It’s been a weekend jam-packed with fun and excitement, centered around the best V8 engine family ever conceived – Chevy’s LS. Beautiful weather, a welcome change from years prior, greeted the racers and spectators packing into the 2013 Holley LS Fest at Beech Bend Raceway in scenic Bowling Green, Kentucky, though the threat of rain late in the day on Sunday put the spurs to the eliminations program.
Shut Your Face Race
The “anything goes on a 275 drag radial” class pulled a field of five cars at Bowling Green, with Steve Hopkins at the head of qualifying.
His 4.951 at 149.10 MPH in the eighth mile barely beat out Ray Litz’ 4.954, with Anthony Mann just behind at 5.006. Rounding out the roster were Mike Meeks at 5.090, and Brian Black at 5.121.
With such a tight field and the anything-can-happen format, the class promised some interesting matches in eliminations.
Thanks to the odd-numbered field, Hopkins got a competition bye right out of the gate in round one,
which he cashed in with a bump-and-back through the staging beam.
Anthony Mann took on Brian Black, and both racers cut decent lights only to engage in a pedal-fest, with the win going to Black, 6.522 to 6.682.
That left Litz and Meeks, and with the latter a no-show, that gave the number two qualifier an unopposed path through a second round competition bye straight to the finals.
On the other side of the ladder, Hopkins and Black met in the second round, and a .011-to-.078 holeshot followed by a quicker 5.041 pass to Black’s 5.219 sent Hopkins to meet Litz in the money round.
Both drivers brought their A-game to the match, with Litz ahead at the tree and holding on to the lead through the 660, running a winning 4.931 to Hopkins’ 4.949.
The newly-minted Pro class drew but two competitors for qualifying, and the fact that one of the two cars entered was actually just getting extra practice hits in for SYF meant that there wasn’t much mystery in who’d be taking home the winner’s purse, either.
Nevertheless, David Adkins’ twin turbo ’62 Bel Air put on a good show, running 4.540 at 162.86 MPH in the eighth-mile in qualifying.
JE Pistons LSX Drag Radial
A lucky seven-car field came together in Drag Radial, led by the always-competitive Mike Brown and his sinister matte black ’98 Trans Am. Brown took the pole by just four thousandths of a second and a tenth of a mile an hour over Mark Koehler, with a best pass of 7.074 at 209.04 MPH. IRS king Mark Carlyle followed a couple of tenths behind with a 7.355 in his C6 Corvette, and Andy Essay pinned down the middle of the pack with a 7.381.
Ray Litz rounded out the seven-second club in fifth at 7.595, and Bill Trovato, with just a dozen or so passes on his gorgeous nitrous-fed 5th Gen Camaro prior to this race, laid down an 8.168 at 167.41. Finally, Joe DeDona brought up the rear, never getting a clean hit out of his ’06 Corvette.
In the first round, things kicked off with Koehler taking on Litz. With a half-second advantage in qualifying, Koehler was the heavy favorite, and right at the hit Litz sealed his own fate by hazing the tires and having to lift.
Koehler cruised into the semi-finals with a 7.873 at 187 MPH. Next up were Mark Carlyle and Bill Trovato, and once again Carlyle came in with a substantial performance example. Carlyle bumped in deep, flickering the prestage as he held it in the beams waiting for the tree to drop, and when it did, the right lane saw Trovato sideways and smoking straight off the line. Carlyle’s 7.732 at 204 earned him a ticket to the semis.
Joe DeLong struggled in qualifying, and though his car certainly has show itself capable of running the number, it wasn’t to be this weekend. An off pace 9-second pass, while far better than his 12.32 in quals, just wasn’t going to be anywhere near enough to beat Andy Essay. Essay’s 7.387 at 191 earned him the right to face Koehler in the next round. Finally, Mike Brown drove around the water box and simply broke the beams to cash in his first round odd-field bye and move on, pairing up with Carlyle in the semis.
With the final four set, Koehler and Essay paired up, and it was anybody’s race until half-track when Koehler started to fall off while Essay kept on trucking, winning 7.232 at 193 to 8.952 at 111. One half of the final pair established, Mike Brown and Mark Carlyle squared off to see who would run against Essay for the win. In what might have been the race of the weekend, both cars were running hard from the green, but Brown just had a bit more on the top end, winning 7.093 to Carlyle’s 7.268 and carrying a huge 207 MPH through the traps.
The final round of Drag Radial began with a bit of strife – Essay pulled into the left lane, but Brown had lane choice by virtue of his quicker pass in the semi-finals, and it looked like Brown’s crew were going to make Essay switch with them. In the end, the cars stayed in the lanes they started in, though, and at the hit Essay dead hooked, came up hard, and came back down just as quick. That left the window wide open for Brown, who shot down-track to the win with a 7.117 at 196 miles an hour.
