Holley teamed up with the NMRA All-Ford World Finals to host its first inaugural Intergalactic Ford Festival alongside the race, September 26-29th at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, KY. The event included a variety of driving events, a car show, dyno contest, swap meet and of course, drag racing.
Here are five things I loved at the show:
So. Many. Mustangs.
A majority of car shows, in particular, Mustang shows, seem to be overrun by the S550 Mustang. Since its debut in 2015, it’s become a pretty common sight while seeing a 2013-2014 S197 has become somewhat of a rarity.
That said, I was stunned to see so many 2013-2014 Mustangs at Ford Fest. I really enjoyed seeing so many cars modified for so many different things and it inspired tons of new mod ideas for my own car.
It was also refreshing to see early Mustangs mixed with ’70s and 80’s cars also modified to fit owners’ needs in a variety of styles.
Motorsports For Everyone
Ford Fest included drag racing, autocross, drifting, road racing, and a burnout contest. However, one of the most unique aspects of the event was the Grand Champion competition which awarded the competitor who did the best all-around job on the autocross, the 3S Challenge and on the dragstrip.
The autocross portion aims to test the agility of both the car and driver at low speeds with an emphasis on handling, acceleration, and braking. The course set up included chicanes, wide sweepers, tight hairpins, and slalom sections.
The 3S Challenge put drivers side-by-side in a low-speed drag race before each maneuvered a 180-degree turnaround, followed by a slalom on the return, and a stop box to complete the run.
Each “run” consisted of the total left side course time added to the right side course time. The winner was determined by the fastest combined left side and right side run, however hitting a cone at any point during the run was an automatic “DNF” score.
Lastly, the drag race portion of the challenge took place during the NMRA World Finals alongside its shootout eliminator classes, such as the Hellion Turbo Battle, IDIDIT Performance King of the Street, Tremec Stick Shift Shootout, McLeod 10R80 Throwdown, and the Mickey Thompson Terminator/GT500 Shootout.
Other NMRA classes running during the event included Street Outlaw, Renegade, Modified Street, Limited Street, Coyote Stock, Factory Stock, Open Comp, Super Stang, Modular Muscle, Truck & Lightning, Ford Muscle, and True Street.
Unofficially though, someone could take the Grand Champion competition a step further and showcase their skills by participating in the other driving formats offered at the event, like the road course.
The road course portion took place at the NCM Motorsports Park and utilized its 3.2-mile track. Together with the SCCA, Holley held a free Test-and-Tune session for drivers to familiarize themselves with the track ahead of the SCCA’s Time Trial Nationals, which were held throughout the weekend.
Drifting Brings Diversity
Holley’s inaugural event welcomed any vehicle with a Ford powerplant to participate, which was most apparent during the crowd-drawing drift sessions during the event. One notable car was the “Voodoo Ride” Ford Aluminator powered Nissan 240SX driven by Formula Drift Pro 2 driver Kelsey Rowlings.
By far the most unusual and exciting drift machine on course was a 1964 Ford F-100 truck driven by David Leffel. The truck looks like an unsuspecting rat rod covered in patina, but don’t let that fool you.
Under the hood is a 363 cubic-inch small-block fitted with two Garrett 30/76 turbos that produce 1,000 horsepower with tuning help from its Holley EFI setup. The engine is hooked to a G-Force T101A manual transmission and applies power with a 2015 Mustang GT IRS setup boosted by Ford Performance half-shafts.
The custom-built front end was widened by 9 inches and fitted with Wilwood Pro knuckles and spindles to help achieve the angle Leffel wanted.
And of course, drifting at Ford Fest wouldn’t be legit without Jarod DeAnda announcing and Pro Formula Drift drivers Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa showcasing their slideways skills.
Gittin Jr. and DeNofa also took part in some “fun-haver shenanigans” by drifting around Bob Chandler’s original BIGFOOT monster truck, the very same vehicle that revolutionized monster truck competitions for over three decades.
Additionally, popular YouTuber Cleetus McFarland brought out his “Click Bait Patrol” supercharged, tire-roasting Crown Victoria to chase drifters. He was also on hand to inspire burnouts from Holley’s pre-selected participants during the Australian style Nitto Tire Burnout Challenge.
While I love shooting and covering motorsports, I am not huge into driving competitions and given the choice will opt for spirited driving on a stellar road over competing in time trials. For those who also enjoy a nice drive, Holley offered a countryside cruise with a digital scavenger hunt.
The cruise gave competitors an opportunity to socialize and take in the winding back roads of Kentucky. Drivers could also take part in a digital scavenger hunt which included a map and a list of items to be photographed as the driver and the driver’s ride-along photographer traversed the pre-planned route. Participants that spotted all of the items and had pictures to prove it was entered into a drawing to win a $500 Holley brand product certificate.
More Really Means More.
In addition to all the racing and driving incorporated in the show, any registered Ford Festival participant could dyno their vehicle and obtain horsepower and torque numbers.
Garage Queens were showcased in the car show portion of the event and judged in a variety of classes.
And the shows swap meet area served as the perfect place to source that hard-to-find part for those actively working on project cars.
Holley’s Inaugural Intergalactic Ford Festival made the most of Beech Bend Raceway and truly offered something for every Ford owner to enjoy.
The 22nd annual NMRA World Finals and the second annual Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival will be held at Beech Bend Raceway and is slated for October 1-4, 2020.
For more information, see Ford Fest.