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Day Three: Sled Pull and Awards Presentation

The field of competitors had narrowed entering the third day of the inaugural Ultimate Callout Challenge, but the competition was still very intense with 16 trucks making hooks in the sled-pull competition.

Six of the original 23 competitors were unable to compete in the sled-pull portion of the event, due to various problems that resulted from punishing their truck during the previous two days of competition on the chassis dyno and drag strip. Lavon Miller was the leader heading into day three, followed by Derek Rose and Ryan Milliken, who rounded out the top three.

Knowing that a lot of points were up for grabs with a good pull—and that even the leaders could falter, as happened the day before on the drag strip—drivers were willing to push their trucks harder than ever to earn maximum points and challenge for the win.

Wet Start

Things got difficult even before the trucks hit the track, with a large storm that rolled through the Salt Lake Valley the night before and into the afternoon the next day—forcing the track crew to completely rework the track before the first truck could even hook to the sled. Additionally, a hydraulic fitting on the sled broke during the test hooks, further placing the pull in question. Perseverance paid off, though, and each of the remaining 16 competitors were allowed up to two attempts to drag the sled.

The first round was so brutal that only 10 drivers brought their trucks back to make a second hook, with the others standing on their score from the first round. Zach Fuller and his Duramax were the last pullers in the first round, but dominated the field, putting nearly 60 feet on second place’s Shawn Baca; Andrew Tavornik came in third and point leader Lavon Miller came in fourth, hoping to hold onto his point lead.

Second Chances

As the 10 drivers who opted to make a second pull attempt took to the track, tension was thick in anticipation of crowning the overall winner of UCC #1. If Miller could not improve upon his first hook, and another contender put up a distance like Fuller did in the first round, he might lose his grip on the lead.

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Miller hooked second in the second round, putting up a monster 360-foot pull that led the standings. That is until Chase Fleece (driving Danick St. Pierre’s Ryan Milliken entry) pulled in the eighth position, dragging the sled an astounding 373 feet to take the pull-event win over Miller and Fuller in second and third.

When the dust settled, and the points were tallied for the overall UCC Championship, Miller managed to hold onto his lead and take the overall win. But, if he hadn’t come through with that 360-foot pull in the second round, the Ryan Milliken entry would have taken the crown. Second place went to the Ryan Milliken entry of Danick St. Pierre, with Shawn Baca finishing in third, and placing each of the individual event winners on the overall podium.

Stay tuned here to Diesel World for information regarding the next edition of the UCC, as we know you’ll want to be there. DW

16th Pull/14th Overall, Ryan Landfield, RKL Diesel, 153.90 feet

15th Pull/16th Overall, Shawn Ellerton, Canadian Rednecks, 163.23 feet

14th Pull/13th Overall, Chris Rosscup, Deviant Race Parts, 172.20 feet

13th Pull/15th Overall, Dan Madden, Diesel Pickup Specialists, 234.51 feet

12th Pull/9th Overall, Justin Hyatt, Husker Diesel, 235.25 feet

11th Pull/10th Overall, Randy Reyes, Randy’s Transmissions, 238.99 feet

10th Pull/11th Overall, Rob Coddens, ATP Trucks, 245.95 feet

Coddens bolted on a set of aggressive mud-terrain tires, and hung eight large John Deere tractor weights on a rack on the front of his standard-cab GMC to tackle the sled. He made very consistent pulls, even considering that his rear driveshaft gave up towards the end of his second pull. Rob dragged the sled 245.95 feet on his first hook, and 244.06 feet on his second pull, to take tenth in the sled pull and finish eleventh in the overall standings with his drag truck.

9th Pull/12th Overall, Dustin VanWingerden, Screamin Diesel Performance, 251.05 feet

VanWingerden drove his big crew-cab Chevrolet to a ninth-place finish in the pull by dragging the sled along for a 251-foot pull—the first competitive hook of the day. He actually drew first in each competition venue in an odd twist of the random draw.

8th Pull/5th Overall, Derek Rose, DNR Customs, 273.77 feet

Rose pulled competitively, despite knowing the previous rounds of competition had hurt the engine, and it was likely running on five or less cylinders. He was only able to make one hook, which ended with oil spraying outside the engine and developing a small fire under the hood. The potent truck still managed to pull the sled 273 feet to take eighth place for the day, and finishing in fifth place overall.

7th Pull/8th Overall, Andrew Tovornik, Midget Diesel, 285.89 feet

Tovornik made both of his hooks, falling back on his first of 285 feet when the second barely cracked the 200-foot mark on the track. The seventh-place finish in the pull helped him to continue his climb in the standings to finish eighth overall, after a disappointing eighteenth-place finish had put the team in the hole during the dyno competition.

