View Full Version : 2016 - the biggest and baddest yet!

09-16-2016, 08:45 AM
Another LS Fest is in the books. This year, seemed even more eventful than those in the past. I’m not sure if it’s because this year was the biggest yet in both participation and spectators or if the fact that only a few hours were actually rained out (as opposed to days) or if it was the celebration of Todd Rumpke’s life that spontaneously came about; whatever it was, it was awesome. I’ve waited a few days to post this because frankly, I wanted posts about Todd to take center stage and give folks some time to get through the funeral and related emotions. I highly encourage you to read Brandy Phillips’ Behind the Wheel feature on Todd, he was a valued member of the pro-touring community.


There were 208 cars registered for autocross and Grand Champion – twice what it was two years ago. In addition to the autocross, there were 695 drag racers, 198 show and shine and 14,994 spectators!

All makes and models, all LS Powered. ALL. BAD. ASS.

The unique thing about LS Fest is that you see cars that are technical wonders; you know these guys (and gals) spent days, months, years figuring out how to engineer the LS power plant to work in their Dodge, Mustang, Honda, Porsche, Nissan, etc. It’s really cool to see. And, by really cool, I mean REALLY impressive.

In addition to my duties writing for Pro-touring, I was at LS Fest to get some seat time at the autocross. This year, to accommodate the number of people wanting to participate, there were two autocross courses – one at Beech Bend Raceway and one at the NCM Motorsports Park (National Corvette Museum). The tracks are about five miles apart so there was some commuting involved. Bowling Green, KY is a car town, full of car people. When you drive outside of the racing facilities, you get waves and thumbs up the whole way. Afterall, with the Corvette manufacturing plant on the other side of town, this town knows it’s cool cars.


Between the breaks in runs at both tracks with people alternately drag racing or doing TrackX at NCM, the autocross ran fast and furious. We were able to get in at least 5 runs at each track per each four hour session. What this means is two things, if you weren’t in my run group, I probably didn’t get a picture of you. Also, it means that pictures were hard to take because it seemed like we were always jumping back in the car to take another run.



The track at Beech Bend was short and ‘stabby’ – stab the gas, stab the brake with quick sharp turns and some elevation changes to add just a little drama. The track at NCM was a whole different animal; longer sustained speed with lifting and much less braking and a necessary shift at least once for most of us. I spoke with Brian Mason, the track designer and he said that having two tracks enabled him to create ‘something for everyone’ and I couldn’t agree more. My run group hit Beech Bend first (my favorite because the buzz and hype there is awesome and they repaved the track so it wasn’t gravel and pot holes.) I arrived late, didn’t get to walk the track but still managed to pull out a couple of runs that were respectable based upon what my peers were telling me. Noon came and it was time to head over to NCM where the surface is flat and paved with road track pavement. I sucked. I could not figure out how to get time off and had to give it some thought and realize that I was driving the track like it was short and stabby. I wasn’t alone in sucking, several others spun out in a couple of key spots (No doubt coming in hot and over braking like I was.) so at least my humiliation wasn’t a solo act. I managed to pull out a fair run on my very last Friday afternoon run (not decent, just not humiliating).

It was then time to head back to Beech Bend for Friday night Camp Autocross and to watch a little drag racing. (Or spontaneous driveshaft dropping as the case was for more than a few.)

Saturday’s festivities started out at NCM and then ended at Beech Bend – albeit a little early when a flash flood came in around 3:00pm. The downpour and lightning shut down all racing and gave us a chance to see a few vendors, hang out and shoot the bull in the back of a random trailer and then head out to the Smokey Pig for some charred animal flesh. (There is nothing quite like the smell of the smoker as you arrive during sunrise at Beech Bend)


Sunday’s LS Fest is dedicated to drag racing and the Speed Stop. I love the speed stop at LS Fest because it is a head-to-head drag race that U-turns into a short slalom before flat spotting your tires in the box. The head-to-head portion makes for really fun competition and watching is great fun. I myself arrived with brand new hard-to-find BFG Rivals, so I was not hitting the speed stop and instead was able to take far too many pictures.


Also on Sunday are the drift finals. Drifting is a train wreck for me, I hate the noise and tire smoke but dang it if I can drag myself away from it. We all think we're so cool on the autocross but these guys are truly ninjas behind the wheel. With seemingly fearless bravado, they wheel LS Powered Nissans, Hondas and BMWs around like pinballs, whacking walls and rubbing fenders to the crowd's delight.


LS Fest was a success and should be on everyone’s pro-touring bucket list. Beech Bend is such a cool, family friendly facility and NCM is world class racing with a lot of thought and consideration for autocross built-in.

Last, but not least, LS Fest is finally coming to the West Coast. So, while you won’t see what it’s really like out in Kentucky, you will have another multi-day autocross event to look forward to in Las Vegas, in the spring of 2017. You should have plenty of time to do that LS Swap before then!

09-18-2016, 05:35 PM
2016 LS was again great .....you will be able to race and enjoy this format on the west coast next season and it will be awesome.........it was a celebration of performance, and one that many of us that were there will remember since the passing of our friend Todd was honored there, great write up Suzy and to all those that attended thanks for honouring Todd with Horsepower.....



09-18-2016, 07:36 PM
Great write up Suzy!
As always, LSFest is worth the cross country trip!

09-27-2016, 06:16 AM

09-27-2016, 10:20 AM
damn I love this..