We caught up with a friend of The BLOCK, Jarod DeAnda, after his weekend at the Holley LS Fest. If you're not familiar with Jarod, he's been in the youth enthusiast market for many years and is probably best known as “The Voice OF Formula D." J-Rod is a car lover, gearhead, and all around good guy. After his fun-filled weekend in Kentucky, we linked up with him and had him get us up to speed on how it was.
Words by Jarod DeAnda
You probably don’t need to be informed on the relevancy of the LS engine and what it has done for so many of your track times, drag races, roaring RPMs. From car meets and cruises, to drift competitions and beyond— the LS engine and all its generations have become icons of GM performance.
But what you definitely might want to be hipped to is the Holley LS Fest, which happened just this past weekend in Bowling Green, Kentucky at the very accommodating Beech Bend Park. The roller coaster and theme park that's on site is just a visual appetizer and a hint of what’s going to unfold as you attend the 3-day LS Fest. However, the roaring LS engines as you enter the facility will get your octane-filled heart beating faster than any ol' rollercoaster because, after all— that's why you attend the Holley LS Fest!
Holley Performance's LS Fest began three years ago as Holley wanted to let the LS faithful’s know that they’re a leader in aftermarket and performance when it comes to GM power plants. The LS Fest sees a truly astounding array of vehicles, and the reason being is that the event caters to all LS-powered machines from Drag, Autocross, 0-60-0, show & shine, as well as events such as Engine Swap and Dyno challenges.
My reason for attending the event was that I was involved with the Holley Performance Drift Challenge presented by Lucas Oil. Yep, Drift Challenge, the LS engine has found residence under the hoods of many vehicles that don’t share the “bowtie” lineage but desire its HP, torque and reliability. The progression of drifting sees the V8 under the hoods of a variety of vehicles, most notably Nissans S –chassis cars, commonly known as the 240SX here in the U.S.A. But, let's face it; the LS can be “shoehorned” into anything nowadays.
Being known as the, “Voice of Drift,” I was asked to MC the Drift Challenge. The drift challenge, and even the practice sessions, garnered a lot of “head scratching” interest and overall excitement for this element of LS Fest, as this was many of the attendees' first time seeing a drift event in the flesh. Never having been to Bowling Green, Kentucky, or an LS Fest, I didn’t know what to expect. Not surprisingly, it was an awesome experience with tons of nice people, great weather, and some epic builds housing the mandatory LS engine.
It was really great to see the wide variety of LS-powered machines: from dragsters with chutes, classic Camaros as Autocross cars, on to Miatas and some killer trucks. Modern to classic, it was a buffet of horsepower, sheet metal, fiberglass and burnt rubber. I personally enjoyed the rat-rod-esque builds that have rusty exteriors juxtaposed by modern LS engines adorned with Holley parts. And the clean retro-rods, and late model Camaros with slicks can’t be denied.
After my experience, I have a strong feeling that the Holley LS Fest is an event that will become a tradition that many will begin to make a priority on their automotive event schedules. The LS engine has created more than roaring signature exhaust notes, but also a cult-like following of faithful brethren that proudly wear a “bowtie” to the party wherever they go. Don’t miss it next year— I know I won’t!
Jarod was kind enough to not only give us his insights on the event from this weekend, but to also share some photos with us that he snatched via his fancy-shmancy OlloClip lens on his iPhone. Technology these days!
Check out Jarod's photos, below, then drop on by the LS Forum to chat about the event!