UCC Qualifier Shootout
Competitors vie for slots in the Big Show 2019
Every year the Ultimate Callout Challenge has been getting bigger and bigger, and the competition has gotten fiercer. The event has gotten so large, in fact, that the UCC organizers have already opened up qualifying for next year. These 25 lucky entrants would be competing against each other for a spot in UCC 2019 and a chance to join the big show.
The format for the Qualifiers would be the same as the Ultimate Callout Challenge itself. Competitors would drag race, dyno and sled pull, and the truck with the highest overall score in all three events would be crowned the Qualifier champion. What the Qualifier race did was give little-known shops or privateers a chance to compete against the big dogs, all the while getting a taste of what UCC competition is like. These racers weren’t necessarily greenhorns, however, as rumors of trucks running 9s and making well over 1,500 rear-wheel horsepower on the dyno were flying long before the event started. Who would come out on top? Who would give you a spot in next year’s field? We’ll give you a rundown.
» First Place
Ryan Phaff / Phaff Phab
Quarter Mile: 8.87 sec.
Dyno: 1,868 hp / 2,507 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 266 feet
Phaff had just competed at the ATS Diesel Gauntlet Challenge dyno event a few months beforehand, so he knew he had a proven 1,800+ rwhp truck. What was left up to guessing was how the truck would do on the dragstrip and on the dyno—but we didn’t have to guess long. On his very first (and only) pass down the dragstrip, Phaff rocketed to an 8.87-second ET at 160 mph, proving he could get the power to the ground all the way down the dragstrip. On the dyno, he backed up his ATS numbers with a wild 1,868-rwhp pull, and pulled a traction-limited 266 feet in the sled pull. This solid performance in all three events added up to a win, and made him UCC Qualifier champion for 2018.
» Second Place
Trevor Peterson / Industrial Injection
Quarter Mile: 10.06 sec.
Dyno: 2,109 hp / 2,609 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 262 feet
If you just looked at the quarter-mile speed and rest of the stats you might think that Peterson was neck-and-neck with Ryan Phaff, but the elapsed time tells the story. He had trouble getting off the line, and as a result was only able to run a 10.06 in the quarter mile, which put him well behind Phaff. His Ram made up for it on the dyno, however, as his was the only truck to top the 2,000-rwhp barrier with a 2,109-hp pull. Finally, a decent sled pull (262 feet) put him, again, right behind Phaff, giving him a second place overall finish.
» Third Place
Cory Witteveen / Delta Diesel
Quarter Mile: 11.17 sec. Dyno: 1,397 hp / 2,328 lb-ft Sled Pull: 282 feet
One of the most serious mechanical trucks in either the qualifiers or the main event was Cory Witteveen’s monster-turbo, third-generation Ram, which was fitted with an old-school 12-valve engine. Witteveen had the same issues as Peterson, as he saw high mph in the quarter but couldn’t get the elapsed time down. On the dyno he cranked out an impressive 1,397 rwhp with just a slight whiff of nitrous, but the sled pull was where the truck really shone with a 282-foot run. Once Witteveen gets his ride dialed in for 2019, he should be a serious player.
» Fourth Place
Quarter Mile: 9.92 sec. Dyno: 1,324 hp / 2,345 lb-ft Sled Pull: 237 feet
The Cummins monopoly on the top few spots was finally broken up by Grooms, who had his 6.4L Ford-powered shortbed tuned to the hilt for the event. Grooms started out with a rather quick 9.92-second dragstrip pass, which vaulted him into the rarefied air of 9-second Fords. He also did well on the dyno, breaking the 1,300-rwhp barrier, but fell 40 feet short of the leader on the sled pull, which put him a close fourth place behind Cory Witteveen.
» Fifth Place
Quarter Mile: 9.92 sec. Dyno: 1,259 hp / 1,840 lb-ft Sled Pull: 254 feet
In perhaps the closest battle of the entire competition, Dylan Grooms was able to just finish out just ahead of Travis Trent. Trent had an eerily similar shortbed Ford to Grooms’s truck, but for one big difference—a Cummins engine. The common-rail Fummins was able to run a 9.92 in the quarter, and followed it up with a 1,259-rwhp dyno pull, but with only 1,840 lb-ft of torque. The low torque number (horsepower and torque are combined in the dyno competition) was Trent’s undoing, as a strong 254-foot pull put him within just a few points of Dylan.
» Sixth Place
Dave Martin / Locke Performance
Quarter Mile: 10.43 sec.
Dyno: 1,071 hp / 1,912 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 260 feet
Duramax-powered rides were noticeably absent from the top five, but that all ended at sixth place with Dave Martin’s entry. Martin’s ’06 was stuck in the 11s until he borrowed a set of slicks, and then he instantly dove deep into the 10s with a 10.43-second dragstrip ET. Martin also broke the 1,000-rwhp mark on the dyno with 1,071 hp at the wheels, along with a strong near-2:1 torque number of 1,912 lb-ft. A 260-foot sled pull let him lock up sixth place.
» Seventh Place
Quarter Mile: 10.09 sec. Dyno: 1,504 hp / 2,278 lb-ft Sled Pull: 198 feet
Just behind Dave Martin came another Duramax-motivated ride, the triple-turbo entry of Kelsie Epp. Epp was packed into the same camp as the Phaff Phab truck, so she was in good company. And with a 10.09 at the drags she got off to a good start. Her truck did even better on the dyno with a wild 1,504-rwhp pull, and was on its way to a podium finish until mechanical breakage hit during the sled pull, resulting in just 198 feet and knocking her down to seventh place.
» Eighth Place
Quarter Mile: 9.53 sec. Dyno: 1,168 hp / 1,867 lb-ft Sled Pull: 217 feet
If there was ever a competitor who came rocketing out of the gate, it was Charlie Keeter in his 6.0L Ford, which ran an astounding 9.53-second quarter mile. Not only did that make Keeter’s Ford one of the fastest 6.0Ls in the nation, it was a number he backed up on the dyno with a killer 1,168-hp number. Like Kelsie Epp, however, he would have a tough time with the sled, putting down just 217 feet of distance and knocking him out of the top spots.
» Ninth Place
Quarter Mile: 10.50 sec. Dyno: 1,002 hp / 1,792 lb-ft Sled Pull: 249 feet
If Charlie Keeter’s 6.0L was an underdog, ninth place was occupied by another one in Chris Krebs’ Dodge. Why? Because Krebs’ truck was the only VP44-pumped truck in competition. While it seems ridiculous to think of a 1,002 rwhp as “horsepower limited,” Krebs used all of that power on the dragstrip to run a 10.50 ET, then yanked the sled to 249 feet. In the end, his VP-powered Cummins just didn’t have enough oomph to get the well-set-up truck past ninth place.
» Tenth Place
Quarter Mile: 10.83 sec. Dyno: 1,146 hp / 1,368 lb-ft Sled Pull: 244 feet
The tenth spot was occupied by another Ford, and another 6.4L—the daily driver piloted by Nathan Wheeler. Wheeler had a truck that was a little too mild to be a top competitor, but he had a very balanced showing by breaking into the 10s at the track, dynoing more than 1,100 horsepower, and pulling the sled 244 feet. Now that he’s got a taste of competition, look for him to step things up in the future.