so as I don't abandon my thread w/o posting the resolution I wanted to add an update.
clark turner recommended I run seafoam through the car as a possible resolution to knock in my upper ranges.
so last night I did as recommended and although I did not get very much smoke...it did come out in two places!
out of my tail pipe as expected but also out of the turbo area.
so it looks like I have an exhaust leak. it was very hard to tell where it was coming from exactly due to my heat shields all blocking the line of sight but I suspect it is the turbo to DP connection.
going to remove all the shields and find the exact source as soon as I can.
odd thing is it doesn't sound like I have an exhaust leak there, or smell like I have an exhaust leak there, but there was def a decent amount of smoke coming out of there.