Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day One Diesel Power Challenge: Miscellaneous Notes & Observations

The Diesel Power Challenge begins in earnest on Tuesday each year. Monday evening is a mixer designed to bring all the teams together in order to run through the rules, outline the schedule for the week and to acknowledge sponsors. Following the mixer the Diesel Power staff and video team meet to go over the approach and expectations for this year's program.

The competitors line up for the opening shot at ATS Diesel.
Before arriving at ATS Diesel for the first day's Dyno Competition, each of the trucks were shuttled to a location where beauty shots could be captured. This is, after all, a "made for DVD" event. Unlike some such programs this one is a real competition with real rules and a real victory for the winner. The results each year have been predictably unpredictable.

Soot fills the cell... the first pulls are underway.
Last year's winner, Wesley Beech, began the challenge at the back of the pack with fairly low numbers on the dyno. Yet on day two Beech won all three events at Bandimere Speedway, startling nearly everyone. This year he's back to defend the title he garnered, and despite the odds against it, he would very much like to be the first winner to repeat.

So the day began with official shots taken of the trucks. Unfortunately, Cory Chomos of Alberta, Canada had an electrical problem and could not get his truck started. The delay pushed back the start of the first dyno run by two hours. At 11:05 the first truck pulled in to the dyno cell to get strapped down, Troy Sankey of Stevens Point, Wisc.

Troy has been truck pulling for 5-6 years. The powerful twin turbo machine is beginning the challenge with a last minute issue that concerns the team. The truck has a flex joint that cracked instead of flexing. Troy is hoping it will not interfere with the dyno pull so they can take the rest of the day to repair it for the rest of the week.

Pushing Cory's Chev 2500 into the dyno cell.
The order that had been established began with last year's winner getting a chance to choose when he ran. Wesley Beech chose to take the last slot. As it turned out Cory Chomos would be permitted to go after everyone else if he could get his truck in working order. As the day slowly progressed, Chomos' hopes slowly faded. By day's end he was forced to have the truck pushed onto the dyno so he could at least get some points as DNF (Did Not Finish) gives more points than DNS (Did Not Start.) Competitors all pitched in to help the fallen team mate.

Wes Beech's team standing ready to capture the action.
Though no vehicles actually broke or blew up today, there were moments of drama. Wes Beech had the most heart-stopping issue. His nitrous solenoid stuck and the nitrous continued to rush after he shut it down. No one was precisely sure what the sound was but Beech was quickly aware when the clatter of other noises settled. He leaped from the cab, opened the hood and proceeded to take action, finally banging it with a fist and shutting it down.

Danick St. Pierre of Quebec, who did the second dyno pull of the day, produced a big nitrous backfire that caused spectators to flinch. No serious damage though.

At day's end an assortment of people from the competitor teams helps

At one point during the day AMSOIL diesel products manager Mark Nyholm was asked a question pertaining to the stress these powerful diesel engines place on the lubricants that protect them. He replied, "I'm not sure which is more stressed, the engine or the guy behind the wheel."

Day One is in the books. Wednesday we'll proceed to Bandimere Speedway for drag racing and other action.


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