Cole Penny’s immaculate first-gen Camaro was a show stopper. Stay tuned for a full feature on this beautiful animal.
Another day of LS Fest West has come and gone and though we didn’t think it was possible, it was even better than the first. The day was packed full of events from drag racing to drifting to the beloved off-road Huckfest (more on that later). The weather even decided to give everyone a little bit of a reprieve as temperatures hovered in the high 80s–not bad for Vegas in early-May. We’re set to see some precipitation tonight and tomorrow’s temperature are set to be a cool 65. If the rain decides to go away, we will definitely see the fastest time we’ve seen all weekend at the drag strip.
Yes, it was a day so jam packed with events that we had a hard time even keeping up with it all, but we did out damnedest to bring you the best same-day coverage available. So lets get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
Show N’ Shine
The Show N’ Shine saw even more cars show up–which we expected. There was some gorgeous metal on display and almost every demographic was represented. Running the gamut from muscle cars the General originally fitted the beloved LS engine with in the first place to cars and trucks that just needed a shot in the arm. We definitely had some favorites that you can check out below. And for more shiny metal, check out the gallery.
Some of the most impressive models on display were well-executed restomods but modern muscle was well represented as well. Several 800-1,000 rwhp F-bodies and GTOs were on display but our favorite of the day was Saul Sadowsky’s 1,500 rwhp, twin turbo, CTS-V. We won’t get into all of the details just yet–stay tuned for a full feature on the car–but this Late Model Engines-powered ride is hands down one of the nastiest street-driven Caddies we have ever seen. It’s massive twin scroll Borg-Warner turbo chargers are what really caught our eye, but the entire car is stunning for sure.
Take a peek at the rest of the amazing cars that showed up to the first annual LS Fest West. If you didn’t make it out this year, put it on your calendar as LS Fest West heads back to Las Vegas for round two in 2018.
Over on the road course things were really heating up. The top competitors from the autocross competition headed over to the twisties to lay down a time that will eventually factor into their overall score in the Grand Champion contest. A few familiar faces, including Mike Dusold, were sawing away behind the wheel hoping to establish themselves as the best of the best.
On track with Dusold were autocross front runners Jake Rosel in his dark blue C5 Z06, Rich Willhoff in his yellow C6 Corvette, Brian Hobaugh in his LS-powered 280Z, and Eric Sheely. All five of their laps were completed without incident. However, prior to the laps, a C6 Corvette decided to leave the contents of its transmission on the tarmac, leading to a delay while the clean up crew made sure things were ready to roll again.
Today was the final day of road course action as the LS Fest West Grand Champion will be crowned tomorrow. The road course really pushed the limits of the cars and the ability of the drivers to build an all-around package that is just as at home on the road course as the autocross course–which can be vastly different. Good luck to all of the competitors.
While we wouldn’t necessarily call ourselves drift nuts, we always enjoy watching these talented drivers hoon their LS-powered rides with surgeon-like precision. It might not be your favorite event but you have to appreciate how much skill goes into racing a car sideways with little to no traction. Putting a nose in on a car you are chasing at 80+ mph without running into it takes both guts and skills, of which these drivers have in spades.
Left: Rob Parson's aggressive style saw him go far in the drift competition. Right: Chris Soren lays it down in his LS-powered Hyundai Genesis.
Qualifying and finals went down today with a field of 16 drivers duking it out in a sudden death style elimination that ends with only one winner. One of the most inspiring stories of the day was that of Rob Parson who pilots the ChairSlayer Hoonigan machine. Parson damaged his spine while riding motorcycles and decided to not let it get the best of him. His performance throughout the day lead him to the finals. His aggressive style, extreme angles, and clean lines also contributed to him being a crowd favorite.
Nick Gross, piloting the Elite S15, really put on a show laying down massive plumes of smoke and constantly putting a nose in on his competitors. His driving was fairly error free and his extreme angles and early, high speed initiation lead him to the finals as well.
Overall, we enjoy ourselves every time we watch this eclectic group of car enthusiasts do their thing and we would love to get behind the wheel of one of these insane machines. While we don’t particularly care for imports, anything that has a lumpy LS between the fenders is OK in our book.
