John Schirado takes first at Ultimate Callout Challenge Qualifier
Grand County resident John Schirado is a truck guy.
The 29-year-old diesel mechanic is just beginning to compete in the world of diesel motorsports but he is already making big waves. In early May Schirado tested his mettle, and his prize winning truck, at the Ultimate Callout Challenge in Brownsburg Ind.; an event he referred to as “the Superbowl of diesel motorsports”.
Over the course of three days in early May Schirado took his heavily rebuilt 1997 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup through a series of competition events, leading to his first place finish in the Ultimate Callout Challenge Qualifier. Thanks to his first place finish in the qualifying event Schirado has secured an invite to the Ultimate Callout Challenge’s main event next year.
“We really didn’t know what to expect out there,” Schirado said, noting it was his first time competing at the event. “It was a bit chaotic, but a lot of fun.”
The Ultimate Callout Challenge is an annual diesel motorsports competition held in Brownsburg Ind. that pits rebuilt souped up diesel trucks against each other in a series of three competitive events: a dyno test, a drag race and a sled pull. Competitors receive a point tally in each event that is added together to form a cumulative score, which determines the overall leaderboards.
Schirado finished third in the dyno test, first in the drag race event and third in the sled pull, leading to his overall first place finish. According to Schirado the events are extremely taxing on the vehicles that compete and all too often participants are forced to withdraw after their trucks reach the breaking point.
“There is a lot of destruction,” he said with a chuckle. “It is difficult to sustain over multiple days.”
Schirado said many competitors bring truck loads of spare parts and tools to the event, including spare engines, transmissions and axels, that they rely upon to repair competition vehicles that break down under the extreme stress of the events. Schirado himself nearly withdrew from the third day of the competition following a head gasket issue.
“We popped the head gasket on the truck on the dyno,” he said. “After the drag race it really showed up. We had to replace the had gasket on the truck Saturday night so we could compete in the sled pull on Sunday.”
He was able to get spare parts at midnight from a local automotive parts supplier and spent the entire night working to complete the repair before the start of competition the next morning. Schirado said the repair work was completed at 6:30 a.m., roughly an hour-and-a-half before he was set to compete.
The truck Schirado uses for the competition is a 1997 Dodge Ram 2500 that he purchased from a local Granby man around 2007. Since then he and others he works have designed, fabricated, rebuilt and replaced nearly every part of the vehicle other than its cab. The truck is something of a labor of love for himself and others at the Schirado’s family business, Granby Truck Shop.
“Everything on it was done at our shop in Hot Sulphur Springs,” he said. “That is one thing we are proud of. I couldn’t do this without the rest of the people at the shop.”
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