With the success of the inaugural Holley LS Fest West in 2017, the performance gurus at Holley Performance loaded up their rigs and once again headed out to Las Vegas, bringing along their unique brand of automotive mayhem.
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is home to the event that features the baddest LS-powered rides in the country. Although participants come from all over, a heavy concentration of LS enthusiasts come from the western states to annihilate some rubber, and for those competing in the Off-Road Challenge, well, they’re the ones stirring up dust clouds and spitting rocks.
Word travels fast, and those who attended the first Holley LS extravaganza in the west, spread the word that this LS thing in Las Vegas is pretty damn cool, as the car count increased and the LS-crazed crowd more than doubled in size from the previous year.
The LS Fest West has all the features of the original LS Fest held in Bowling Green, Kentucky, including drag racing, road course, dyno challenge, drift challenge, autocross, 3S challenge, show-n-shine, and the always popular burnout contest, which is appropriately named the Cinco De Mayo Tire De Fry’O (it actually happens on May 4 this year, but you get the idea), with additional attractions including a poker run, off-road challenge, and the Desert Launch, which features some high-flying trucks and buggies airing it out for the fans on the dirt course. Other attractions included a corner of the facility being blocked off for the Hoonigan crew where invitees had to impress the capacity crowd and those viewing the live feed where pretty much anything went, which includes the Hoonigan’s own brand of a burnout exhibition where tires had no chance of survival as the crowd demanded nothing short of tire frying until the bitter end. Watching a fullsize truck take a jump over double-stacked 3-foot ramps in a tightly confined space is too hard to explain. This needs to be seen in person. If that wasn’t enough for the shenanigan file, for those in the mood to demolish a set of tires by doing donuts or just sitting in one spot, Mr. Chow’s Sideshow was there to accommodate your needs.
Those familiar with the event know that the Chevy High Performance High-Noon Shootout takes place on Friday at, you guessed it, noon. This is where the quickest eight autocrossers from the Friday morning session earn their way to compete in this special event within the event.
Up for grabs is a $500 gift certificate good for any Holley product and a cool plaque that entitles the winner to bragging rights for a year, or however long he or she chooses to boast.
The High-Noon Shootout works like this: Each of the quickest eight competitors get three autocross laps (all eight contestants run through the autocross three consecutive times one competitor after the other) and the person with the lowest combined time of all three laps is the winner. Sounds simple enough, but when the pressure is on, mistakes can be made and cones are at risk of being slaughtered. Some will take the conservative approach, while others go all out for the victory, risking a 2-second penalty for hitting a cone. Good times!
This year’s quickest eight from the Friday morning autocross session were Jordan Priestley, Eric Sheely, Rich Willhoff, Carrie Willhoff, Robby Unser, Jake Rozelle, Wes Drelleshak, and Glen Barnhouse. It was a Corvette-heavy group with two Camaros and one LS-powered Porsche.
As is usually the case, the Shootout features very tight competition and this year was no exception. Once the tire smoke faded and the brakes cooled, it was Rich Willhoff in his C6 Corvette coming out on top with a combined three-lap time of 99.988 seconds. Jordan Priestley was a close Second with a 100.995 in his C7 Corvette, and Robby Unser, behind the wheel of his second-gen Camaro, came in Third with a 101.863. Just off the podium, by one thousandth of a second, in Fourth was Carrie Willhoff with a 101.864 (That was ridiculously close).
The rest of the pack looked like this:
Jake Rozelle got Fifth with a 104.730; Wes Drelleshak took Sixth with a 104.736; Eric Sheely finished up with a 107.372, and, Glen Barnhouse DNF’d with technical issues after his first lap.
Congratulations to all those who made the Chevy High Performance Top Eight in the Chevy High Performance High-Noon Shootout at the Holley LS Fest West 2.
With the Holley LS Fest West showing an insane amount of growth in just its second year, we are anxiously looking forward to Holley’s third trip to Vegas for the wildest muscle car event in the west.
As a friendly tip if you plan on making the event next year: bring plenty of water, your “A” game, and a set of tires because Mr. Chow has just the place for you to finish off that slightly worn set of rubber. CHP
Photos: Nick Licata, Taylor Kempkes, Jim Wiltse