The King of all Diesel Events is Back—With a Vengeance

It’s the biggest event in diesel right now, and it may be for a while. It’s called the Ultimate Callout Challenge. The stakes are high, and the horsepower numbers are even higher. The competition is fierce, but the camaraderie is undeniable. The biggest faces in the diesel world are on hand for three full days of action and the atmosphere is positively electric. After a one-year hiatus, U.C.C. returned to the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis—and somehow the movers and shakers behind this one-of-a-kind event found a way to make it even better. Not only was the DPI Expo up and running all weekend, along with an extensive entry list for the show ‘n shine, but a full Outlaw Diesel Super Series show was interweaved with all of the U.C.C. action.

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Right out of the gate, Tyler Burkhard sent the DHD Chevy through the traps in 5.18 seconds, and at 145 mph. From there, the ’06 Silverado would only get faster, eventually running a 5.11 and taking the win at the drag strip.

The first day of U.C.C. competition called drivers to the staging lanes. More than half the field (11 of 19) responded by putting up 5-second eighth-mile passes. On Day 2, it was time to hit the dyno, where nine trucks topped the 2,000hp mark. The evening would conclude with one of the most catastrophic engine failures ever recorded. Then came the sled pull on Day 3, where—thanks to teams and fans alike being privy to the handy Ultimate Callout Challenge scoring calculator—it was clear that no one was walking away with it. The fact that it came down to the very last hook was telling as to just how competitive and close the points race is at an event like Ultimate Callout Challenge. In the following pages you’ll find our comprehensive recap of U.C.C. 2021. There’s carnage, chaos, raw displays of power, and ultimately, triumph.

We hope to see you here in 2022.

