LS Fest East has come and gone once again, and we’re already looking forward to the next one. Being the birthplace of Holley’s all-LS events, the Bowling Green gathering is always expected to be huge. LS Fest East 2022 did not disappoint, even with less-than-ideal weather during two of the three days. The weekend was packed with people, action, and more cars and trucks than ever. There was something for every type of car enthusiast. Drag racing, autocross, drifting, a car show, a burnout contest, road course racing at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park, and even a downhill power wheels challenge for good measure. The Beech Bend Raceway grounds were expecting 50,000 spectators over the three-day event. With over 2,000 registered participants, there was plenty of entertainment for everyone.
New for LS Fest East this year was the off-road course carved out of the beautiful hillside at Beech Bend Raceway. Over the weekend, we saw everything from Ultra-4 race buggies and tube chassis rock bouncers to pre-runners and even a fifth-gen Camaro built to tackle the course during the HooptieX race series.
Off The Trailer
Arriving on Friday morning, the grounds were already filled with cars and trucks from all over the country. Beautiful show cars and trucks of all makes and models lined the road leading down to the tracks and vendor midway. The pits were full of RVs and race cars, many of which were already lined up to go through the tech shed. We knew it was going to be a great weekend.
Testing began early for all of the events. Meanwhile, everyone we talked to was keeping a close eye on the weather. Rain was projected to hit Beech Bend Raceway during the event. We were hopeful there would be enough sunshine throughout the weekend to get all the action in. With so much going on, the various competitions ran simultaneously. This meant we definitely got our steps in, crisscrossing the property to catch everything.
During the first test session of drag racing, we saw a number of really fast passes and several cars riding the rear wheels past the 60-foot mark. Brian Wagner, the editor of our sister publication Dragzine, brought out the Project Number Cruncher Firebird and ran his first 9-second quarter-mile pass in the car.
The autocross and grand champion competitions got off to a great start, with half of the drivers beginning their day on the tracks at the NCM Motorsports Park while the other half hit the course at Beech Bend Raceway. Everything from classic muscle cars to C8 Corvettes and C10 pickups were wringing every second they could from their rides. Later in the day, the drift cars took to the track to get their practice and qualifying in, while the HooptieX competitors were getting a feel for the off-road course across the venue.
Can’t Stop A Great Time
Saturday started right where Friday left off, only it was much more crowded. There were so many people walking the event that it was difficult for participant vehicles to make their way from the pits and campground areas to the various tracks. But that didn’t slow the action any. The morning was filled with the sounds of revving LS engines and the smells of tire smoke and race fuel. It didn’t take long for Mother Nature to rain on our party, literally. Light, steady drizzling rain fell throughout the day.
The rain put a damper on the drag racing, causing all classes to be pushed back to later in the day. This led to the drag racing event running well into the night to try and get back on schedule for Sunday. However, the light rain did nothing to keep the spectators away, nor did it stop the autocross, drifting, or off-road events. In fact, the weather didn’t seem to put much of a damper on things at all. Even the drivers in the drag event were in good spirits and were optimistic they would be able to get all their racing done.
The drag strip was back in action as the sun set and spectators packed the stands. Once the sun was down, we were treated to the burnout contest that saw YouTube content creators, professional drivers, and car builders battle it out with huge plumes of smoke for the crowd’s enjoyment. YouTube and Instagram content creator Lacy Blair showed up with a Dodge pickup packed with twin turbo LS power to throw down all the smoke in her first burnout contest. Although she did outstanding and held the lead for a time, the highlight was undeniably Demolition Ranch Matt and his ProCharged LS-swapped ’64 Impala low rider. He had the car bouncing, hopping, and popping tires while filling the air with smoke. It was something you’re likely only to see at an LS Fest event.
Leaving East Looking West
Sunday greeted us with more rain and overcast skies. Once again, the weather didn’t stop the autocross and Grand Champion competitors. They continued making laps during the 3S challenge, giving the spectators a great show and providing us with some fantastic photographs. Unfortunately, after multiple delays involving calling racers to the staging lanes and then having them return to their pits, the tough decision had to be made to call off the remainder of the drag racing event. The sun finally made an appearance just in time for the drift cars to put on one last show before the closing ceremonies.
Overall, LS Fest East 2022 delivered on being the biggest and best LS-centered event of the year. The weather cut some things short, but there was no shortage of action, people, and entertainment. It’s going to be a long winter waiting for springtime to get here so we can get our fix of LS madness in Las Vegas at LS Fest West 2023.