Six years ago Holley saw the proverbial writing on the engine dyno wall and figured out that LS engines had a nearly fanatical following, one that was only growing. At that time Holley was best known for their carburetors and fuel systems, so they figured the best way to get eyeballs on their LS products was to host an event that celebrates everything about Chevrolet’s line of LS engines. The idea gelled into the Holley LS Fest and every year this festival of tire smoke and horsepower gets bigger and bigger. The three-day event is open to any vehicle motivated by an LS-based engine or even one of GM’s new LT variants.
Hundreds of cars descended on Bowling Green, Kentucky, for this year’s event, and many of the various fast-driving activities were sold out well in advance. Yep, this event is all about objects in motion, and while it does have the obligatory car show, the rest of the LS Fest is about driving hard in search of a faster time. For the laterally motivated, there were not one, but two autocross courses set up. One was at the Beach Bend Raceway and the other was over at the NCM Motorsports Park complex. The autocrosses took place on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday being set aside for the Baer Brakes 3S “speed stop” Challenge. There was also a small section to fun-run on at the NCM Motorsports Park track or for a few bucks you could run the longer track. There was even a drifting demonstration and the loud, but stationary, Dyno Challenge. In addition to all of this our sister title Car Craft sponsored an event where two teams (of two) compete to do an engine swap in the quickest time. The quarter-mile dragstrip was also put to good use with a slew of drag racing classes fighting it out for prize money and bragging rights. Add in a chassis dyno competition and a huge vendor midway and it was sensory overload for the thousands of spectators that showed up for the party.
The Grand Champion (GC) award was the big prize for many in attendance. GC competitors battle for top times in both autocrosses, the 3S Challenge, and the dragstrip. All those results were then tallied and a winner declared. Last year’s winner Danny Popp was ineligible for the GC award this year, but he was on a mission nonetheless as he competed in the Past Grand Champions class. Danny was piloting Todd Rumpke’s white C6 Z06 at the event. You see, Todd lost his battle with cancer shortly before the event and Danny decided to run Todd’s Vette in his memory. We’re sure Todd would be proud at how Danny won both autocross competitions and placed Third in the 3S Challenge. That, combined with a strong drag race time would have had him winning the GC award with a total score of 86 points. But, that honor went to Mike Dusold in his completely insane 1967 Camaro. This car keeps getting faster each year and Mike’s total score of 85 points beat Second place by an astounding 25 points! Coming in second was Bret Voelkel with 60 points, with Al Unser Jr. on his heels with 58 points. At the end of the event, Todd Rumpke was named honorary Grand Champion of the 2016 Holley LS Fest.
The dragstrip action was fierce as well with all sorts of LS-powered cars waging war down the 1320. We especially dug the COPO battle where Phil Giles took top honors. Between all the racing at the various venues and other activities we’re exhausted by Sunday. But one thing is for certain; we’ve already booked our rooms for next year’s event!
Complete Event Results can be found at: