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2011 Diesel Power Challenge

Ten Trucks Compete for the Title of World’s Baddest Diesel

Text By , Photography by Staff Of Diesel Power

Want power? We have a dyno event that will measure horsepower and torque. How about speed? Dragstrip passes will be timed to see who’s the king of the quarter-mile. We also have two trailer events this year: our eighth-mile trailer-tow drag race, and new for 2011, a trailer-tow obstacle course that will test driver skill. There will also be a sled pull and a 163-mile drive that will ensure streetability. The fuel economy of each truck will also be measured and will be used to break a tie—if one should occur. This year we have trucks that tow for a living, some that have traveled across the country to be here, and others that are weekend warriors. Keep in mind that every truck you see here is a legit licensed and registered street vehicle (we checked), so without further ado, we bring you Diesel Power Challenge 2011.

10 Trucks Enter, 3 Survive!
Back when Diesel Power Challenge was conceived, people thought it would take about 700 hp to win it—and they were right. The first-year winners included Nick D’Amico and Micheal Tomac, who both had the needed power and durability to make their dreams of victory a reality—and about 750 hp. Fast-forward to our seventh annual event in 2011—and Dmitri Millard’s ground-shaking 1,314hp dyno run—and it’s clear how far we’ve come in terms of diesel performance. There has been a price for all this progress, however. By the finish of the sled pull, only three trucks were left running under their own power. Read on to get the full story on our most powerful, carnage-infested Diesel Power Challenge yet.

The Dyno: One Truck Out
The craving for more horsepower and torque is as old as the internal combustion engine itself. To satisfy this time-honored pursuit, we put all 10 trucks on a Mustang chassis dyno, which was located at ATS Diesel Performance in Arvada, Colorado. The dyno would measure the rear-wheel horsepower and torque of each vehicle, and from that we would determine a winner. To keep the combinations streetable, we chose to use the peak torque reading—rather than horsepower—as our scoring platform. That way, those with wide powerbands would be rewarded, and narrow, peaky, high-rpm engines would be punished. To keep things consistent between years, SAE-corrected numbers were used, which were a few percent optimistic, but the point here was: same dyno, same day.

With Fidel Velasquez’s Duramax and Joel Saunders’ Dodge 2500 putting down 1,324 lb-ft and 1,560 lb-ft respectively, we were off to a fast start. The first true dyno standout was Scott Lindsey, who had just gotten his truck together before the event, after blowing his engine up at 1,340 hp. Running a narrow-rpm window in Third gear, the big Dodge was dosed with enough nitrous to produce a whopping 1,099 hp and 1,949 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers were good enough for the lead by a good margin. Andy Parker’s Ford and Dustin West’s common-rail Dodge hit 1,676 lb-ft and 1,749 lb-ft respectively, but past the halfway point of the dyno competition Scott still had a good margin on the field.

That was all about to change. Shone Patel’s killer 6.4L Power Stroke was reported to make 1,200 hp at the wheels and could finally be the truck that would show the horsepower potential of the 6.4L Ford engine. Oh yeah, and that was with a stock block, crank, and rods, and a set of modified factory pistons. Running two small stages of nitrous, the Power Stroke didn’t disappoint, hitting 1,158 hp and an earth-rotating 2,115 lb-ft of torque—the most ever for a Diesel Power Challenge competitor, and a good 150 lb-ft ahead of Scott Lindsey. The gauntlet had been thrown down; the Ford camp was for real this time.

As a refrigerator-white GMC Sierra 2500HD on H2 wheels rolled onto the dyno, it wasn’t clear that Owen Horst’s truck would be a player in the horsepower shootout, but the white GMC was perhaps the most feared truck in the competition. With a set of Fleece Performance compound turbos and three huge nitrous solenoids mounted in the engine bay, Owen had the go-big-or-go-home mentality down. But could he back it up? After a few aborted runs to see when the turbo would light, the pedal went to the floor—and all hell broke loose.

The Duramax spooled, rattled, and then suddenly the crowd was covered with oil after a huge nitrous backfire. The quest for a huge torque number had resulted in bringing everything in a little too early, and the engine had exploded. At about 2,500 rpm and 40 psi of boost (out of an 80-psi max), Owen’s truck was already making more than 900 hp, and the power output on the dyno screen was going straight up. Built or not, the Duramax engine just couldn’t take that much pressure at that engine speed, and it blew apart some pistons. We’ve never seen anything like Owen’s pull, and we’re not sure we want to again. Despite only being halfway up on boost and halfway in the Dmax’s rpm range, Owen jumped into Second with a whopping 950 hp and 1,980 lb-ft.

That meant there was only one truck left that could take down the big Ford: a Chevy driven by last year’s winner, Dmitri Millard. After making 1,212 hp and 1,793 lb-ft on the dyno last year in his Chevrolet, Dmitri felt that by instituting the “a little more, a little earlier” method, he could break the 2,000-lb-ft mark. After a warm-up run of 1,003 hp on his low-pressure nitrous setup, he was ready to hit the big stages. A crowd gathered, and the big Garrett turbos started to scream. As the truck was spooling, Dmitri noticed that his low-pressure nitrous system was stuck in the “On” position. With no going back, he floored the pedal and triggered the next two stages of nitrous manually once the turbos were fully lit. The result was 1,314 hp and 2,391 lb-ft of torque. Just like that, the dyno king from last year again took the crown and set a new horsepower and torque record for the Diesel Power Challenge.

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