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Chevy Coverage of the 2018 Holley LS Fest East

Holley’s 2018 LS Fest East was a grand slam

Nov 30, 2018
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The octane-fed folks at Holley recently made the nine-year mark for their highly successful LS Fest East held in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and have easily hit another one out of the park. As Holley’s LS Fest East gets greater in the number of events, so grows the spectator and competitor counts as well.

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Young Andy Voelkel took over driving duties of RideTech’s first-gen 48 Hour Camaro and took full advantage of the experience on the Beech Bend and National Corvette Museum autocross courses.

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If you are a fourth-gen Camaro and drag racing fan, you were a happy camper at the LS Fest East, as they were there representing in force.

An example of this is how the PSI Conversions Show-N-Shine had so many entries that the cars overflowed into the adjacent theme park, which was actually kind of cool as it added a little extra flavor to the car show aspect of the event. Signing up to participate for the Grand Champion portion of the LS Fest (autocross, drag racing, 3S challenge bundle) sold out in record time. Yep, just about every vintage and modern Pro Touring-style muscle car owner in the country wants in on this event. Needless to say, the LS Fest brings out the best of the best to show who has the baddest all-around LS-powered performance street car.

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Heavy rain left a massive puddle in the right lane of the Baer Brakes 3S Challenge course on Sunday, but the competition went on as scheduled. It made for slower times and more focused driving, but the byproduct was some really cool photos.

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George Landis gets props for having the oldest car competing in the Grand Champion Vintage class. In his 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline, he finished 16th overall, which is super impressive.

To keep things a little fairer and to tighten up the competition a bit, this year Holley adopted a Vintage class for model year vehicles 1989 and older and a Modern class for muscle cars 1990 and newer. As the event has matured over the years, wily competitors realized that late-model Corvettes were easily more competitive than their tried-and-true vintage muscle cars, so the leader board became heavily lopsided with late-model Vettes populating the top spots in just about every category of the Grand Champion competition. With vintage muscle cars now having their own class, it gave those driving heavier classics a more equal opportunity to win a tall trophy and a stash of cash.

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With a score of 295, 2018 Holley LS Fest West winner Rich Willhoff took top honors in the Modern class for Grand Champion. His 2006 Corvette is all that.

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Justin Nall comes in hot as he crosses the finish line on the NCM autocross course. His 1966 Chevelle did him right as he finished in Eighth Place overall in the Vintage class.

Holley also took care of the muscle truck competitors by offering them a class of their own so they could compete amongst themselves and have the opportunity to take home a trophy as well. Truck builds are becoming more popular than ever, but their overall weight and higher center of gravity puts them at a disadvantage compared to their lower, sleeker muscle car brethren, so it only made sense they play together amongst themselves.

Props go out to the team at Holley for being great hosts and recognizing the need for change and coming up with these additional classes.

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The Brian Tooley Racing Bolt-On Power Challenge attracted a huge crowd on Saturday to witness two teams compete in bringing a junkyard LS engine to life by tearing into the top-end and swapping in high-performance bolt-on parts from top manufacturers in the industry, and having it start and idle for a minimum of 30 seconds. The father and son duo of Eric and Austin Bujnevicie took the win by finishing the task in just 2 hours, 10 minutes and 48 seconds.

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The Hoonigan Burnout Challenge always draws a huge crowd and Gerald Campbell pleased them all in his 1956 Chevy wagon as it covered the Beech Bend Raceway bullring in a massive cloud of green tire smoke.

To take part in the Grand Champion competition, entrants must take on two autocross courses—a fairly tight, technical layout at Beech Bend Raceway and a more opened up course at the nearby National Corvette Museum where drivers were able to cut loose and bang gears for a little more speed. They must also turn in a timeslip from the dragstrip with their quickest elapsed time of the weekend and also take part in Sunday’s 3S Challenge, which requires smooth launches and precise braking to achieve a low elapsed time. Blow through the stop box at the end of the course and your run is disqualified. This is one competition that is way harder than it looks even on a dry course, but being the skies opened up on Sunday morning, the wet, sloppy course took the difficulty factor to another level.

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For the first time at the LS Fest East, Holley adopted a Truck class for the Grand Champion portion of the competition. With trucks becoming more popular these days, it only made sense for these haulers to go head to head in their own class. Congratulations go to Brad Smith in his 1997 GMC Sonoma for killing it and being the first Truck class champion.

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James Otto brought out his awesome 1966 Chevy C10 muscle truck for a weekend of autocrossing and automotive shenanigans. No times were listed, which tells us he was playing in the exhibition class.

