Despite some major technical and health issues, Social Circle resident Darren Tedder placed third in the DynoMax Power to the Wheels Dyno Tour at the 2007 SEMA Shootout in Las Vegas on Oct. 31.
Tedder won $5,000 in the contest, which measured the amount of horsepower the contestants could squeeze out of their hotrods. Tedder competed in his custom 1971 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda - which was also just honored as one of Hotrod Magazine's top 10 Hotrods of 2008. Tedder finished the event with a score of 1,436 horsepower.
To put that in perspective, a normal 'Hemi 'Cuda, according to Tedder, could only be expected to produce 300 horsepower on the back wheels, where the horsepower is tested.
Just prior to the event, Tedder's chances of competing looked grim. Three days before leaving for Las Vegas, Tedder pushed the 'Cuda too far in a test tune up and blew out several pistons.
"The engine was custom build so the parts were not easy to replace," Tedder said.
With the help of his friend Richard Burdette, he began to disassemble the engine while hoping parts could be found in time. He even had to have replacement pistons custom made out of state.
"That type of job normally takes a month, but we were able to get them built in a day and shipped overnight," Tedder said.
Tedder said he and Burdette spend three full days re-preparing the car for the competition.
We basically stayed awake for three straight days," Tedder said. "Then we had to drive 36 hours to Las Vegas for the competition."
The stress turned out to be too much for Burdette, who had to be taken to the hospital once they reached Las Vegas for a bleeding ulcer.
"He is one tough individual," Tedder said of Burdette. "You couldn't ask for a better friend."
Once he knew Burdette's condition was not serious, Tedder said he was able to enjoy the trip and competition.
"That last night we were there, we cruised up and down the Vegas strip," Tedder said. "And that was a blast. It was the best part of the trip. We had people swarm the car when we stopped at the red lights. There were so many car fans there because of SEMA. We pulled up to Bellagio and hung out with a crowd of people outside the hotel for a long time."
What's next for Tedder? He's already preparing for next year's Power to the Wheels competition.