It’s pretty amazing when you stop and consider the impact GM’s LS engine platform has had on our hobby. Introduced in 1997, the long-running LS engine family has transformed how we power our favorite Chevys. Holley saw this trend a long time ago and started running the LS Fest in Bowling Green, Kentucky, every September. That grew so large that Holley decided to expand westward and see if the Left Coast people were down for a similar deal. And with that they launched the LS Fest West last year at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The event, like the one in Bowling Green, is three days of everything you could possibly want. Autocross and drag racing? Yeah, of course. But there are other events you wouldn’t expect, like LS-powered drifters, LS-powered high-flying off road rigs. Want to do crazy donuts and burnouts? Yep, there’s a spot for you at Mr. Chows Sideshow. Want to do it even crazier and maybe end up on TV? Well, Hoonigan was on hand and giving out free tires to those that could satiate the huge crowds. Curious what sort of power your car puts to the tires? Well, you’re in luck since there’s a chassis dyno on hand. On May 5 they even held a Cinco De Mayo Tire De Fry’O burnout contest. Yeah, tire companies love this event. On the slightly more sedate side there was a ton of vendors on hand along with a judged show and shine. The one aspect that tied all these events together was all the rides had to be LS (or the newer LT platform) powered. If you couldn’t find something at this event to flip your switches and get you worked up then you should probably find a new pastime; stamps maybe?
One of the bigger events was the FM3 (the fine people that bring us the Optima Series) organized Grand Championship competition. This combined autocross, drag racing, road course, and the Baer Brakes sponsored 3S Challenge, into one huge three-day competition for an equally huge trophy and considerable bragging rights. This year the big trophy went to Rich Willhoff and his track-prepped ’06 Corvette Z06. Newer rides packed with the latest tech, such as ABS, certainly held an advantage, but the vintage iron put up one hell of a fight, with several clawing their way into the Top 10.
All in all it was a great weekend of tire smoke and perfect weather. Many of us here also drove our rides to the event with Super Chevy’s ’71 Chevelle wagon and Chevy High Performance’s orange second-gen Camaro getting beat on all weekend and then trekking back home across the desert. So, if you’re not busy next May, and happened to be anywhere near Vegas then we highly recommend you put this on your to-do list. For all of the event results be sure to check out www.lsfest.com/west.
Photos the Author and Taylor Kempkes