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Holley's Blue Oval Triathlon - A Ford Fest Competitor's Story

By: Wes Duenkel | Images by: Evan Smith11/19/2019 < Back to Blog Home
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Sure, some cars are fast in a straight line…but Holley’s Intergalactic Ford Festival Grand Champion Competition at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky rewards cars that can turn and stop too. Much like triathletes, Ford Fest Grand Champion drivers and cars need to be versatile to be competitive!


In a nutshell, the Ford Fest Grand Champion Competition combines Autocross, Drag Race, and “3S” Challenge. Scores in each category are compiled to declare an overall winner.


The autocross event covered Friday and Saturday afternoon. The Autocross course was clearly marked so drivers spent more time having fun and less time “reading the cones.” Drag Racing was also pretty simple: the quickest elapsed time of eight quarter-mile passes counted. We were newbies to the “3S” Challenge, but it too was straightforward. Make a standing start, turn 180-degrees, and stop in a coned-off box.


Above all, the Grand Champion Competition was about fun. And the Grand Champion Competition offered it in spades. We found that tossing a Mustang around an Autocross with a giggling passenger was the highlight of our weekend. There was so much autocross time that we made nearly two dozen runs over the course of the weekend.

In addition, got four drag race runs each on Friday and Saturday Night, and Sunday was dedicated to the 3S Challenge. If you’re looking to have an absolute blast with your Ford at next year’s Ford Fest, you’re out of excuses make the trip to Bowling Green next September!


Here’s what you need:

  • Helmet that’s rated SA2010 or later
  • Pants (for everything) and long-sleeved shirt (for drag racing)
  • A car that passes a basic safety inspection
  • Tires that are rated “200 Treadwear” or higher


Tip: Do yourself a favor and get some competition-oriented “200 Treadwear” tires. You’ll have a lot more fun and won’t be “in the hunt” without them. Trust us, they’re worth it. It’s like going drag racing with drag radials instead of street tires. Sure, you can make some passes on street tires, but you’ll be left wondering, “if I had some better tires, how much faster would I be going?


How We Did:

Even though this was our first event, we did pretty well! Our modestly-modified 2003 Mustang Cobra held its own in the autocross (6th), drag race (8th) and 3S Competition (3rd). It all combined for a 6th overall result. Here are the full results.


What Was Good:

Where do we start? Being the first Holley Intergalactic Ford Fest, we were pleasantly surprised at the event’s organization. We merely showed up, and friendly people pointed us in the right direction. No fuss, no muss. Jimmy Day and the Ultimate Street Car Association crew handled much of the competition logistics, and they were outstanding. Everything ran like clockwork, and nobody was left out.


What Needs Improvement:

They need more competitors! This was the first year for the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, so the modest turnout was expected. That meant we had lots of track time…but, it’s not a party without a crowd. 


The Final Word:

We had a blast. Nothing compares to the bang-for-the buck factor of Holley Intergalactic Ford Fest. Where can you go autocrossing and drag racing in one day? Taking passengers for rides around the Autocross course was more fun than we could have imagined. If you have a Ford…and we mean ANY Ford…you have to bring it to the next event. You’ll be glad you did!

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