LS Fest West 2024: Drag Racing


LS Fest West 2024: Drag Racing


Get ready for wheel-standing, hard-hooking excitement at the LS Fest West Drag Racing Showdown at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS)! Witness the ground-shaking action as some of the quickest LS- and LT-powered cars in the West go head-to-head in electrifying side-by-side competition.

The highlight of the drag racing action is undoubtedly the Quick 16 Shootout, where the fastest cars on the property face off in a high-stakes showdown. Open to racers from any drag class, this heads-up race will pit the 16 quickest ETs against each other in a thrilling 1/8th mile battle under the lights. With $1,500 on the line for the winner and $500 for the runner-up, the competition promises to be fierce.

In addition to the Quick 16 Shootout, LS Fest West offers a variety of drag racing classes to suit every style and skill level. From the Grudge Test-N-Tune for those looking to have fun and fine-tune their setups, to the heads-up Drag & Drive class designed for fast street cars, there's something for everyone on the track.

The Rumble Index class provides an opportunity to showcase the performance of full-bodied vehicles powered by LS or current LT engines. With races on a .500 Pro Tree and an index format from 11.00- to 15.00-second ET.

Meanwhile, the Street King class offers a chance for all full-bodied LS or current LT-powered vehicles to compete in an index format from 8.00 to 11.00 second ET.

For those who like the bigger stuff, the Truck & SUV class celebrates the booming LS truck and SUV market, while the Late Model 10.00 Heads-Up Index class showcases the quickest late-model LS and current-gen LT-powered vehicles from 2008 and up.

If you prefer a more grassroots approach to racing, the 5.50 Heads-Up and Stick Shift/Banger classes provide opportunities for clutch-assisted H-pattern-shifted transmission vehicles to shine on the strip.

With a wide range of classes and intense competition, LS Fest West Drag Racing is a weekend of adrenaline-fueled excitement that's not to be missed. Get ready to unleash the power at The Strip at LVMS!

Drag & Drive

The Drag & Drive class at Holley LS Fest West 2024 brought out a tough group of heads-up drag racers looking to prove who had the fastest street car. Each competitor must use an OEM body and factory firewall location, run on DOT-legal tires, and have functioning lights and horn. To prove that these mean machines were fit for street driving, they must all finish a street cruise.

Master of Ceremonies Chad Reynolds led the parade of drag racers on a 20-minute cruise that tested the cooling capabilities of these powerful purpose-built race cars.

The massive Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex made things challenging, but eventually proved to be a boon to the event. “Everything is so contained” Reynolds said. “Getting people out for a cruise became a traffic issue." It turns out that the sheer size of the Speedway meant that Reynolds could lead a miles-long parade that never left the facility and showed participants parts of the complex they’d never experienced.

The course took participants around the outside of the NASCAR track and onto the Track X course, never exceeding approximately 35 mph. “None of these cars had been on a road course," Reynolds said, noting that plenty of the participants actually had fun on the twisting circuit. Low-speed cruising for several miles, while not as hard on a vehicle as sitting in traffic, stressed cooling systems enough to prove that the competitors are all roadworthy.

Quick 16

At LS Fest West 2024, the Quick 16 shootout promises to be the ultimate test of speed and power, drawing participants from all drag classes for a chance to claim the title of the quickest car on the property. This high-octane shootout is a crowd favorite, with no specific rule sets — just a pure showcase of speed.

To qualify for the Quick 16 shootout, racers simply need to bring the timeslip from their fastest qualifying pass to drag tech by 3 pm Saturday. From there, the 16 quickest E/Ts will be pitted against each other in a thrilling race to determine the champion. The competition is a 1/8th mile heads-up format on a .400 pro tree with the scoreboards on. It's a 'run what ya' brung' affair, but all cars must meet NHRA safety requirements for the times they run and must be powered by LS or current LT engines.

In the Quick 16 Shootout, anything goes when it comes to engine modifications. Supercharged, turbocharged, or nitrous-powered entries are all permitted.

The stakes are high, with $1,500 up for grabs for the winner and $500 for the runner-up. It's not just about the prize money—it's about the thrill of the race and the bragging rights that come with being crowned the quickest car at LS Fest West.

Drag Racing Final Results

5.50 INDEX

Champion: Gernard Prince, 1987 Mustang

Runner up: Shannon Taylor, 1982 Capri


Champion: Charlie Williams, 2019 Camaro

Runner up: Guillermo Tapia, 2015 Chevy


Champion: Jesse Maurer, 1961 Chevy

Runner up: Tylor Pansini, 1984 Chevy


Champion: Brandon Gant, 1973 Dart

Runner up: Tim Weber, 2014 CTS-V


Champion: Devlin Clark, 2020 Corvette

Runner up: Michelle Beirzius, 1999 Trans Am


Champion: Kevin Costa, 1971 Datsun

Runner up: Beaudee Bluemel, 1988 Camaro


Champion: Robert Horton,1998 Camaro

Runner up: Frank D'Esposito, 2014 Corvette

Determination and Hard Luck: The LS-Swapped S2000 That Won’t Give Up

Thomas West's story of his LS-swapped Honda S2000 at LS Fest West is either a tragedy or a comedy. Thomas and his team at Renegade Racing came to LS Fest West loaded for bear. They planned to take on the stick-shift class, hoping to win all three LS-Fest events in the same class. Despite rebuilding an engine over a trash can and swapping it overnight, they were unsuccessful, but not for lack of effort. They were the hardest-working team at LS Fest West 2024.

The weekend started with a mix of triumph and tribulation. Despite only managing one successful qualifying pass, they secured the number 1 spot. However, their joy was short-lived as the engine blew. It was an aftermarket-block 427ci that threw a rod, creating a domino effect of catastrophic destruction inside the engine. The camshaft locked, which sheered the cam gear, and pistons connected with valves so hard that valve seats fell out.

In other words, the motor was toast.

But Thomas wouldn't quit, so an announcement was made asking event attendees if anyone had an engine available they could buy. But it was to no avail. Finally, scrolling Marketplace, Thomas found a stroked 408ci from a 6.0L iron block LS, but it was disassembled. However, they had enough to keep going. They borrowed a truck, bought an engine hoist, and went to work.

They used an upside-down trash can as a work table, rebuilding and swapping the newly purchased engine between 6 pm Friday and 6 am Saturday.

Thomas called engine builder Jonathan Atkins for a tune, "I just told him, 'Dude, guess the best you can,'" said Thomas. With an unknown cam and less cubic inches, Atkins made his best guess at the tune but said to keep an eye on the air-fuel ratio. He loaded it into the Holley Dominator and it worked.

The car made it to Round 1 of eliminations at 9:30 am with high hopes. However, it hooked a little too hard and bogged at the start. The slipper clutch was likely set too tight.

Behind the engine is a Black Magic slipper clutch and Tick Performance Ultimate Drag Race T-56 with a Money Shift shifter. Out back is a stock housing 8.8-inch rear end from a Ford Thunderbird, fitted with Strange Engineering components. Fueling comes from a Fuel Cell EFI fuel pump module with two brushless VR-1s.

Despite the poor launch, the car showed promise, and they believed it would make a seven-second pass. The plan is to hang onto this stock-block engine and keep running, heading to more events, including LS Fest East in September.


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