Earning a win at a national event is a challenge, but most of the time, it’s based on a racer’s performance in one particular class, or activity. An event such as Holley LS Fest, held at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers many types of racing to cover all aspects of LS-powered machines. Since there are so many ways to race at LS Fest, the event staff created a class called the Grand Champion competition. This competition isn’t just about going fast in a straight line, or taming the autocross course—it’s about doing well in every activity at LS Fest. There is no question that the winner of the Grand Champion competition has the best overall vehicle at the event, as the win does not come easy.
Racers in the Grand Champion competition must be able to handle all of the different racing styles at LS Fest, and manage to keep their vehicle together in the process. The Grand Champion competition is tough on parts and it’s tough on the driver, as there is very little down time throughout the LS Fest weekend. It comes down to the cars that can go left, go right and go straight faster than all the others.
First in the list of competitions is autocross racing. Each entry in the Grand Champion competition must complete at least three laps on the autocross course. A course is setup inside the paved oval track at Beech Bend Raceway Park, and timed runs are available for Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the autocross course is redesigned to create the 3S Challenge (speed, stop and steering), which is an exciting competition that includes a short drag race, a quick hairpin turn and a slalom before ending in a stop box. The 3S Challenge is a side-by-side competition, so it’s fun to watch, and offers intense competition for these LS-powered corner carvers. A new part of the Grand Champion competition is called Track X, which is held at the new National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park road course. The racer with the best lap time wins that portion of the competition and is awarded maximum points.
Another part of the Grand Champion competition is drag racing. Any Grand Champion entry must compete in at least one of the drag racing classes. While the top contenders in the Grand Champion competition are not purpose-built drag cars, you’d be surprised at how quick the Pro Touring cars attack the quarter mile drag strip. Many of them are turning 10-second elapsed times at more than 120 miles per hour on hard street radial tires with a minimum treadwear rating of 200.
Each competition is scored on a points system, with a maximum of 25 points going to the winner of each competition. Racers are also awarded bonus points for participating in the Show-N-Shine portion of LS Fest. At the end of the event, all of the points are tallied and the overall winner is crowned the Grand Champion of LS Fest. It’s a huge accomplishment to be the Grand Champion of LS Fest, and it has been awarded to heavy hitters such as Kyle Tucker and Danny Popp in previous years. Who will come out on top in 2015? We’re about to find out!