For five straight years, the folks at Holley have been feeding the LS engine craze by taking over Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to put on their annual LS Fest—the most exciting event for spectators and crafty hot rodders concealing LS power under the hood of their muscle cars. It’s where you’ll find the fastest, quickest, baddest, and most insane LS-motivated cars in the country. The place is an absolute frenzy of LS goodness.
It’s the time of year (September 5 -7) when drag racers, autocrossers, and drifters converge on the same grounds to compete in their respective disciplines. No, we didn’t find drag cars attempting to break loose on the drift track, nor did we see drifters trying to slide their over-sprung rides in a straight line down Beech Bend’s quarter-mile. But we did notice that drivers from all three variations of competition were showing major respect for each other’s driving abilities. The drag racers were thoroughly entertained by the drifters and vice versa.
Although the event was heavily populated with late-model Chevy muscle, the fact that the LS engine has become the engine swap of choice in recent years, there were plenty of classic Chevys on the grounds for those who crave old-school styled muscle.
Besides the variety of racing action going on during the three-day event, there was also a dyno challenge, an engine swap challenge, countryside cruise, and a show-n-shine. A live band on Saturday evening kept the party going, and there was plenty of great food and beverages to ensure the fun stayed cranked up well into the night.
Competition-wise, the LS Fest Grand Champion not only takes home huge bragging rights, but is awarded $1,000 in cash, a plaque, a jacket, and an invite to compete in the coveted Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational to be held at the Las Vegas Speedway the weekend following the 2014 SEMA Show.
So what does it take to become the LS Fest Grand Champion? Mad driving skills and a kick-ass car, that’s what. Actually, the driver who accumulates the most points in the autocross, 3S Challenge (speed, stop, steering), and drag race nabs top honors. There are also 10 additional points up for grabs by entering the show-n-shine (5 points) and participating in the 70-mile Countryside Cruise (5 points).
The competition was fierce, with this year’s Grand Champion being decided by a single point. It was the battle of the Corvettes, as Josh Leisinger in his C2 beat out 2013 Holley LS Fest Grand Champion Danny Popp in his ’72 Vette. The Corvette domination continued as Third Place was taken by Tyler Powell in his ’63 Corvette.
With the popularity of LS-powered hot rods continuing to grow, the 5th Annual Holley LS Fest saw the previous year’s spectator attendance records fall while the car count for show cars and competitors blew the doors off last year’s event numbers as well.
Keep an eye on lsfest.com for an upcoming announcement regarding the dates for Holley LS Fest 6.
Chevy High Performance High-Noon Shootout
Being a proud sponsor of the LS Fest since its humble beginnings, for the past five years we’ve added our own little “twist” to the autocross competition by creating the Chevy High Performance High-Noon Shootout, which takes place on Friday at … you guessed it: 12:00. This year we handpicked nine cars that were not necessarily the quickest around the track, but cars that reflected a little more of the home-built side of the hobby.
The way the High Noon Shootout worked is each of the nine cars got three runs on the autocross, and the car with the lowest combined time is crowned the High-Noon Shootout champ.
It was cool to watch as the cars varied from a Chevelle wagon to a four-door ’55 Chevy. But this year’s Shootout winner was Billy Utley in his ’72 Nova. Billy’s combined time of 106.059 seconds barely nudged out Eric Earney, who took the second spot in his gorgeous ’67 Camaro with a combined time of 106.874. For is efforts, Billy received a Chevy High Performance winner’s plaque and a $500 gift certificate from Holley.
|Name||Position||Car||Time (in sec.)|
|Billy Utley||First Place||1972 Nova||106.059|
|Eric Earney||Second Place||1967 Camaro||106.874|
|Aaron Oberle||Third Place||1965 Malibu||107.475|
|Greg Cullum||Fourth Place||1969 Camaro||109.689|
|Mike South||Fifth Place||1968 Camaro||118.467|
|Suzy Bauter||Sixth Place||1968 Camaro||119.477|
|Gordie Rutkowski||Seventh Place||1966 Chevelle Wagon||125.101|
|Dan Peterson||Eighth Place||1955 Chevy||126.476|
|Stacy Herman||Ninth Place||1969 Chevelle||177.281|