This year’s Grand Champion winner in the Vintage class was hardly a surprise as 2016 LS Fest East and 2017 LS Fest West champion Mike DuSold, in his ridiculously fast and wild-looking 1967 Camaro, cleaned house, while 2018 LS Fest West champion Rich Willhoff took his 2006 Corvette to the winner’s circle in the Modern class. In the Truck class, Brad Smith took home the hardware in his 1997 GMC Sonoma.

Although the Grand Champion competition is an event highlight for many at the LS Fest, the drag racing is second to none, and with 11 classes available to run in, it kept the racing competitive and ensured the dragstrip stayed hot all weekend long. Unfortunately, bad weather spoiled Sunday’s final rounds, so purses in most classes were divided according to where the racers stood on the elimination ladder. Still, the action on Friday and Saturday kept drag racing fans up against the fences for two days straight.

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Duke Roddy has the coolest name of all the competitors at the LS Fest East, and as a bonus, he finished Second overall in the Truck class for the 2018 Grand Champion. No doubt he’ll make some adjustments to his 1965 C10 prior to the 2019 event.

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We liked everything about Ron Scott’s 1963 Corvette. The stance, flared fenders, and wheel combo was on point. And the fact that the car ran low 12s on the dragstrip running street tires made it even cooler.

For the second year, the Hoonigan Burnout Challenge took place in the Beech Bend “bullring” where a capacity crowd was on hand to witness the tire-annihilating exhibition. The winner was decided by crowd approval, which was gained by the car that emitted the largest cloud of tire smoke into the sky while performing donuts in a confined area. A blown tire followed by a spark-fest from the wheels ensured the loudest crowd response. After the smoke had finally cleared it was Gerald Campbell in his heavily patina’d four-door 1956 Chevy wagon taking the win.

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Aaron Oberle is an LS Fest regular and gets his 1965 Chevelle to as many events as he can, which is actually quite a few. He finished 29th overall and we’re betting he’s looking to up his game for the 2019 event to the tune of a Top 15 finish.

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Drag racing was cut short as a rainstorm on Sunday meant all final rounds were canceled, but the racing was fierce on Friday and Saturday. This 1967 Nova was laying out wicked burnouts prior to every run.

The Tuning School Dyno Challenge was divided into two classes: Naturally Aspirated and Power Adder. In the N/A class, Casey Artmayer took top honors with a pull of 602 horsepower in his 2008 Corvette, while Anthony Peck, in his 1972 Vega, busted out the top number with a 1,206-horsepower pull in the Power Adder class.

The Lucas Oil Drift Challenge is another LS Fest crowd favorite that takes place in the bullring where the top drivers in the country drift their LS-powered machines just inches apart from one another, creating some of the most exciting side-by-side, tire shredding action of the event. In the end, it was first-time LS Fest participant Taylor Hull taking the win in his supercharged Cadillac ATS.

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Cones were in harm’s way at the NCM autocross course where the 180-degree sweeper took a lot of competitors by surprise, including Clay Shearer in his C7 Corvette, who sent this orange cone to the “slightly damaged bin.”

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With the popularity of LS engine swaps today, even early 1970s Novas aren’t exempt from the practice. The 396 badge over the side marker is merely a diversion tactic.

For the total gearheads in attendance, there was the Brian Tooley Racing Bolt-On Power Challenge where two teams started out with a junkyard 6.0L truck engine “broken in” with more than 100,000 miles on it, had to tear it apart, and rebuild the top-end with high-performance parts supplied by top aftermarket companies in the industry. The first team to fire up the engine and have it idle for a minimum of 30 seconds was deemed the winner. After 2 hours, 10 minutes and 48 seconds, it was the father and son team of Eric and Austin Bujnevicie who started their engine first. For their efforts, they took home the engine and all of the high-performance bolt-on parts on it.

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Fifth- and sixth-gen Camaros on the prowl in the infamous Beech Bend staging lanes.

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With the price of two-door Tri-Fives going through the roof, some people are taking advantage of the cost advantage of building a four-door G-machine. With Dan Peterson’s passenger white knuckling the vent window for extra stability, we’d say his ’55 “more door” is gripping pretty good on the Beech Bend autocross.

For those looking for their next performance upgrade, the massive manufacturers midway featured two long rows populated with the leading aftermarket companies in the industry offering the best high-performance engines and engine components to help get you to that next horsepower goal. Also on hand were some of the best and most respected suspension companies showing off their latest wares.

