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.

First thing Sunday morning, we had a driver's meeting to make sure everybody was on the same page before we set them loose on the track. Each contestant got to blast three runs down the quarter in an attempt to click off the lowest time possible. Some trucks were slow and some were fast, but everyone was having a good time and that's what it's all about.

Once all of the timeslips were handed in, we corralled the trucks in one area and started judging. Mike Finnegan paired with Lou Santiago, and Calin paired up with Mike Cotten. We grabbed a couple of competent builders just so we had another professional set of eyes to glance over the trucks. After a few hours, we had looked at every truck and it was time to compile all of the information and figure out who won the trophy.

The Challenge will be back again next year, but we're changing the rules just a bit so keep an eye on the magazine. Once we get it all worked out, we'll let you know. For now, please enjoy the 2008 Sport Truck Challenge.

THE PRIZES
1st: $500, Drop 'Em Wear? jacket, Sikness DVD, and goodie bag*
2nd: $250, Drop 'Em Wear? clock, Sikness DVD, and goodie bag*
3rd: $100, Drop 'Em Wear? shirt, Sikness DVD, and goodie bag*
4th: Drop 'Em Wear? shirt and goodie bag*

The goodie bag was filled with posters, a Big Vic hat, a Havoc DVD, and some Havoc event Shirts.

Gas vs. Diesel
For this part of the event, we grabbed the fastest gas truck still running (Todd Sherwood's) and the fastest diesel (Barry Phillippi's) and set them on the starting line. Instead of going heads up, we decided to have them bracket race. We took each truck's fastest e.t. and used that as the dial-in. Todd got a 0.89-second head start because his dial-in was 12.82 compared to Barry's 11.93. The head start didn't really matter because Todd's foot got a bit heavy at the start and he smoked the tires a bit. Barry's diesel hooked right up so he reeled in Todd in the first 60 feet. Barry kept his lead all the way down the 1320 and won himself an ultra-bitchin NOS N2O controller.

THE RESULTS
PLACE NAME VEHICLE BEST E.T. MPH
1 William Lerner ’96 Chevy S-10 11.73 120.97
2 Todd Sherwood ’93 Chevy 454 SS 12.82 111.94
3 Barry Phillippi ’03 Dodge 2500 11.93 114.51
4 Josh Clark ’04 Dodge Dakota 16.38 84.59
5 Scott Hamlin ’08 Colorado SS 13.39 110.3
6 Ty Maitland ’07 Dodge Ram 3500 12.42 109.49
7 Tyler Upton ’69 Chevy C10 15.69 85.71
8 Bryan Elms ’97 GMC Sonoma
9 Kelly Hawthorne ’57 Chevy truck 15.2 90.91
10 Scott Walker ’04 Ford F-250 14.98 89.11
11 Andy Cook ’00 Chevy Silverado 18.81 77.32
12 Phil Baker ’03 GMC 2500 13.49 98.69
13 Jasper Smith ’03 Chevy S-10 Xtreme 16.54 81.82
14 Paul Collins ’97 Dodge Ram 2500 14.95 88.24
15 Brian Rock '04 Chevy Z71 15.81 87.38
16 Howard Claypool '05 Chevy 2500HD 15.29 88.93
17 Joel Greathouse '05 GMC 13.71 99.34
18 Danny Rock '06 Trailblazer SS 14.69 94.14
19 Kevin Meredith '08 Dodge 3500 15.41 87.55
20 Jerry Blair '04 Nissan Titan 16.03 87.72
21 Lucas '04 Nissan Titan 15.45 89.29
22 Wes Colter '06 Chevy Silverado
23 James Parker '97 Chevy 16.77 80.36
24 Eric Rogers '01 Dodge Dakota 16.63 81.52
25 Scott Skattum '01 Chevy S-10 Xtreme 17.37 82.84
26 Dan Holland '01 Dodge Ram 2500 17.73 75.88
27 Caroline Jones '02 Ford F-250 20.2 67.97
28 Greg Hunt '09 Ford F-350 S-Duty 16.23 80.36
29 Tony Phelps '72 Chevy C10
30 Richard Hayes '07 Dodge Ram
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