The 2015 iteration of LS Fest kicked off on the morning of Friday, September 11. With more racers pre-registered this year than there were in total last year, we knew this weekend would be the biggest and best LS Fest yet. Thanks to some rain on Friday, very little racing got done on the drag strip. That made for an action-packed Saturday as all drag racing classes completed all of their time trials and qualifying runs in addition to the True Street class making their three runs down the strip.
A huge congratulations goes out to every single driver who was able to participate in one of the several drag racing classes. The racers are the centerpiece to everything that LS Fest is about. Without them, there would be no event to put on. The weekend was filled with awesome racing while avoiding any catastrophes in the process.
Wiseco Real Street
This class featured the most drama of any the entire weekend. Entering the event George Farkouh and Jessie Coulter were sitting at #1 and #2 in the season points standings. Whoever could advance the farthest between the two would earn the title. Farkouh put the field on high alert as he set a class record in the cool air of Friday night during the final round of qualifying with a 7.685 at 178.19 mph. Coulter turned in a solid 7.761 at 178.14 mph to qualify second. This is where the drama began though, as Farkouh’s 5th gen Camaro blew a head gasket in qualifying.
Luckily for the Farks Supercars team, their #1 qualifying effort earned them a first round bye. They took full advantage of it the next day as they rolled up, broke the beam, and immediately shut the car down and rolled it back to their pit to install a new head gasket. As this was happening, Jessie Coulter also advanced to the semi finals. In the semis, Farkouh went 7.819 to outrun Paul Falcon. On the other side of the ladder, Coulter reset the class record with a 7.674 at 180.40 mph to easily dispatch Fran Schatz.
This set up the finals matchup that everyone wanted to see. Coulter and Farkouh would square off, with the winner taking the season championship in Real Street. Coulter grabbed a .043 advantage on the tree, but once both cars got to the 660′ marker, Coulter lost high gear, handing Farkouh the victory and the Real Street Championship.
Callies Drag Radial
The Drag Radial field ended as it should, with two turbocharged F-bodies on 315 mm wide drag radials. Andy Essary and Anthony Manna went back in forth throughout time trials and qualifying. Both had gone 4.46 in either qualifying or the first round of eliminations, so all of the ingredients were present for a major showdown in the finals. After some difficulty getting the car properly staged in the groove, Manna got way out of the groove and had to shut the car down as Essary made the quickest pass in Drag Radial of the weekend, going 4.460 @ 180.65 mph.
Hooker Headers Chevrolet Performance Stock
With the rules that make Chevy Performance Stock, we knew that there would be some tight heads up racing amongst the four car field. The DR525 Chevy Performance engine pushed these cars to mid to low 10 second passes. The finals pitted Ronnie Hackelton and his 2013 Camaro against Glenn Pushis in his 2013 Camaro. Pushis grabbed a slight advantage on the tree, but Hackelton was able to drive around him with a 10.558 elapsed time.
Lingenfelter COPO Shootout
The COPO shootout class is run in a bracket format to create competitive racing between the many different COPO combinations offered by Chevrolet. However, in the event that two cars dial-in at the same number, all bets are off as heads-up racing ensues! Brian Massingill met Brian Palcisko in the finals. Although Massingill was a little slow on the light, he easily drove to a win, posting a 9.496 e/t on a 9.30 dial-in.
School of Automotive Machinists Street King
Street King is another new for 2015 class. It is basically an extension of the Rumble class, but only for cars dialing in at 10.75 or faster. Al Corda’s 2000 Firebird put on a show for spectators with big wheelstands all weekend, and he drove into the finals, meeting Jeff Widner’s ’98 Formula in the finals. Widner jumps early, handing the win to Corda, even though Corda breaks out by running a 10.698 e/t on a 10.75 dial-in.
Raymond’s Performance Rumble
The LSX Rumble class features one of the biggest car counts of any drag racing class at LS Fest thanks to the open rules and index racing. Navigating this large field requires consistency, precision, and sometimes even a little luck. Marvin Poole and Paul Lewis were both able to get through the deep field in 2004 GTOs. Lewis broke out in the finals though, handing Poole the victory with an 11.016 e/t on a 11.00 dial-in.
Lingenfelter Late Model Heads-Up
The Late Model Heads-up is open to late model GM muscle cars including the 5th generation Camaro, Cadillac CTS-V, C5-C7 Corvettes, and Pontiac G8s. The only limiting factor that OEM-sized rear wheels and tires must be used. Otherwise, this is heads-up, run what ya’ brung racing! Two 10-second 5th gen Camaros met in the finals, as Lester Miller faced off with John Byler. Miller’s 416 cubic inch LS3 powered him to a 10.130 e/t and the victory.
Legend Gear and Transmission True Street
True Street is the ultimate test for fast street cars. After returning from a 30-mile drive to prove their streetworthiness, cars are allowed to cool down for 30 minutes. After that cooldown period, they then make 3 consecutive passes. Drivers are not allowed to open the hood of their car, add fuel, or make any other adjustments aside from tire pressure. Tim Lemay’s ’87 Buick Regal was the epitome of consistency while still being the quickest and fastest car in the field. Lemay went 8.468, 8.490, and 8.498 to give him an overall average of 8.485. That made him a half second faster than runner-up Justin May, who averaged 8.939 in his ’91 Firebird.