So, with Holley delivering one more big hit with their ninth installment of the LS Fest East, we are anxiously awaiting to see what Holley has in mind for the tenth round of the greatest LS-powered show on earth. Whatever the plan, we already have early September 2019 set aside for the Holley LS Fest East Number 10.

Chevy High Performance High Noon Shootout
At every LS Fest, we here at Chevy High Performance put on the High Noon Shootout. This is basically an event within the event that takes place on Friday at noon. It works like this. We take the eight quickest Vintage class cars from the Friday morning Beech Bend autocross session and put them up against each other for a three-lap shootout. The one with the lowest combined lap time is the winner of a cool plaque from Chevy High Performance and a $500 Holley gift certificate. Yearlong bragging rights also come with the win, which, in most cases, can be worth more than the monetary prize.

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Here is your Chevy High Performance High Noon Shootout class of 2018. From near to far: Mike DuSold, JB Granger, Chris Smith, Brian Finch, Allan Schoonmaker, Bryan Johnson, Darren Dternes, and Robby Unser.

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Bryan Johnson took over driving chores in the Detroit Speed third-gen Camaro and managed a very respectable Eighth. The car is a fresh build, and we know with a little more tuning, it will be one to contend with very soon.

The 2018 Chevy High Performance High-Noon Shootout competitors were Mike DuSold, Robby Unser, Brian Finch, Darren Dternes, Chris Smith, Allan Schoonmaker, JB Granger, and Bryan Johnson. Due to a minor timekeeping error, this year we actually had nine cars entered in the competition, but the fact that Robby Unser was driving two cars gave us eight drivers. Confusing? Yes, but we got it figured out. The course was a bit tricky this year as a rain shower the previous night left a water puddle at one of the key corners so drivers had the option of going around it to keep their tires dry or take the corner tight and hit the following turn with wet tires. There was no substantiating proof as to which route was quicker, but there’s no doubt the water hazard made for more dramatic photos.

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Robby Unser did double duty driving the 1970 Speedway Camaro and their 1965 Nova during the CHP Shootout. He took the Camaro to a Second Place finish with a 110.470, and for that he gets nothing, as this is a winner-take-all competition.

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Robby Unser took Speedway Motors’ 1965 Chevy II to a Third Place finish in the CHP Shootout, but on Saturday we caught Ken Thwaits behind the wheel giving it some three-wheel business at the NCM autocross course.

Number One qualifier Mike DuSold went in as the favorite and didn’t disappoint as he easily came out on top in his high-tech, twin-turbo 1967 Camaro with a three-lap combined time of 106.207 seconds. Robby Unser took Second Place in the Speedway Motors 1970 Camaro with a 110.470, and he managed a 111.493 in the Speedway Motors 1965 Nova, which was good enough for Third Place. CHP

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Brian Finch is an LS Fest East veteran and 2012 Grand Champion. His 1971 Camaro is well known as one of the baddest second-gens in the country and he proved so by taking the Fourth spot in the High Noon Shootout. He also took Second Place in the Grand Champion portion of the competition.

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JB Granger’s 1966 Corvair is one of the more unique LS-powered muscle cars you’ll run into, and it’s a proven performer as it finished in Ninth Place in the Shootout.

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Four of the top nine cars in the Shootout were second-gen Camaros, and Darren Dternes’s sinister-looking Rocket Wheels-sponsored ’73 surprised a few guys by taking the Fifth spot in the CHP Shootout.

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The RideTech 1970 Camaro is a beautiful piece of machinery and Chris Smith got the call to wheel it for the weekend. He managed a Seventh Place finish for the Grand Champion and took the Sixth spot in the Shootout.

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Allan Schoonmaker is an LS Fest regular, but this is his first appearance in the High Noon Shootout. A Seventh Place finish ain’t too shabby for the first-timer.

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Doing his best Captain Morgan pose, the lanky Mike DuSold has been a force to be reckoned with at every LS Fest over the past few years, and 2018 was his year as he took the CHP Shootout win (East and West), the Top Five Shootout trophy, and the Vintage class Grand Champion award.

2018 Holley LS Fest East Chevy High Performance High Noon Shootout Results   
FirstMike DuSold1967 Camaro106.207
SecondRobby Unser1970 Camaro110.47
ThirdRobby Unser1965 Nova111.493
FourthBrian Finch1971 Camaro111.518
FifthDarren Dternes1973 Camaro111.726
SixthChris Smith1970 Camaro112
SeventhAllan Schoonmaker1964 Chevelle113.184
EighthBryan Johnson1987 Camaro114.17
NinthJB Granger1966 Corvair114.574

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