooker Diesel has done the impossible. After a horrific explosion scaring everyone onsite, they took a charred, beat up, and counted out Chevrolet and took it back to the pits and started a rebuild to finish out strong. The commitment this crew has to finish was unreal to witness and we couldn’t wait to see how it unfolded for them.
With a completely new look, it was Power Driven Diesel’s Todd Welch taking the sled the farthest out of all of the competitors. Welch credits the monster differentials and cut tires on their pulling success and will continue to use this setup as it’s just working too well to change. With a pull of 326.25-feet, Welch finished overall in third place.
If the Power Driven crew can get all their ducks lined up, this truck is a definite threat. It was the first round loss in racing, and an issue on the dyno keeping them from making it all the way to the top, but with a third place overall finish, this is this teams best finish yet and we’re sure they will be back for more in 2020.
Coming in second place, you had to see it to believe it, was Tony Burkhard and the Dirty Hooker Diesel truck. After everyone assumed they were done for the weekend, his team of soldiers repowered this truck and had it ready to rock and roll in the morning for the pulls and ended up dragging the sled 308.92-feet. Stay tuned for the full story on the wild weekend for the Michigan-based team. Congratulation to Tony and his team on their best overall finish coming in 6th place.
With the suspension changed over and the wide, cut tires bolted on, Shawn Baca and “Shredder X” pulled the sled 287.08-feet finishing 3rd place in the sled pulls and 2nd place overall in the competition. Baca and Industrial Injection have been in this event from the beginning and like Power Driven Diesel, they have finished overall the best ever this weekend. Over the last three years, he’s placed in 13th and 3rd place twice, so we’re sure to see him back out in 2020 coming for the crown.
UCC 2019 Competitors placed as follows:
- Derek Rose-2,4.68.667-points
- Shawn Baca-2,353.67-points
- Todd Welch-2,253.479-points
- Donavan Harris-2,221.574-points
- Wade Minter-2,130.611-points
- Tony Burkhard-2,123.385-points
- Justin Andres-2.091.914-points
- Cory Witteveen-2,055.819-points
- Chris Buhidar-1,902.154-points
- Brett Marcum-1,831.779-points
- Eric Merchant-1,800.363-points
- Trevor Peterson-1,765.959-points
- Dave Martin-1,690.031-points
- Ethan Schneider-1,642.793-points
- Travis Trent-1,635.366-points
- Josh Scruggs-1,579.66-points
- Jesse Warren-1,499.44-points
- Sam Gabel-1,470.948-points
- Kodi Koch-1,390.986-points
- Aaron Rudolf-1,364.956-points
- Shawn Ellerton-1,022.858-points
- Dan Snyder-1,002.132-points
- Frank Kuperman-844.522-points
- Dylan Grooms-537.5-points
As if placing just short of the crown over the last few years wasn’t enough, this year really hit home with the DNR Customs crew. After a loss of a crew member and friend, Derek Rose and his team really wanted to pull this off for him. It was going to take a weekend of ups and downs, but after their first few days of performing, they knew they could make it happen.
After their 7th place drag racing finish with an E.T of 5.444-seconds and their outstanding dyno performance breaking the Ultimate Callout Challenge record with 2,503-horsepower and 3,783-lb-ft of torque, only 300-feet of dirt and one heavy sled stood in their way to victory. Chains tight, tension building, Rose spooled his single turbo, fire-breathing Cummins up and headed down the track with a finishing distance of 263.58-feet.
“It’s been a long time coming. We have been fighting hard since the beginning. We have been testing the truck since February and it feels like we just got done last year, but here we are. It takes a team and it takes my whole crew to do well at this level. Truck wise, BD Diesel Performance has been behind me from the beginning even in racing and I cannot thank those guys enough. Freedom Racing Engines, can’t thank them enough either. We had a badass engine last year and we had a badass engine this year. We almost made 3,800-ft/lbs of torque,” said Rose. “Fleece Performance, they are always there for me when I need something and it means a lot. Ryan at Hardway Performance, he’s done the tuning for years and I don’t know what to say. They just work. I don’t think we’ve touched dyno file from last year even. Also, I’d like to thank Dynamite Diesel for setting us up with some injectors as well as my crew at the shop [DNR Customs], they keep the lights on while I’m out working on this truck in preparation for this event.”
With that being said, that wraps up our 2019 Ultimate Callout Challenge journey and it was one for the ages. We can’t thank James Brendle, Chris Searle, and Michelle Talaski for having us out at the biggest event of the year and putting on such a wild event. Thank you to all of the event sponsors for allowing this to happen. For more information about the Ultimate Callout Challenge, be sure and check out their website. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for more action from the diesel industry.