ERL Performance LSX All Motor
Out of the half-dozen cars in the naturally-aspirated All Motor class, it was no surprise to see the guys with the top two championship numbers from 2012 at the top of the list at the end of qualifying. Greg Delany, wearing the number two, earned number one in qualifying with an 8.291 at 163.93 in his 2010 Camaro. Last year’s series champ and School of Automotive Machinists stalwart Judson Massingill held down the second spot with an 8.318 at 165.15.
Don Baskin, Danny Nicely, and Robert Strong rounded out the eights, with Brian Massingill at the tail end at 9.799 and 136.10 miles an hour in the SAM 2012 COPO Camaro.
The first round of eliminations kicked off with Delaney versus Niceley, and it was over before it began – Niceley blew off the tires on his Corvette right off the hit and coasted down-track, while Delaney was pedal down and gone, running 8.432 at 159. That win earned him the competition bye straight through the semis and into the All Motor final.
The second pair in the box matched up Don Baskin against Brian Massingill, and when the tree dropped Massingill’s COPO had the momentary advantage before Baskin simply freight-trained past, running 8.580 at 155.40. The final pair of the opening round between Jud Massingill and Robert Strong was also decided at the starting line – Strong one-hopped his ’87 Monte Carlo and lifted, while Massingill made a clean, clockwork 8.363 pass to send him to the semis against Massingill.
In the first race of the All Motor semis, Massingill and Baskin lined up, and straight off the launch pad Baskin was wheels-up and hauling. Adopting the philosophy that fenders are cheaper than oil pans, Baskin kept his Chevy II nose-high and drove through the wheelstand, and it was the right choice; Massingill had issues and fell off the pace, only mustering 9.56 and 104 miles an hour to Baskin’s winning 8.512 at 157. That left Delaney to merely break the beams to validate his ticket into the finals versus Baskin.
In the deciding round, Baskin once again had some driving to do, running a weaving path in and out of the groove while Delaney tracked arrow straight down the strip. Delaney’s shorter journey paid off, running a winning 8.356 to Baskin’s 8.702 runner-up.
Holley EFI LSX Real Street
The best attended heads-up class at this year’s LS Fest, Real Street drew a total of ten entries in qualifying. Eight was the number of the day, with the top octet all running under nine flat, led by Rodney Massengale and his 2001 Corvette with an 8.351 at 164.57. Massengale went into eliminations on Sunday holding tenth and a half in the bag over the number two qualifier Charlie Polly, who had a best of 8.501 at 160 and change to his credit.
Hot on Polly’s heels was defending class champ Adam Preston at 8.513, with Jessie Coulter, George Farkouh, Ted Timmerman, Paul Falcon, and Kevin Rounsavall rounding out the eights. Ray Bulach just missed an eight himself with a 9.090, while Justin May bookended the qualifying list with a 9.293.
Real Street round one started off weird, with Justin May caught totally off-guard by the green against George Farkouh, his crewmember still trying to communicate to him when he should have been hitting the gas. The second pair, Adam Preston against Kevin Rounsavall, saw an upset victory when Preston could only make a limping pass versus Rounsavall’s 8.518.
Next were top qualifier Rodney Massengale and Ted Timmerman – In a close race, Massengale took the stripe, 8.483 to 8.613. Jessie Coulter took the win over Ray Bulach in another clean but not as close 8.611-to-9.518 pairing, and the first round of Real Street closed out with a tight battle between Charlie Polly and Paul Falcon, the decision going to Polly, 8.585 to 8.867.
With the Real Street field down to two pairs and a single, Rodney Massengale took his competition bye with a full-pass 8.364 at 163 to start things off. Next up were Rounsavall and Farkouh, and out of the starting gate the 5th Gen Camaro struck the tires, while Rounsavall put in another bracket-consistent pass with an 8.520 at 162. Finally, Charlie Polly lined up against Jessie Coulter; in the best race of the round, both cars came up hard on the bumper and carried the wheelstands out past the 330 before touching back down. Coulter nosed it out at the stripe, 8.669 to 8.711, earning the second competition bye and heading straight to the finals.
The last pass of the event was the Real Street finals, with Rounsavalle in the right lane and Coulter in the right. When the the ambers flashed, Coulter absolutely sawed down the tree with a .007 light, and came up hard on the bumper. Rounsavalle was in the zone, and while Coulter struggled to get his angle of attack back down, he reclaimed the time he’d lost at the tree and got around, picking up a lead he would hold through the stripe. At the finish line, it was Rounsavall with the win, 8.440 to Coulter’s 8.660, with both cars posting identical 162.74 MPH trap speeds.
Lingenfelter True Street
- 10 Second Winner: Ron Belcher, 10.062
- 11 Second Winner: Jeff Hentz, 11.144
- 12 Second Winner: Josh Castle, 12.025
- 13 Second Winner: Caleb Holder, 13.006
- 14 Second Winner: Jayson Jacobs, 14.082
- 15 Second Winner: Rhandy Myers, 15.152
Nitto Tire 5th Gen
Proform LSX Rumble