News flash: Corvettes are incredibly competent performance vehicles that have the capability to dominate at just about anything. Oh wait, we’re guessing that probably isn’t news to any of you reading this, but that doesn’t make it any less true!
The Holley LS Fest East was a blast yet again in 2018, with all the great action we’re accustomed to. Whether it was on the dragstrip at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, or the autocross and road course down the street at the NCM Motorsports Park, Corvettes were leading the pack. And if you don’t believe us, take a look at the results from the Grand Champion Modern class for yourself. Over the weekend, cars competing in this class made laps down the dragstrip, both autocross courses (one at Beech Bend and one at NCM), and the 3S Challenge. The times in each event were tallied and the results were pretty astounding. The First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh place finishers were all Corvettes, with Rich Willhoff and his 2006 Corvette sitting on top.
As far as we’re concerned, Holley might as well change the name of the 2019 event to “Holley Corvette Fest East.” Then again, that might not go over too well with the plethora of other platforms that also compete with an LS or LT powerplant under their hood. While many Corvette owners thrashed their vehicles on the autocross or dragstrip, a handful parked their pride and joy in the Show-N-Shine section for spectators to gawk at. But truth be told, Corvettes posing as show cars were a minority and that gets no complaint from us because we love seeing these cars be used to their full potential.
Speaking of using cars to their full potential, Holley set up LS Fest so that owners can do just that—and it’s not just autocross and drag racing that was available. A fan favorite was the Dyno Challenge where enthusiasts can have their vehicle strapped down to a mobile chassis dyno to see how much power their car makes. As with every event, there was competition involved and even some prize money for the top finishers. Corvettes excelled here, too, taking home the top three spots in the naturally aspirated (NA) category. Casey Artmayer’s 2008 Corvette cleaned house, taking First place in the NA category and also winning Highest Horsepower Vette by putting down an impressive 602 horsepower to the rear wheels.
Out on the Scoggin-Dickey dragstrip there was, again, no shortage of Corvette victories, starting with Josh Elam and his ’09 Corvette taking home the win in True Street with an average of 8.92 seconds. In this class, cars had to wear DOT-legal tires along with other street-legal safety equipment, then take a 30-minute drive through the countryside directly before making passes down the dragstrip to prove their street-ability. Another class dominated by Corvettes was Late Model Heads-Up where Steven Fereday lay down an unbeatable time of 8.05 seconds at 164 mph. And last but not least, in the Stick-Shift/Banger class, Internet phenomenon Cleetus McFarland made an impressive 8.27 at 175 mph pass in his body-less C5 Corvette named Leroy the Savage. He was bested only by Ray Bulach in his ’99 Camaro who snuck in a 7.98-second pass.
If there’s anywhere Corvettes have the most potential it’s on a road course. With their rigid chassis, powerful engine and lightweight body there aren’t many other platforms that can touch a Corvette. So, as expected, the Road Course Challenge drew out its fair share of Corvettes, too. Just a few miles from Beech Bend Raceway is the National Corvette Museum, which, conveniently, has its own road course that was opened up to the participants over the weekend. As it should be, multiple Corvettes took home a wide range of awards, from Fastest Street Prepared to Fastest Full Race.
Even with a little weather blowing in on Sunday to spoil some of the fun, the 2018 Corvette Fest East—er, we mean 2018 Holley LS Fest East—was as good as it gets! That is, we suspect, until next year. Vette
Photography by Taylor Kempkes, Nick Licata, Steven Rupp