It was a hot few days in the Midwest, but the smell of burnt rubber and the high-rpm screams coming out of the tailpipes made it bearable. The 2nd Annual Sport Truck Challenge was held in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at Beech Bend Park during the Havoc show. There were 28 people who thought their truck was custom enough to impress the judges and fast enough to outrun the other competitors.

The trucks entered in the Challenge were judged on the entire package: Exterior, interior, audio system, engine, engine compartment, and bed area were all open for scrutiny. The judges looked at the cleanliness, customization, and execution of each modification, awarding up to 60 points. Once the judging portion was complete, each contestant strapped into his truck and blasted the quarter-mile. How fast the truck went dictated how many points it received, with a max of 40 points if it could break into the 10s. We put more emphasis on the custom side because we didn't want a full-out drag truck with a crappy paint job and no stereo to win. Going fast is important, but so is having a truck that is a bit more real-world.

We saw a few familiar faces this year like last year's winner and reigning champion, Todd Sherwood and his '93 454 SS Chevy. Todd came this year with a set of new Nitto drag radials, hoping to cure the traction problems the 477ci big-block was creating. The TS Performance camp was out in full force with a handful of diesel trucks vying for the top spot. Caroline Jones, the only female to compete, was back with a fancy new paintjob. During the award ceremony last year, the wind picked up an easy-up tent and threw it against her big lifted Ford. The insurance money helped fund the cool color-flop graphics she had done.

Mr. Kelly Hawthorne brought his sweet blue '57 with whitewalls again only to lose half of a whitewall at the top of the track. We guess those things aren't speed-rated. He went home and swapped on a set of polished Americans and was back for more. Josh Clark, our Third Place winner last year, was back with his 'bagged Dakota sporting a new set of flames and all kinds of chrome under the hood.

There were some new faces in the crowd as well like Scott Hamlin and his '08 Colorado SS, which looked showroom fresh. When Scott hit the key, we knew something was a little different about his Colorado. It was running a built 6.0L LS motor backed by a T6 six-speed transplanted so clean you'd think the factory built it.

William Lerner was also a first-timer at the Challenge, but he sure was ready with his '96 S-10-the badass orange truck on our cover. Last year Mike Finnegan wrote, "If a drag truck was going to come to the track and win everything, then it better show up with a slick paintjob and bangin' audio system to go along with the rollcage, racing slicks, and coilover shocks that would give it an edge against the pure show trucks."

Talk about a prediction. Sounds like William was listening.