By: Nick Licata
Coming into the 6th Holley LS Fest, it’s no secret of it’s massive appeal for those running LS engines under the hood of their early- or late-model Chevys (in past events we’ve seen an LS-powered sand buggy, a Suzuki Samurai, and a couple of Mustangs). The huge three-day event takes over Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in early September. The first LS Fest was in 2010 when the motivated gearheads at Holley recognized the LS powerplant rapidly gaining popularity with muscle car builders, so they took a crapshoot at putting the whole thing together with no guarantee that anyone would show up to an event targeted to such a niche but quickly growing market. Needless to say, the inaugural LS Fest was a huge success, and it continues to grow in popularity as record numbers of spectators and participants make their way to the legendary racing facility every year to enjoy the festivities surrounding the greatest LS show on earth.
Besides it’s unique feature of allowing only vehicles armed with LS-based (and now Chevy’s latest LT-1 engines), the fact that competitors can try their hand at quarter-mile drag racing, autocross, and the 3S Challenge all at the same venue sets it apart from any other performance-related auto event in the country. And new for 2015, is the addition of the Track-X competition, which takes place at the brand new road course at the NCM Motorsports Park. The organizers utilized a series of gates and chicanes to highlight driver skill and car balance without pushing the cars to the track’s limits. This is a welcome addition for those competing for the Grand Champion Award, as it offers drivers another element of competition and some legroom to show off of that LS power. There’s also a Countryside Cruise and huge Show-N-Shine.
What makes this event so special is the fact that those competing for the Grand Champion award must use a 200 treadwear or higher rated tires in each event. Attempting to wrangle 600 hp down a drag strip on street tires is much easier said than done, but it sure is fun to watch.
The three-day event also features a Dyno Challenge, Engine Swap Challenge, and the always-exciting Drift Challenge where some of the best drifters in the country get sideways in a door handle-to-door handle tire-shredding smokefest of high-speed action.
Finally on Sunday, the autocross course gets torn down in order to make way for the 3S Challenge (speed, stop, steering). The 3S Challenge is a combination of autocross and speed stop in one event that tests the limits of the car’s suspension and brakes as well as driver talent.
Once all the points are tallied up, the Grand Champion will be crowned and receive a huge trophy as well as an invitation to the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational in Las Vegas following the SEMA show.