Drag racing saw an early finish today after all classes had been cycled through and then some before 4 o’ clock. With no shows for Late Model Heads Up or Outlaw True Street, that left most of the battling to be done in the Street King, Rumble, and Grudge classes.
In Street King, the fastest time of the day went to Accelerated Racing Solutions’ Brand Weber who laid down a blistering 8.40 at 179 mph. They are still dialing in the car and are sure that it has a 7-second pass in it. According to Weber, the waste gate springs are causing the car to bring in the boost too quickly causing the car to have traction issue just past the 60-foot mark.
And, at the end of the day, the Grand Champion contestants put their cars to the test. Most of them still running on their autocross setups. Unfortunately for Mike Dusold, who was in the hunt for the Grand Champion winner, it appeared his car may have suffered from a mechanical failure and he failed to lay down a pass, leaving the crown wide open for one of his autocross nemesis.
Drag racing finishes up tomorrow with payouts at the end of the day. We will bring you the final results as we have them.
Autocross was going strong all day long with well over 50 cars duking it out for the top spot. Eventually it all came down to the top 5, which consisted of Mike Dusold, Brian Hobaugh, Jake Rosell, Rich Willhoff and Eric Sheely. Rich Willhoff had been consistently the quickest throughout the day on both the autocross course as well as the road course. If he can manage to put down a decent quarter-mile time, there is little standing between him and the Grand Champion trophy that will be handed out tomorrow.
When the dust settled, Rich Willhoff came out on top, followed closely by Jake Rosel in second and Brian Hobaugh in third. Mike Dusold actually had the second fastest lap time of the day but a hit cone putting the kibosh on any of his chances of taking home any of the top spots.
From left to right: Race winner Rich Willhoff, runner up Jake Rosel, and third place Brian Hobaugh.
Autocross has been hotly contested all weekend with a lot of heavy hitters showing up to the party. It just may have been the most participated in event of LS Fest West and we’re glad to see such an emphasis being put on it. Congratulations to all our winners and good luck to them as they pursue the Grand Champion trophy.
Off Road Challenge
The final day in the dirt would give fans a chance to see cars go head to head in a bracket elimination. Cars would be paired up based on their qualifying time, placing the fastest car with the slowest.
The Ultra4s would battle all day, but the early favorites looked to be Jason Scherer (left) and Loren Healy (right).
For people new to off-road this some something completely different than everything else going on at the event. Dirt would be flying as cars hit the jumps and the turns. Each race would be two laps with each vehicle racing both lanes on the course.
The Dirt Alliance team would have an elimination bracket of their own.
There was some close racing action in some of the areas, but nothing closer than when the no. 22 of Ryan Stambaugh touched the rear tire of the no. 1982 driven by Don Fisher. The touch sent Stambaugh end over end right in front of the grandstand.
Ryan Stambaugh getting sent for a wild ride during the Off Road Challenge eliminations.
The Dirt Alliance team did get in on the Off Road Challenge in their own bracket. Racing side-by-side is nothing new for the 1400 Class drivers. A couple broken vehicle shortened that class with Blake Wilkey coming out on top.
What would a challenge be without pitting the Ultra4’s against the Dirt Alliance trucks?
Because off-road is all about having fun the Ultra4 organizers created a race that would put Loren Healy, Randy Slawson, Blake Wilkey, and Chris Isenhouer together in a five lap race. The two different style trucks each had their own style, but the 1400 Class trucks just did not have enough under the hood to beat out the Ultra4s; Healy would be the first one across the finish line.
The Ultra4 racers put on a show for all of the fans that came out to see them.
When all the dust settled for the challenge the three fastest Ultra4 racers were lead by Jason Scherer. Loren Healy and Randy Slawson rounded out the podium.
Dirt Tour Off Road Desert Launch
The Dirt Alliance crew once again showed off how high they could make their trucks fly in at LS Fest style Huckfest. Blake Wilkey was able to get his LS-powered bug fixed and headed back out to show off what he couldn’t do yesterday
The Dirt Alliance team went big all day long!
With no real winner, this exhibition gave the fans in the crowd something to gawk at. With the sunset in Vegas, the Dirt Alliance came out and did what they do best – send it.
Looking for more highlights from Day 2 at LS Fest West? Be sure to check out the gallery below!