2017 Holley LS Fest: Day One Of The Biggest LS Event Of All Time

Another year has come and gone and one of our favorite events of the year is upon us yet again. Holley LS Fest kicked thing off strong today opening the gates at 8 a.m. this morning to hundreds of LS fans—some of which have travelled hundreds of miles just to be here, us included.

As you may or may not be aware of, Holley offers a veritable smorgasbord of events throughout the weekend including autocross, drag racing, track cross, HPDE, dyno shootout, and even drifting. Needless to say, it is a lot to take in. But that’s where we come in. We’ve got your daily round up of all the festivities starting here on day one and wrapping up this Sunday when everything wraps up. Our team has gone to get lengths to bring you all of the most recent coverage and we do it gladly for our fans who may have wanted to attend but simply couldn’t.

So, without further ado, lets get down to the day’s activities.


There were a lot of new cars and fresh faces over at the autocross course but some familiar ones as well. And those familiar faces were once again leading the pack. Mike DuSold lead the charge in his twin-turbo first-gen Camaro—a build that we’ve seen him have success in repeatedly including last year and LS Fest West. He was laying down sub-32 second lap times and that separated him from all but a few in the field.

DuSold's first-gen is always a hard charger and in the hunt for not only first place on the autocross course, but track X and Grand Champion as well. However, he typically has to beat out Danny Popp for top bragging rights. Popp came out on top at the Chevy High Performance High Noon Shootout.

Hot on his heals was perennial contender Danny Popp who was consistently laying down sub-32 second passes as well. They traded back and forth throughout the day which ultimately culminated in the Chevy High Performance High Noon Shootout. The shootout takes the eight fastest autocross competitors of the day and pits them against one another for the first place reward of a $500 Holley gift certificate–there are no rewards for second place.

And while we were looking forward to a showdown between Popp and DuSold, our hopes were dashed when we learned that DuSold’s car was experiencing a problem with one of its oxygen sensors and thus couldn’t make the shootout. DuSold was disappointed and even remarked to Chevy High Performance that his sole purpose for coming to LS Fest was to beat Popp. He then added that beating him may have to wait until next year, or at least until LS Fest West if Popp attends.

From left to right: Rich Wilhoff, Tyler Powell, and Ryan Matthews.

Rounding out the fastest in autocross for the day was Rich Wilhoff in his C6 Corvette, Sam Strano—also in a C6 Corvette, Tyler Powell in a gorgeous C2 Corvette, Gary Walsh in a C5 Corvette, and Ryan Matthews in his Detroit Speed C3 Corvette— are you seeing a trend here? Obviously Corvettes have been dominating the event, but that doesn’t mean nothing else grabbed our attention.

Even though they may have not been the fastest at the course, these three still caught our eye as they vied for top rights.

One of our favorites of the event was an LS-swapped Syclone that was pushing its S10-derived chassis to the limit. Some may consider it sacrilege, but we dig it. The Detroit Speed-built IROC was also on hand to tickle our cerebellums with its gorgeous exhaust note. Piloted by Kyle Tucker, the DSE third-gen held its own and we’re sure after the kinks are worked out, we’ll be seeing it in the top 10. 

All day long, lap after lap was made at NCM Motorsports Park just up the road. The Forgeline Road Course Challenge and American Powertrain Track X both put driving skills to the test.

Drag Racing

Drag racing kicked off at LS Fest with an open test and tune which ran the better part of the day. At 3 p.m. qualifying for all classes commenced and ran late into the evening. During test and tune, Sketchy ‘Vert made a few passes trying to dial in his new twin-turbo Huron Speed setup. Living up to its name, the car was all over the track though it eventually made it across the finish line in one piece.

Cadillac Shawn in his 1978 Cadillac Coupe DeVille was one of our favorites of the day. And while you’d be forgiven for thinking and LS-swapped ’78 Caddy might be a novelty act, this car was no joke. During test and tune, the car laid down an 8.88 at 150 mph—astonishing us and just about every onlooker.

The guys from Lsxperts were also making test hits with their half-mile record-setting C5. The car went 8.377 at 133 mph during test and tune but eventually broke an input shaft and was taken back to the pits. The team actually got the car put back together and it made a return during qualifying, though it didn’t make a pass. We’re not sure if the car is down for the count or if they are saving the car for the weekend, but tomorrow will tell.

Grudge Test N Tune was a great place to see some wicked fast Corvettes, Trailblazers, and even an RX7 that didn't quite fit into other classes. The turbo RX7 went 7s after hitting the 'chute at the 1/8-mile.

Lingenfelter COPO Battle On The Green drew out some NHRA veterans such as Daren Poole-Adams and Al Corda, who led the field in reaction time with a .019 and .023 respectively. Though qualifying is set by reaction time, eliminations are done by dial-in. We’ll see tomorrow afternoon whether their positions hold against Emily Volkman, Brian Massingill and the rest of the nine-car class. Uncle Robin and Glenn Pushis are piloting the two sixth-gens of the group, and Brian Palcisko clicked off the highest MPH so far (155 mph).

