2018 Holley LS Fest West: The Closing Ceremonies

And just like that, one of our favorite events of the year has come to a close. Holley’s LS Fest West is, and will continue to be, one of the best LS-centric events available to those of us on the West Coast. Before this, most of us had to head back east to pay a visit to some LS-specific events. Luckily for us, we are also headed to LS Fest Bowling Green, so it was hard to be too sad, but with all the amazing action that went down this last weekend, it definitely wasn’t easy to see it all come to a close.

To console ourselves, we thought we’d bring you the final’s day coverage, share with you some of our favorite moments, and take a look at what might be coming next year.

The Baer 3S Challenge

Every year, once the dust has settled at the autocross course, LS Fest West (and LS Fest proper) give way to the Baer 3S Challenge, one of our favorite events of the weekend. In case you haven’t seen our previous coverage of the event, the challenge differs from autocross in the fact that two cars compete side by side in two different lanes. Each car starts from a dead stop, navigates some carefully placed cones, hangs a 180 at the end of the first section, navigates through another section of cones, and then has to come to a halt inside a predesignated “stop box.”

The reason it’s so exciting is that it combines almost every facet of piloting a vehicle. You have to launch the car and power it down the straight until you get to the cones. Then you have to weave and dance your way through the cones, and when you’re done with that, you have to bring the car to a stop right on the money. It is the ultimate test of all the car’s systems, not to mention the pilot’s nerves.

Many of the vehicles from the autocross competition, including Jordan Priestly of JDP Motorsports driving a C7 Z06 named Bernice, Sean Thomas behind the wheel of an LS-swapped Porsche 914, and John Maddox wheeling his C6 Z06, were on hand to try their luck at the challenge.

The competition took the better part of the day but eventually gave way to the drifting competition.

Drifting

While we missed much of the drifting competition, it was a large draw and many of the day’s show-goers stopped to watch the action. What did eventually catch our eye, as we were out shooting features for the magazine, was an unfortunate drifter that experienced a lot of understeer and piled up his S13 240SX. The driver was fine physically, but most of us know the mental toll wrecking your project car can take. 

We never like to see these kinds of accidents at these events and hope he gets the car put back together—well, if it’s salvageable at least. Drifting is a hard life for any car but this is obviously a bit rougher than usual.

Drag Racing

Over at the drag strip, the finals for all classes went down. Travis Condos easily walked away with the LS Truck category win after he put a twin-turbo Chevrolet SSR on the trailer with his budget-built Silverado short bed. Travis says that the truck is cobbled together with a lot of Chinese parts but the truck ran strong all weekend. Congratulations to Travis for taking home the W and the Holley $500 parts voucher. Maybe now he can put something more American on it now.

In Late Model heads up, a white C6 managed to best a COPO for the overall win. Clipping the Camaro by just a tenth and a half. In Rumble Index, a familiar favorite of ours, Brenda Cox in her bright yellow Pontiac GTO, managed to best Julio Villanova in his fourth-gen Trans Am. Villanova ended up breaking out trying to run Brenda down, which was nearly impossible as she laid down a 12.25-second pass on a 12.25 dial. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Magnuson was also on hand making hits in their now iconic sixth-gen sporting a TVS 2650 peeking through the hood. The car was running low 9s all weekend and is easily capable of an 8-second pass. Also, of note, was a build based on a Ford Fairmont. We know the car was inspired by the guys over at Sloppy Mechanics and were surprised to see it. However, we were even more surprised when the car went consistent 9s throughout the weekend—especially when you consider the DA was between 4,000-4,5000 feet the whole time. Knowing the cobbled together conglomeration of parts that sits under the hood just make its capabilities all the more impressive.

Until Bowling Green

We had a blast all weekend and got to meet a lot of you in the process. It definitely makes it worth it when we hear how much people liked the pictures we took of their car or even just enjoy reading the magazine. Hopefully, if you didn’t make it this year, you’ll join us for 2019. But until then, we still have coverage from Holley LS Fest Bowling Green coming your way in September, so keep an eye out for that.

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About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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