This article originally featured in the August 2022 issue.
“Breaking the Internet” is the latest catchphrase that gets overused often when playfully suggesting a posted video on social media that received an overwhelming amount of views. It might just be a coincidence, but right after Justin Zeigler set the world record with 3,336 horsepower and 3,642 ft/lbs. of torque on the dyno at the Ultimate Callout Challenge back in June, I couldn’t get my post on Facebook to go out.
A 3,000hp truck?! Are you kidding me?! This was huge news and I was trying like crazy to share a glimpse of the pure violence his dyno pull made in a video I captured, but unfortunately I was having zero luck. After multiple attempts to refresh my screen to see if what I had attempted to post went through, I simply gave up. Besides breaking the horsepower record, it appears Zeigler may have broken the Internet that night too.
When you stop and think about his run, it’s actually surprising the chassis dyno handled this kind of power. At its peak the 2006 Dodge RAM 6.7L Cummins lunged forward, and to be honest it was a little scary to see how much give the straps had as for a split second they looked more like bungee cords. I’ve seen relationships that weren’t as strong as those dyno straps and I believe they deserve a little credit too. Even the brakes glowed red and caught fire. It was just unbelievable to experience this in person as no one knew for sure records were about to be broken.
The focus should rightfully be on the record dyno pull, but it was already a memorable day two at the UCC as six trucks had already topped at least 2,000hp prior to Zeigler’s run. (Remember when 2K seemed to be an unreachable horsepower mark? Wow, things change fast in our industry.) We also witnessed a nice fire explosion where luckily both the driver Ben Francis and dyno operator Kody Pulliam escaped without injury on the way to the truck reaching 2,389hp on the dyno. Before Zeigler stole the day, the crowd was buzzing with excitement over Chris Patterson getting six pulls on the dyno within the 30-minute time limit…without ever turning his truck off between runs! I’ve watched a lot of UCC dyno events over the years and some trucks only get one pull on the dyno and the most common approach is two pulls with a lot of fans and leaf blowers in between in an attempt to cool the engine. But to the surprise of many, Patterson’s best run was his fifth at 2,614hp. I’ve never seen multiple passes without attempting to cool down the engine in between; it was truly impressive. Patterson might want to consider putting that engine in a museum as runs like this typically end with an explosion.
As luck would have it, at least from a fan’s perspective, Zeigler was scheduled to be the final truck of the day and what a great way to end day two of the competition. The 3K horsepower mark truly set the bar for the industry and my favorite part was seeing Pulliam’s reaction–he was still running the dyno after nearly being roasted just a couple of trucks earlier. He knew history had been made as he leaped from the running boards and pumped his fist in the air. He celebrated like it was his own truck and that’s what made it so special. It was a great night for those in attendance as well as those who saw the dyno run online. That is, before Zeigler broke the Internet.