CHILD'S PLAY XI
DIESELDEN’S 11 TH ANNUALS MO KIN’ UP THE VALLEY CHILDREN’ S CHARITY EVENT
Diesel Den’s 11th Annual Smokin’ Up The Valley Children’s Charity Event
G ood events have staying power and when the event is built on a good cause that tends to make it even stronger. The Smokin' Up The Valley event in Sweetwater, Tennessee, raises money for the East Tennessee Children's Hospital charity fund. This year the event, put on by Josh Watson and his family, friends, volunteers and Diesel Den employees, raised $26,400 for the charity that is near and dear to the Watson family. The event has moved around from a few different venues after continuous growth and has enjoyed both beautiful weather as well as damp and rainy weather through the years. But attendees at the 2017 edition, once again held at the I-75 Raceway, enjoyed excellent weather throughout the day and into the night.
Action started around 8:00 a.m. with vehicles taking to the Track Lab Dyno portable chassis dyno in the morning and throughout the day. More than 20 vehicles spun the rollers, with the top mark set by Ryan Jameson and his 2006 Dodge 2500 being the only truck to crest the 800-horsepower mark with a dyno pull of 835 hp. Two other Dodges were hot on his tail though, with Diesel Den’s own Josh Watson taking one of his shop trucks for a spin on the rollers, delivering 799 hp, and Logan Epling and his 1995 Dodge spinning the rollers to the tune of 794 hp even while having troubles and blowing an intercooler boot more than once. The highest powered Duramax truck interestingly came wrapped in a classic Ford body. Eugene Ogle’s 1972 F100 rides on a Duramax chassis and put down 654 hp to the dyno rollers to mix it up in the top 5 with the Cummins-powered Dodge trucks. The highest powered Power Stroke truck was Trent Raper’s 2005 F-250, which came in 10th overall and made just under 500 hp.
In addition to checking out the action on the dyno, the 3,000-plus spectators could also peruse the show-n-shine trucks that were on display. Logan Hardesty took home the award for the Best Dodge while Tanner Massey won Best Ford and Cameron Austin earned the Best GM honors. The surprise of the show-n-shine was Tucker Mcguire’s Duramax-powered Chevy Express adventure van that was given the Best Open award and turned heads everywhere he went. He also blasted down the track in the dirt drags after the show-n-shine awards were presented.
The first dirt drag test-and-tune passes blasted down the track just after 2:00 in the afternoon, allowing drivers to get used to the grippy clay/dirt surface they were racing on. All the drivers seemed to have a great time even once the eliminations started. The vehicles were divided into two basic classes based on the transmission—one for manual transmission vehicles and one for automatic vehicles. Gas and diesel cars and trucks were mixed together in each
group with the dirt and traction being the great equalizer, as well as of course reaction time to the flagman at the starting line. One by one the gassers were eliminated by our diesel-powered brethren, with Hunter Vincent taking the manual class win over Mark Longworth and Adam Doan claiming victory over Eugene Ogle in the automatic transmission class. The dirt drag awards were handed out at around 3:30 and a few grudge races were held on the dirt strip after the awards.
As the grandstands filled to capacity with overflow seating on the hills overlooking the track on each side, as well as tiered parking for spectators wanting to watch the action from the comfort of their cars and trucks on the far side of the track, Sam Swann and his Southern Impact sled team were getting ready to do battle with the trucks. The first hook got under way at around 5:15 in the Street Stock diesel truck class. Unlike other more traditional events this one is for charity, so drivers were able to buy back in to make another hook if they were unhappy with their original and thought they could improve upon it. This was a win for the crowd as they got to see more hooks and for the kids as more money was raised for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital charity fund. In addition to competition
in the Street Stock diesel class there was also a 2.5-inch turbo class, 2.6/3.0-inch smooth bore class, Open/outlaw class and a Street Gas class, as well as a few exhibition hooks thrown in for good measure.
Steve Leonard took the win in the Street Stock diesel truck class with a pull of just over 333 feet, while Thomas Karmical won the 2.5 class with hook of nearly 320 feet. In the 2.6/3.0 class and Open/outlaw class, Casey Rupe and Adam White did some place trading. Rupe took the win and White finished second in the 2.6/3.0 class; they were reversed in the Open/outlaw class, with White pulling out the win while Rupe finished second. Interestingly, Austin White and Jordan Hodge finished in third and fourth respectively in both of those classes as well. During one of the breaks between classes, kids were invited down out of the grandstands to enjoy the highly
anticipated kids pedal tractor races. The final win of the night went to Josh Mcbroom in the Street Gas class.
The last hook of the evening finished just before 9:00 p.m., a perfect time to allow families and their kids to get home and get to bed at a reasonable hour. As in years past, Josh Watson and his Diesel Den crew of friends, family and employees did a terrific job hosting the event and raised a whopping $26,400 for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital while they were at it. The 2018 event is tentatively scheduled for September 29th at the I-75 Raceway (follow the Diesel Den social media for the latest details and information). If you are in the East Tennessee area in late September you should come out for the diesel action, but most of all for the kids. We’ll see you there! UDBG
EVENT Text: Chris Tobin Photography: Chris Tobin, Kyle Tobin & Diesel Den
The I-75 Raceway has a nice concession stand with decent prices, good food and even a seating area to relax and eat. On one hand Logan Epling was happy that his great looking 1995 Dodge made 794 hp on the dyno, but he blew through an intercooler boot in the process. How much power could the truck have delivered without repeated boot problems? Jordan Williamson ran his great looking OBS Ford on the dyno delivering almost 350 horsepower. Crowds are drawn to the dyno throughout the day as truck after truck spins the rollers.
Show-n-sine winners pose with their trucks and trophies. From left to right: Cameron Austin, Tanner Massey, Blake Payton Cooper, Logan Hardesty and Tucker Mcguire. Here is a sampling of the many, many cool items that were available to raffle ticket winners throughout the day. Nice trucks of all vintages lined up in the show-n-shine area. Good old fashioned flag drop racing— what could be more fun? Tucker Mcguire won the show-n-shine then headed down to the dirt to put the Duramax van to a real test.
New trucks got in on the dirt drag fun as well with the Ford taking down the Dodge in this tight battle.
In the manual class final round Hunter Vincent takes the win by a good margin over Mark Longworth.
The second-gen Dodge takes another close win over the third gen, the crowd saw close racing like this throughout the afternoon of dirt drag action.
Adam Doan defeated Eugene Ogle in the automatic class final round.
Paula Boring made a good showing for herself and her GMC, finishing fifth in the Street Stock diesel truck class.
The Diesel Den crew presented a check for $26,400 to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital a few months after the event. In the eleven years of the Smokin’ Up The Valley event the Diesel Den team has raised around $130,000 total for the Children’s Hospital. One of the highlights of the Smokin’ Up The Valley event has always been the kids pedal tractor races where each child gets a turn at the fun. Notice that the girls are having just as much fun as the boys as their friends and families cheer all the kids on.
The owner of this classic Chevy found out the hard way that diesel trucks are built stronger than gassers.
The Hulk tractor made an exhibition pass to the delight of all the young and young-at-heart in the audience.