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Wade Minter is always a formidable threat at U.C.C.—especially at the drag strip. His “Ill-Tempered” Silverado, still sporting a nasty, triple-turbo SoCal 7.1L stroker Duramax, went 5.65 at 131 mph on the first pass of the weekend. Later in the day, Minter put up a 5.50, which would wind up being the fourth quickest trip through the ‘660 at U.C.C. 2021.
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Unlike 2019, not one drop of rain fell the weekend of May 21-23, 2021. Under clear yet warm skies, the events at this year’s U.C.C. unfolded more or less right on schedule. Here, Tom Borrell (better known as “Turba Tom”) takes his Ram for a 5.33-second ride. He would finish Third in the drag race competition.
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Out on the track, Justin Zeigler’s parts combination had no problem bringing his sizeable compound arrangement to life. His second attempt of the day yielded a 5.57-second eighth-mile at 135 mph even though he was forced to pedal it. Eventually, Justin collected a 5.3-second timeslip, which was good enough for Second Place on Day 1. Justin told us that the engine sees 135 psi of boost at full power, while drive pressure checks in at roughly 110 psi.
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Right behind Chris Buhidar was Evan Moser and his regular cab third-gen. A week before U.C.C., Evan was forced to replace the truck’s transmission and then hit his local eighth-mile for a bit of testing. In the end, he ran the same 5.53 time at U.C.C. that he had back home, an E.T. that situated him in the number 6 spot heading into Day 2.
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For years, the words “fast” and “consistent” have been used to describe Chris Buhidar’s Cummins-powered F-350. Nothing was different in 2021, as the Truck Source Diesel Ford wasted little time breaking into the mid 5’s, going 5.53 at 132 mph right off the trailer. Later, his Freedom Racing Engines 6.8L, BTS 4R100, and host of OUO suspension parts would support a 5.51-second pass, earning Chris a solid Fifth Place finish at the drag strip.
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After staging quicker than perhaps anyone else we watched throughout the day, Kenny Bruner sent his Dynomite Diesel and Capital Diesel Performance-backed Dodge through the eighth-mile in 5.56 seconds, and at 128 mph. One month prior, this same truck went 8.75 in the quarter-mile barely on the bottle. It’s four-linked and stuffed with a compound turbo 6.5L common-rail Cummins (6.7L block, 5.9L crank). Kenny and his crew trekked all the way from Windsor, California to be a part of U.C.C.
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The mechanical mafia was in town once again, and the Power Driven Diesel guys managed to squeeze a 6.07-second eighth-mile out of the infamous second-gen Dodge. Over the years, team PDD has had its issues on the drag strip, but this pass proved pretty smooth. Trap speed checked in at 130 mph.
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Running a trans-brake was new for John Schirado, but he still managed to get a 5.71 out of the Granby Truck Shop second-gen Dodge, along with trapping 133 mph. All of it was achieved at a race weight of 4,900 pounds and with a 12mm (yes 12mm) P-pump from Farrell Diesel Service. In a competition that’s now primarily dominated by common-rail, it’s nice to see a mechanical Cummins out there swinging for the fences.
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The big story on the dyno—and potentially even for the entire weekend—was the display put on by Power Driven Diesel. With their spare engine under the hood, a 16mm Farrell Diesel pump in the mix, a plan for the triple GT55 arrangement to build more than 200-psi of boost, and a goal of hitting 3,000 hp, the writing was on the wall for what was probably coming. Using all the nitrous, driver Todd Welch blew the Cummins sky-high, with block fragments, fuel, oil, and even a few pistons taking flight. Thanks to Christian Mahoney of S&S Diesel Motorsport for providing this photo.
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During the melee, the Cummins’ block split in half at the mains, with the upper portion of the block (along with the head) moving up and laying over. In what was left of the crankcase, all six Wagler billet rods seemed to have survived the ride intact. Right before all the fireworks, Power Driven’s Dodge managed to make 2,369 hp and 3,039 lb-ft of torque, which was fifth overall on the rollers.
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As always, the pits were a hive of activity at U.C.C. Here, Truck Source Diesel’s Chris Buhidar can be seen making a few tuning adjustments on Wade Minter’s Duramax. At the same time, we caught two TSD guys bolting the fuel rail back on Buhidar’s triple-turbo, Cummins-swapped ’00 Super Duty. Minter’s triple-turbo SoCal 7.1L would go on to lay down 2,065 hp and 2,756 lb-ft aboard the rollers.
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Making use of his massive Wimer 5.3-inch over GT55 compound arrangement along with a highly-fueled D&J Enforcer engine, Justin Zeigler squeezed 2,443 hp and 3,282 lb-ft of torque through a fresh Firepunk Comp 3 transmission. It would prove to be the highest combined horsepower and torque total at U.C.C. 2021, and it catapulted Justin to the front of the points race heading into Day 3.
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Charlie Fish’s dyno experience was eventful, but not nearly as eventful as what happened to him in the pits leading up to he and his 6.0L Power Stroke’s call time. There, two hours before he had to be on the rollers, a dead cylinder threatened to take him and his team out of contention. That is until the other 6.0L gurus in the pits caught wind of his problem. From there, the folks at Warren Diesel Injection, Kill Devil Diesel, and a host of others dug in, everyone attacking a different part of the engine until the repair was made and the cylinder head was back on.
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When it was his turn on the dyno, Chris Buhidar didn’t disappoint. He produced the biggest horsepower number on the weekend with 2,463 hp, along with 2,996 lb-ft of torque. Chris’s combined score put him in Fourth Place for the dyno event. Coupled with a Fifth Place finish at the drag strip the day before, he was sitting in Second Place heading into Day 3.
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As impressive as Tony Burkhard’s 2,104 hp and 2,360 lb-ft numbers were on the dyno, the Duramax-powered Silverado would sink to Eleventh Place for the day. This no doubt took valuable points away from them and was a far cry from their First Place drag race performance. It also made it possible for competitors like Justin Zeigler and Chris Buhidar to overtake team DHD for the points lead heading into Day 3—along with allowing Justin Andres and Trevor Peterson to creep back into the overall points picture. As we alluded to earlier, it’s simply impossible to understand how competitive U.C.C. is without seeing it for yourself. You’re never going to find this many trucks making 2,000-rwhp or more at any other event.
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Incredibly, Charlie made it onto the dyno with 29 seconds to spare (before being disqualified) in his short-bed Ford. With bigger injectors than what he’d ran at the drag strip and nitrous in the mix, the single turbo’d 6.0L belted out 1,760 hp on the first hit. Then it produced 1,820 hp and 2,433 lb-ft before his crew took off for the pits in search of larger nitrous jets. Unfortunately, their plan to crack 2,000 hp wasn’t meant to be though. A map line issue wouldn’t allow engine rpm to increase beyond 3,000 rpm, and his 20-minute timeframe on the dyno was just about up.
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Day 3 began when Day 2 ended, which is to say that many teams spent the majority of their night converting their dyno and drag race setups into versions that could perform well in the sled pull. When we showed up, we were greeted with the familiar sight of suitcase weights being added, tires being aired down, suspensions getting tweaked, and trucks moving across the portable scale. Like many pulling classes, the sled pull portion of U.C.C. calls for an 8,000-pound maximum and a 26-inch hitch height. Dual rear wheel configurations are also permitted, which most teams convert to the night before the pulls.
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Day 3 also meant it was crunch time for the handful of competitors who were still mathematically capable of grabbing the overall win. After a Fourth Place finish at the drag strip and slipping to Eighth Place on the dyno, Wade Minter needed a big distance in the dirt. He kicked off the truck pull action with a 294.35-foot effort—not bad for a truck that’s capable of running 8-second quarter-miles and producing more than 2,000 hp at the wheels.
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After finishing second in the drag race and then first on the dyno, Justin Zeigler was the front-runner when the festivities kicked off in the dirt. Justin, only the third truck to hook to the sled, turned in a respectable 290.35 foot effort (what would end up being ninth out of the 13 trucks that made the call). Then it was a waiting game to see how Chris Buhidar did, as he was still within striking distance according to the points system. In ever-dramatic fashion (and believe it or not), Buhidar got to pull dead last.
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As one of the steel bodied trucks in competition, and despite being more of a drag racer/dyno guy than a puller, we’d say David Petrick and his third-gen did well in the sled pull. Even though the truck broke an axle and pulled hard right at the end of his hook, David still moved the iron sleigh 271.99 feet. David’s further accolades for the weekend included a 6.26-second eighth-mile best, and 1,909 hp on the dyno.
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Cut tire-equipped and ready to do what they do best, team DHD’s Duramax was the favorite to win in the dirt. They did not disappoint. A 319-foot distance gave DHD the win in the sled pull, and when combined with their First Place at the drag strip, they came away with a Third Place overall finish at U.C.C. 2021. It’s proof that we might just see a Duramax on top in the years to come.
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Following a 5.88-second pass on the drag strip and a Third Place on the dyno (with 2,264 hp and 3,203 lb-ft), Trevor Peterson dug himself into a Fifth Place overall finish with this hook. His 308.71-foot distance was one of only four that made it past the 300-foot marker.
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Josh McCormack had a run of bad luck on U.C.C. weekend. It started at the drag strip when his deck-plate Cummins checked out, but he never gave up, still making the call to the dyno on Day 2 and hooking onto the sled on Day 3. In the dirt, the combination of a 5.9L engine with a 94mm GT55 and a 2600-rpm stall converter made it nearly impossible for him to get the Cummins loaded up enough to use the nitrous he wanted to. Here, a series of mini nitrous backfires puts on a show for our camera.
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You could tell Brian Shew and the Quality Diesel Performance team was made up of veteran truck pullers. Their pulling prep, tire selection, and track-reading hinted that they knew exactly what to do on Day 3. At go-time, they made their 314.30-foot pull look easy, and the Second Place distance bumped them up to 12th Place overall.
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As yet another example of just how competitive U.C.C. is, let’s take a look at Evan Moser. His third-gen Dodge went 5.53 in the eighth-mile (akin to 8.60s in the quarter), produced 2,202 hp and 2,802 lb-ft on the dyno, and yanked Nearpass Pulling’s Humiliator 298.06 feet on sled pull Sunday, which was good enough for Sixth Place in the dirt. With all of those achievements, Evan finished Seventh Place overall.
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By the time Chris Buhidar backed up to the sled (he drew last hook), there was a lot of nail-biting commencing on the sidelines. Chris needed to pull 319.50 feet to edge past Justin Zeigler for the overall win—and he has been known to put up solid hooks at U.C.C. in the past. In the end however, the truck could never build the type of ground speed it needed, and Chris came up just short of the 300-foot mark, which meant a Second Place overall finish at U.C.C. Still, the fact that it came down to the very last hook was telling about how competitive and close the points are at an event like Ultimate Callout Challenge. Look for Chris to aim for the win next time.
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Justin Zeigler’s U.C.C. prep wasn’t much different than any other competitors—which is to say it was anything but easy. Waiting on parts, working with various other shops to make things happen, hauling the truck here, picking up the engine there, not to mention the stress level and all the sleepness nights… it’s all par for the course when preparing for an event of this magnitude. However, at crunch time Justin delivered when it mattered most. And because of that, a giant First Place trophy is heading back to his Louisville, Ohio residence. Thanks to the solid engine, turbo, transmission, and fuel system package he brought to Indy—along with a great crew—he earned the right to put the Zeigler name next to former champions Lavon Miller and Derek Rose.

