The Holley LS Fest has been happening for years and each September it seems to get bigger and better. It’s a celebration of the LS (and the new, Gen V LT) engines. That means anything powered by Chevrolet’s newest mills can come play in an event geared toward guys that like to flog their cars hard. Yep, although there’s a car show the far larger group of cars are here to drag race, road race, and autocross. There’s even a chassis dyno shootout. Add in a massive vendor midway and there’s a ton to see and do for both the racers and spectators.
We checked with Holley’s Bill Tichenor and he relayed that pre-registration for the drag racing was off the charts; 60 percent better than last year so the staging lanes were packed for the quarter-mile track. Given the huge dragstrip demand, Holley added a Grudge Match category to handle the overflow from the brackets. Likewise, the autocross had gotten so big that they had to have two tracks, one at Beech Bend Raceway and one over at the National Corvette Museum.
The weather for the event was excellent, so that might be why the crowds at this year’s Holley LS Fest were insane. People everywhere were crowding in to catch some of the LS-powered action. The spectators were also treated to a drifting demonstration by LS-powered rides. There was also a power-adder challenge and a chassis dyno competition. Given all of that, there was something for everyone this year.
On Sunday, the LS-fueled mayhem continued roaring at full throttle. The autocross action that consumed Friday and Saturday was taken down and in its place the Super Chevy/Baer Brakes sponsored 3S Challenge was set up. So, what is the 3S Challenge? Well, it’s a little of this, a little of that, and a whole lotta fun. Two cars line up at a tree, like a drag race, and when the light flips green they sprint side by side. At the end the right side turns right and the left turns left into 180 degree turns. After negotiation a quick squiggle the cars make a dash for the timing lights. But, there’s a catch! After triggering the lights they have to come to a complete stop within a rather small coned-off box. Hit a cone and your run is a big fat DNF. So, you have to temper your desire to trip the timing lights faster with an understanding of your car’s braking prowess, or lack thereof. Each car’s best right lane time is averaged with its left lane performance for an overall time. It’s an event that’s fun to watch and much harder than it looks.
A big part of the event is the Grand Champion competition. Here, cars sign up to see who will be top dog when all the times from the dragstrip, both autocrosses, and the 3S Challenge are added up. Nine of the top 10 cars were Corvettes (two of them vintage and the rest a mix of C5, C6 and C7s). At the top of the heap was prior winner Danny Popp in his rather insane track-prepped C5 Z06.