6th Pull/3rd Overall, Shawn Baca, Industrial Injection, 300.91 feet

Baca saw highs and lows in the UCC, with a huge win in the dyno competition, followed by a disappointing fifteenth-place finish at the drag strip. The pull track proved to be a location where he could end on a positive note, making the first 300-foot pull of the day, and holding on to finish sixth on the day and moving up to finish third in the overall. Baca celebrated by hoisting his UCC Dyno Winner trophy high into the air on the Alligator Diesel stage at the awards presentation. We’re sure that next year, Baca will be ready to get some more speed out of the truck and place better in the drag competition, as he aims to take the overall UCC win for 2017.

5th Pull/6th Overall, Jesse Warren, Warren’s Diesel, 327.50 feet

Warren proved that a 6.0L can compete in a big way, finishing in the top-10 in every event of the UCC with his compound, turbo-charged Ford. After a 210-foot hook on his first pass of the day Warren came back in the second round and knocked it out of the park, pulling the sled nearly 330 feet to take home fifth place in the pull and sixth place overall, proving all the doubters wrong.

4th Pull/4th Overall, Donovan Harris, Armor Inc, 346.58 feet

Harris and his team made the trek down from Canada to compete in the UCC, and were not disappointed with the results as he improved his finish in each event. His first-round hook was only good for 279 feet, but he came back with a vengeance in the second round, dragging the sled nearly 350 feet to take fourth place for the day. His strong finish on the pull track vaulted Harris up the overall standings, also moving him from eleventh (after day two’s competition on the drag strip) up to fourth overall.

3rd Pull/7th Overall, Zach Fuller, Starlite Diesel, 360.39 feet

Fuller was the last puller in the first round to hook to the sled, while Shawn Baca’s 300-foot pull stood as the mark to beat since the second hook of the class. With the pressure on Fuller and his Duramax-powered Chevy, he stepped up big time, showing the competition that he came to compete by laying down a 360-foot pull to take third place for the pull. He was happy with his hook and opted not to take a second pass at the sled. The strong performance on the pull track moved him up to seventh place overall from fourteenth the day before. Fuller and his crew celebrated as the only Duramax-powered truck to get on the podium throughout the entire UCC event.

1st Pull/2nd Overall, Ryan Milliken, Hardway Performance, 373.03 feet

Milliken entered Danick St. Pierre’s Dodge in the 2016 UCC, and used seasoned puller Chase Fleece to pilot the truck to the sled-pull-event win with a 373-foot pull that was more than 10 feet farther than the second-place truck. Fleece left a lot to be desired after the 254-feet first-round hook, but he came out strong in the second-round hook as one of the last pullers of the night, dragging the sled further than any other to secure the event win and move up to second place overall. It is not very often that we see tire smoke coming from the tires in sled pulling, but Fleece was really putting the power to the BFG All-Terrain tires, and they did not like it. Here is the Milliken power team from left to right, with truck owner Danick St. Pierre, pull driver Chase Fleece and drag racer and dyno operator Ryan Milliken.

Ultimate Callout Challenge Champion!

Lavon Miller
Firepunk Diesel

2211-HP/3309-TQ (2nd best Dyno overall)
8.50 Seconds (1st overall drags)
360.88-feet Pull (2nd best pull overall)

Miller’s first-round hook left the door open for the competition to snatch away the overall win, coming in at only 281 feet. But, the low-slung Dodge turned into a dirt-devouring beast on the pull track for its second hook, as it clawed its way to another second-place event finish with a 360-foot pull. The Firepunk Diesel crew built a great truck that was perfect for the multi-faceted UCC event, finishing either first or second in every event to take the overall win by over 170 points. In the end, the Firepunk crew was first in the drags and came in second in each other event. No one was more deserving of the win than Lavon Miller and his crew.

The heart of the beast is a D&J Precision long block with an Engineered triple-turbo setup, coupled with Exergy injectors and pumps, and a little bit of laughing gas, to make it all sing to the tune of 2,200-plus horsepower.

Overnight, the Firepunk team converted the fastest drag truck of the competition into the second-best sled puller of the competition. Steel plates were installed to make the rear suspension solid, while installing four massive Truxus STS tires and a huge pull hitch, challenge the sled to a drag race down the Utah dirt.

Miller poses with his hard-earned $10,000 prize for the overall win, along with the custom trophies for the drag-race and overall wins.