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When Justin Andres cleared 2,220 hp and 3,404 lb-ft on the dyno early on Day 2, his quick yet 11th Place, 5.96-second E.T. at the drag strip seemed a distant memory. He moved even further up the points ladder on Sunday, with a Fourth Place, 306.59-foot pull—which would cement a Fourth Place overall finish for him this time around. Justin seems to get better every year, so look for him to make a run at the U.C.C. title in 2022.

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U.C.C. Top 5 Overall Finishers

Justin Zeigler

Drag Race E.T.: 5.3
Dyno HP/TQ: 2,443 hp/3,282 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 290.35-feet
Total Score: 2,467.019

Chris Buhidar

Drag Race E.T.: 5.51
Dyno HP/TQ: 2,463 hp/2,996 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 299.65 feet
Total Score: 2,410.15

Tony Burkhard

Drag Race E.T.: 5.11
Dyno HP/TQ: 2,104 hp/2,360 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 319.00 feet
Total Score: 2,395.96

Justin Andres

Drag Race E.T.: 5.96
Dyno HP/TQ: 2,220 hp/3,404 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 306.59 feet
Total Score: 2,366.58

Trevor Peterson

Drag Race E.T.: 5.88
Dyno HP/TQ: 2,264 hp/3,203 lb-ft
Sled Pull: 308.71 feet
Total Score: 2,366.02

Our Video Feed

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If you didn’t get to make it to the event, heck even if you did, head to our Facebook page and check out the streams we did from the event. Tons of action, interviews with drivers, vendors and more. Huge thanks Goerend for being the Presented by sponsor as well as to Pacific Performance Engineering, Amsoil, and Raybestos Powertrain.

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