As the only 2017 Ultimate Callout Challenge competitor running a P-pump mechanical injected Cummins engine in every phase of the competition (Lavon Miller ran a mechanical engine on the dyno in 2017) Todd Welch and his Power Driven Diesel team were fighting against the odds statistically speaking. But the determined and resourceful team did not let the loneliness bother them as they charged headfirst into the competition.
Relying on the power from a massive mechanical injection pump on their Cummins-based engine Welch was the most unique competition truck at the 2017 event. The 415 cuin (6.8L) engine uses a Hamilton Cams solid block capped by a Hamilton War Head cylinder head. The stout mechanical engine is linked to the transmission with a Diesel Performance Converters torque converter that channels the power to a Dodge 48RE built in-house by the Power Driven Diesel crew to handle 2,000+ horsepower.
During the 2017 UCC the team experienced problems with the intercooler and pump timing gear during the drag race and dyno portions of the event resulting in 24th and 22nd place finishes respectively. But the team did not let the poor finishes get them down; they came to compete, so they continued to wrench on the truck and solve their problems for the final day of competition on the sled pull track.
In one of the biggest surprises of the event Welch and his team brought the truck to the line with cut tires. But, taking things a step further they brought SIX cut tires, fitting dual cuts on the rear of the truck with a massive rear axle assembly sure to hold up under the tremendous load. With his mechanical engine turned down for their first hook, (they told us they turned it down so they could just get a solid hook and get on the scoreboard for the event), Welch hammered the throttle and put the power to all six tires and pulled the sled down the track for the longest hook of the event to take the Sled Pull win. Steering issues left the team to abandon their second hook attempt when the pump was turned back up to deliver more power so we will never know just how far Welch could have pulled the sled that day, but we do know that he put almost 10-foot on the closest competitor without full power from the engine.
Of course Welch has the backing of his shop Power Driven Diesel and co-owner Will Terry, in addition to their family and friends to compete at the highest level of diesel competition. They also have the support of Diesel Performance Converters, Farrell Diesel Service, Hamilton Cams and Nyes Automotive to wring the most out of their 1998 Dodge and show the world that mechanical injection trucks can compete on the world stage.
The team and their supporters expect that their problems on the drag strip and dyno from 2017 are far behind them and they look forward to redemption during the 2018 UCC where they hope to defend their Sled Pull win and hopefully add a couple more. The truck and team now have experience in UCC competition and a year under their belt with the truck so they could definitely be a dark-horse competitor to challenge for the crown in 2018. Only time will tell if the old mechanical dinosaur will be able to dethrone the tickle-by-wire teams that have been in solid control of the UCC standings over the first two years. Stay tuned on May 4th-6th 2018 when the rubber hits the track, rollers and dirt for the third annual Ultimate Callout Challenge—we don’t know whether Welch and the mechanical dinosaur will come out on top or not, but we certainly look forward to finding out!