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Path to the Top: 7 U.C.C. Competitors Choose Nitto

The 2018 Ultimate Callout Challenge saw 50 trucks compete in three of the most popular forms of diesel motorsports: drag race, chassis dyno and sled pull. Between the main attraction (U.C.C.) and the qualifying events (U.C.C. Qualifier), every pass down the quarter-mile, every run on the rollers and every hook in the dirt meant something. Each attempt called for an all-out effort from competitors, their crews and their trucks. With the stakes so high, many competitors entrusted Nitto tires to give them the traction they needed to win or place near the top.

In particular, dozens of drivers opted to run the street-friendly NT420S tread during the dyno competition, where they were subjected to more than 1,500 lb-ft of torque and speeds exceeding 100 mph. When the action shifted to the dirt, several trucks showed up packing either Mud Grapplers or Terra Grappler G2s, and many of them proceeded to dig themselves to the front of the pack. Below, we’ll highlight seven examples of the competitors that made the most out of the Nittos they were running.

U.C.C. Qualifier: Dylan Grooms


Hailing from northwest Missouri and assisted by Tyrant Diesel, Dylan Grooms and his 6.4L Power Stroke-powered, NT420S-equipped Super Duty made the most of their time strapped to the dyno. Grooms’ F-250 rocked the rollers to the tune of 1,324hp and 2,345 lb-ft of torque. He followed a fifth place on the dyno with a 9.929-second quarter-mile the next day (sixth quickest) and finished ninth with the sled in tow on Day 3. Grooms’ consistency placed him fourth in the overall standings, which means he will be on the official U.C.C. 2019 competitor roster.

U.C.C. Qualifier: Travis Trent


Travis Trent topped off his unique, Cummins-swapped short-bed Super Duty with a set of Nitto NT420Ss for the dyno competition. The 5.9L under the hood is fed air courtesy of a single S480 turbo, is backed by a Wyse Auto Repair and Diesel Performance-built 4R100 transmission and the one-of-a-kind creation cleared 1,259hp and 1,840 lb-ft of torque on the rollers (10th place).

Built To Hook


Despite ending up in the 10th spot on the dyno, Trent made up a lot of ground on Day 2 at the drag strip. Thanks to a rear four-link suspension from Flight Fabrications allowing the truck to cut a 1.60-second 60-foot time, he turned in the fifth quickest elapsed time through the 1320 at 9.923 (placing him just ahead of the aforementioned Dylan Grooms). It’s also worth noting that while other competitors were busy swapping turbos, transmissions and even engines between events, Trent’s 5,800-pound shorty Ford was one of the only trucks at U.C.C. to go the entire challenge without requiring a major repair.

U.C.C. Competitor: Tony Burkhard


As an experienced truck puller of more than 15 years, U.C.C. competitor Tony Burkhard knows which tire will yield the best performance given the track conditions. With the pull taking place at approximately high noon, he knew the sunny/windy conditions would dry out the track, making it looser as time wore on. It’s in these exact conditions that the Nitto Mud Grappler shines. As a result of running one of the most aggressive mud terrains on the market, Burkhard’s Duramax-powered Silverado HD clawed its way to a 320-foot, second place finish.

U.C.C. Qualifier: Nathan Wheeler


While we were expecting to see several trucks competing on Mud Grapplers during the sled pull, we were pleasantly surprised to find U.C.C. Qualifier Nathan Wheeler making use of Terra Grappler G2s. Part of the Truck Source Diesel crew from Texas, Wheeler’s 6.4L-powered Ford spends most of its time drag racing—and specifically running the 10.90 Index class—but he still pulled out an eighth place, mid-pack finish in the dirt. The single turbo’d Super Duty also put up a 10.83-second quarter-mile at Lucas Oil Raceway and made 1,146hp on the dyno.

U.C.C. Qualifier: Brad Daniel


Yet another high-powered 6.4L Power Stroke put up solid numbers while strapped to the dyno and equipped with NT420Ss, this one campaigned by Brad Daniel and Sam Gabel. Backed by BD Diesel & Auto of Tiffin, Ohio (and with “Packed Lunch” stickered across the back glass) their Super Duty laid down an incredible 1,376hp and 1,969 lb-ft of torque on fuel alone. Thanks to a compound turbo configuration built around the use of a Garrett GT45 and GT55, the truck was able to clean up virtually all of the smoke without the need for nitrous.

U.C.C. Qualifier: Josh McCormack


With a nickname like “Grandpa’s Good Farmtruck,” how could we not tell the story of Josh McCormack’s extraordinary second-gen Cummins? First and foremost, his ’95 Dodge was put together in just six weeks’ time and is as budget built as it gets. Thanks to being good friends with the 12-valve gurus at Power Driven Diesel, Josh has benefitted from a host of used parts. As a result, he has just $16,000 invested (which includes the purchase price of the truck). What’s incredible is that his low-buck build finished eighth on the dyno with 1,177hp and more than 2,000 lb-ft of torque and ran a 10.87 at the drag strip. If Josh would’ve been able to compete in the sled pull, his 247,000-mile, mostly original, ¾-ton Ram might’ve even finished in the top 10!

Budget 12-Valve


After obtaining the quarter-million-mile truck, Josh tore the 5.9L Cummins down for inspection but things were kept very simple during the rebuild. Along with machining the block to accept 14mm main studs, Josh hand-polished the factory crankshaft himself and welded the crank gear in place. The stock connecting rods were fitted with Haisley Machine rod bolts and slightly-used rod bearings from Power Driven Diesel. The pistons came out of a ’98.5-’02 24-valve engine, although their fuel bowls were opened up to 77ccs. The factory head was resurfaced, machined to accept a Haisley Machine fire-ring kit and graced with 60-lb valve springs and Power Driven Diesel pushrods. The fuel system consists of a $150 lift pump, a 13mm P7100 injection pump from Farrell Diesel Service and custom 5x25 injectors from Power Driven Diesel. An old-school S366 over S480 compound turbo arrangement produces 100 psi of boost on fuel—and an unknown amount on nitrous…

U.C.C. Qualifier: Joe Virgilio


Joe Virgilio’s Cummins-swapped Ford served as another case of NT420S tread getting it done on the dyno—and with mechanical Cummins power under the hood. Virgilio’s Super Duty was graced with a P-pumped Cummins with a two-stage, triple turbo arrangement and massive, triple-feed, 5x30 injectors. His truck cleared 966hp and 1,692 lb-ft of torque while aboard the rollers—and the next day it went 10.54 in the quarter-mile.

Want to see how everyone else did at U.C.C. 2018? Check out our coverage of the drag race, dyno, and sled pull!

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