It's been a long time coming, but at long last LS motors are finally getting their due thanks to GM Performance Parts and the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA). The First Annual LSX Shootout presented by GM High-Tech Performance marks the first and only national gathering of its kind for Gen III/IV enthusiasts, which has proven to be the hottest and fastest growing market in the industry. GMPP was all too willing to shell out big cash and prizes to make sure this event would succeed, and the NMCA allowed the LSX Shootout to take place alongside its World Finals at Memphis from October 11 to 14, and kicked in some great prizes as well. Thousands of dollars of cash were up for grabs in the True Street, Drag Radial, All Motor, and Showdown (index) racing classes, as well as plaques, jackets, and even two LS7 crate engines and two LSX Bow Tie blocks. The Dyno Challenge was yet another way to make a quick grand by simply strapping your LS-powered machine to the onsite chassis dyno.
But the LSX Shootout extended beyond Memphis' city limits: the event kicked off in the wee hours of Thursday morning, October 11, with two road tours simultaneously departing from Joliet, Illinois, and Dallas, Texas, leading to the Plantation Oaks (host) hotel in Memphis. The two caravans of LSXers were treated to coffee, donuts, and a scenic drive through the South and Midwest before meeting up for dinner. Even a rogue, informal Eastern tour met up with the group at the Plantation Oaks as beer, BBQ, and good times were had by all.
Meanwhile the early birds who had already set up shop at Memphis Motorsports Park spent 6 to 9 p.m. testing and tuning their combos in preparation for the first round of qualifying on Friday at 3 p.m. Participants also had the ability to test and tune their hot rod on Friday, when the temp was at 80. Those who couldn't get out of work any sooner, still had all of Saturday for qualifying rounds before beginning eliminations. In the mean time, the car show had begun heating up and the manufacturers midway was jam-packed with new products and friendly staff with answers to LS questions. Comp Cams made the short trip across town to show off its products and even hosted an SBC engine building competition open to anyone with enough guts. Word is a few dark horses surprised the confident and capable School of Automotive Machinists students, but we won't hold that against them.
On Saturday the crowd grew monumentally by the evening's final qualifying round for all the LSX racing classes, including the top dog Drag Radial class. Many were anxious to see if the Ohio Boys' and Paul Major's turbo cars were going to bring the pain, and were scoping out Cal Hartline's first few shakedown passes in his newly LS1-powered GN. And would Tom Kempf rebound from the vicious crash he suffered the week of the event? The crest of Saturday evening carried the excitement over to Sunday during eliminations-and to the final rounds taking place late Sunday night with a storybook finish. When all was said and done, thousands gathered throughout the weekend to easily make it the most highly attended NMCA event in years and the biggest LSX event to date, with 130 racers and another 20-plus in the car show. The LSX Shootout was a rousing success, and we look forward to having an even bigger turnout next year.