For years they have been trying, but each time a winner returns to defend the title he earned previously, fate intervenes and a new titan climbs the throne. This year, Lavon Miller showed that he was serious about remaining leader of the pack, and he did it in style.
The last day of the Diesel Power Challenge in Denver was a nail biter. The weather had been uncooperative from the get-go, and Thursday’s forecast looked to be a continuation of the uncertainties experienced all week. The bracketed drag racing had already been cut short the day before and, when the competitors arrived at the track Thursday, it was wet again from early morning rains. Fortunately the rain let up and, using a lot of manpower and equipment, the water on the track was dispersed for another attempt at getting the drag races in.
While all this prep was going on, organizers said if there were more rain at Adams County Fairgrounds, the Sled Pull event may have to be postponed or cancelled. This did not bode well with all those lingering thunderclouds swirling about.
Nevertheless, the track was prepped and the brackets arranged so that racing could begin. Beginning with nine trucks, each round eliminated half and half again until two contenders were to face off: Cory Chomos and Lavon Miller. The two white trucks rolled up toward the line to assume their positions, when down the track the initial light sprinkle was quickly beginning to drench the track and make it unsafe to complete the final run. These two drivers who had been so eager to face-off were forced to accept this unwelcome outcome. They were urged not to try a midnight run on some stretch of highway on the way home.
In the afternoon everyone rode out to the fairgrounds, which had been thoroughly drenched all week, but was wonderfully prepared by the staff. It’s always a spectacle to see how far these powerful machines can drag the sled. It takes both power and driver skill, no question about it. The weather could not have been nicer, the first time the participants experienced that all week.
Back at the hotel Thursday evening everyone celebrated with an awards banquet that is always a special occasion. The competitors are all comrades here, as are the sponsors. Whereas the week offers immense fun for diesel enthusiasts, it also has a serious purpose. Editors see up close and first hand the kinds of modifications being made to boost power on these vehicles, what works and what breaks. Readers benefit from what is learned. Sponsors likewise strengthen bonds with these drivers who are at the tip of the spear as regards exploring possibilities of diesel technology.
Sean Holman, Content Director for the Truck Trend Network, hosted the presentation of awards, which were as follows:
Longest Distance Award (person who travelled farthest to attend): Jesse Warren
Carnage Award (most damage to vehicle needing repairs all week): Cory Chomos
People’s Choice Award: Rick Fox
Driver Skill Award: Jarad Rice
3rd Place: Jesse Warren (’06 Ford F-350 Power Stroke)
2nd Place: Rick Fox (6.7L Cummins-swapped, rollcage-equipped 2000 Dodge Ram 2500)
…and the winner, defending champion Lavon Miller (’04 Dodge Ram 3500) who captured first place in four events and two seconds in the others. It was quite the display of power and prowess. Congratulations, Lavon. We look forward to seeing you again in 2016.