With Pushis competing in the COPO class, it was up to Jesse Wilson to lead Scoggin-Dickey Chevrolet Performance Stock, running 10.099 at 130.57 mph in his fifth-gen. Kevin Lumsden is over a tenth behind him, as his ’99 Camaro is a few ticks off his normal pace qualifying 10.22 at 129.9 mph. Haley Rounsavall was on track in her fifth-gen but not listed on the qualifying sheet. We’ll do some digging to find out if this is rectified tomorrow. She’s be running closely to Wilson and Lumsden all year.

CP Stock takes HP out of the equation by requiring a sealed DR525 crate engine. This class is all about chassis tuning and driving.

Wiseco Real Street is an eleven-car field, with limited power adders of all forms and even 1-2 all motor cars running the 1/8-mile. Jessie Coulter once again leads qualifying on his home track, with a 4.675 at 151.78 mph in the record-setting, single turbo ’91 Camaro. Nicholas McGrath in the turbo Fox-body is less than a tenth behind him (4.75) and owns the highest MPH (151.94). Fran Schatz is not out of it by any stretch, cracking the top three with his ProCharged C6. At 145 mph he appears to be down a few ponies, but is pretty quick out of the hole as indicated by the 4.88 e.t. Bill Trovato and Ron Belcher’s nitrous combos trail him, as does Adam Preston who is dusting off RPM’s turbo fifth-gen. Speaking of RPM, Camren Massengale owns the fastest sixty-foot (1.11) but hasn’t put a full pass together yet. Look for the nitrous C5 to crack the top five tomorrow.

Today was a tough day for Nitro-Gear Drag Radial cars. Anthony Manna’s turbo Camaro clicked off a 5.3 with tire shake, after breaking a control arm bolt on the previous pass. In the last pass on the evening, he ran against John Schaeffer’s ProCharged Camaro. Schaeffer went 5.06 at 144 mph as he continues to dial in the Camaro after switching from nitrous. Andy Essary in the twin turbo Trans Am and Paul Falcon in the turbo Formula also look to give these guys a run for their money. It’s anyone’s race at this point.


Things kicked of on the drifting front tonight as well as open drift practice commenced. As with much of the event, there were a lot of fresh faces and new cars duking it out over on the converted autocross course. The was even an LS-swapped S197 Mustang throwing it down on the course.

While this was just practice, it doesn’t make it any less fun to watch. Though drifting may not be our favorite form of motorsport, we do have to admit that the amount of skill and thrill of watching the talented drivers fling their cars sideways at high speeds. Ad that to the fact that we managed to snap some awesome shots of the contestants as the sun went down and you could say that drifting is definitely climbing our list of acceptable motorsports.

Tomorrow we will see each of the drivers do battle as the drifting competition moves into eliminations. Stay tuned as we bring you the coverage—we can all appreciate LS-powered car sliding sideways making smoke right?

Show N’ Shine

The show n’ shine was already bigger than previous years on Friday and we expect it to be even larger tomorrow. Everything you can image was on hand, and even some things you can’t. Super Lite Cars once again brought out one of their Superlite SL-Cs packing a mid-rear mounted LS engine—though this time it was red as opposed to last year’s light blue model.

This mid-engined LS-powered supercar from Superlite was a show stopper.

Jack Warren also surprised us with take on a 1969 Camaro that is actually a 2002 F-body if you were to lift its skirt. We’re usually not into these kind of retro throw backs but this particular car is so well executed it actually took us several looks to figure out exactly what the difference between it and an actual first-gen was. The interior is mostly fourth-gen though it has been given first-gen touches. Stay tuned for a full feature on the car in the coming months.

If it weren’t for the doors and sloped A pillars, this fourth-gen F-body would easily pass for a first-gen.

Here late-model mixes freely with resto-mods, and there were even a few Fords that had been stuffed with a decent motor. A 1965 Mustang was even spotted running around with GM’s latest motivation—much to the chagrin of both camps.

Manufacture Midway

Over at the manufacturer’s midway, Cleetus McFarland was on hand at the 1320video booth signing autographs, taking pictures, and showing off Leroy. We’re just happy to see that he and Leroy are out of the path of Hurricane Irma—as they both hail from the Sunshine state.

Cleetus drew quite a crowd at the manufacturer midway. Leroy even ran down the track later in the night, though it only mustered a low-10 second pass. The car definitely has more in it and we hear the wrinkles are still being ironed out.

Some of our favorite manufacturers were there as well—aside from Holley—pedaling everything from huge turbos over at the Precision Turbo booth to full engines over at Texas Speed & Performance. Lingenfelter was showing off their newest products while the guys over at Prestone brought out one the Ring Brother’s LS creations—their now famous De Tomoso Pantera .

The Ring Brother's De Tomaso Pantera is a work of art and a huge draw at LS Fest.

Day 2

Stay tuned as we bring you coverage from day 2 of LS Fest. Tomorrow the action gets serious as autocross, drag racing, the LSX Magazine dyno shootout, and drifting move to eliminations. Check out our gallery for more awesome picks and keep it right here.

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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