LS Fest invaded Sin City today and went off with a literal, and figurative, bang. We were thrilled when we first learned that one of our favorite LS events of the year was moving a little closer to home and we can’t think of a better back drop than Las Vegas, Nevada.
We’ve been trying to contain our excitement since we first found out that LS Fest West would be coming to a state near us at LS Fest proper, and now that the wait is over, we can say that it was absolutely worth the wait. So, without further ado, here is a round up of all the action on day one of the first ever LS Fest West—and we hear that the west version is here to stay. If you missed out this year, you’ll have another chance in 2018 as LS Fest West returns to Vegas baby!
Show N’ Shine
Tons of beautiful LS powered rides showed up to show off their shiny innards, in fact, too many to list here. But rest assured that you can get a quick glimpse of some of our favorites here and in the gallery. We also have full length features coming from some of our favorites, so stay tuned. But in the mean time, this picks will have to suffice.
The drag racing as LS Fest West eased into the day with open test and tune starting at 9 a.m. and completing at 3 p.m. It was promptly followed by LS Outlaw True Street, LS True Street, LS Rumble, Street King, Late Model Heads Up, LS Truck Outlaw, LS Rumble Index, and Grand Champion time trials which completed the first day of racing at 7:30.
Even though it was the first day, and the majority of time was spent on test and tune, there were still a number of breakages and heart breaks. Right out of the gate, a fourth-gen Camaro broke at the starting line and put a hold on cars using the right lane of the track, limiting the field to just the left lane.
With temperatures hitting 99 degrees today, the air conditions were less than ideal. A lot of competitors also were unprepared for the altitude—which lead to a lot of broken hearts and egos. The Density Altitude or DA for the day hovered around the 5300 foot mark. In other words, it was basically like racing at a mile high elevation.
One competitor we over heard said, “this is a mid-12 second car back home, but that track is just 400 feet above sea level” just after running a low 14 second quarter mile. As we said before, a lot of heart were broken today but the spirit of the competitors remained high. We personally witnessed several 7-second passes by the highest horsepower cars.
Accelerated Racing Solutions twin turbo 1,600 horsepower LS-powered Mustang Managed to go 9.16 at 146.74 mph all while still dialing in the engine and suspension setup. The car is virtually brand new, but Brandon Weber—the owner of the car— thinks it has a 7-second pass in it before the weekend is done.
While the West Coast may or may not have as hardcore of a drag racing scene as back east, the autocross crowd turned out and turned up. Last year’s LS Fest Grand Champion, Mike Dusold was on hand in his seemingly invincible twin turbo Camaro, laying down progressively faster lap times. If this year is anything like last, we are just waiting to see a low-10 second pass at the drag strip to clinch LS Fest West’s Grand Champion title—adding it to his already impressive list of event wins.
The guys from JDP Motorsports and StopTech showed up en masse and with some very cool ProTouring cars as well. Even the guys from D3 Cadillac were on hand with some of their insanely tricked out CTS-Vs going head to head with some of the best on the autocross and road course. Only time will tell who takes the autocross crown home with even bigger bragging right going to the Grand Champion. We might have to wait until Sunday to find out, but one thing was evident today—the West Coast has produced some world-class autocrossers with some badass LS-powered rides.
Off Road Challenge Qualifying
The off-road portion of LS Fest West is something new and out in the wild west in only seemed fitting to kick the dirt up. Drivers like Loren Healy came out to show off what their LS powered race vehicles could do around the course designed by Ultra4 Racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring.
Vehicles that are made for going over some of the toughest terrains in races like King of the Hammers are a little out of their element with all the rollers and jumps. The day’s events saw Loren Healy rolling heading into the track and one vehicle breaking a shock mount.
Today featured the qualifying rounds for the Ultra4 racers which sent them on both lanes of the course. The combined time would then be the drivers qualifying time. Qualifying will finish up tomorrow and then the heads up eliminations will begin.
Dirt Tour Off Road Desert Launch
What could have been easily argued as the most excitement in the dirt, the Dirt Alliance crew showed off how high they could make their trucks fly in a LS Fest style Huckfest. Blake Wilkey went out first in more than one way, breaking an axle. He was able to track one down at a local off-road shop and will be back in the game on Saturday.
Other Dirt Alliance drivers like Darren Parsons and Chris Isenhouer launched their trucks more than 10 feet into the air. For locals and people new to off-road it was definitely something that got the people in the stands out of their seats. The Dirt Alliance team will have a couple more demonstrations Saturday.
Cinco De May Tire De Fryo
This one was exactly what it sounded like, Hoonigan showed up to put on one hell of a show as cars from every facet of the event showed up to prove just who could do the nastiest burnout/doughnuts. Everything from Ultra4s to drift cars laid everything on the line to prove who the king was.
Perhaps one of the best stories of the day came from the Gould father-son team. Max Gould, the owner of a 1970 Chevrolet Nova with a pretty potent LS swap, showed everyone over the age of 17 how Millenials get down. That’s right, he’s only 17 and is shredding tires with the best of them. Even better was the fact that Max and his dad built the car together in just three weeks with the goal of making it to LS Fest West.
Nothing hits us right in the feelers more than a father-son duo coming together to light up a set of tires on a wicked restomod. You’re dad maybe cool, but he’ll never be building-a-Nova-for-your-son-to-hoon cool.
Lauren Healy, of King of the Hammers fame, was also on hand to rip some of the nasties four wheel doughnuts and slides we’ve ever witnessed. You know your LS is potent when it has enough to spin four 37-inch tires at will. Several members of the Dirt Alliance also showed off in their 1400-class trucks and laid down some massive plumes of smoke—but we did not inhale.
In the end, Hoonigan tried to crown a winner by way of crowd applause, but we think it was too close to call and in the end, we were all winners for getting to see all of that hoonage first hand.
Check out the gallery below with tons of pictures from today’s action and be sure to tune in tomorrow for even more highlights!