NINTH IN­NING BLAST

Hol­ley’s 2018 LS Fest East was a grand slam

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - TEXT & PHO­TOS: Nick Li­cata

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.

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 late­model 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 high­per­for­mance bolt-on parts on it.

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 high­per­for­mance 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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