In the LSX All-Motor class,...
In the LSX All-Motor class, Ashley Gable, in the white Trans Am in the foreground, gets the wheels up trying to hold off Kevin Patterson's black Trans Am. But the LSX-converted black '95 Firebird was destined to go the distance and, after winning this round, went on to defeat Judson Massingill's number-one qualified School of Automotive Machinists' (SAM) Camaro in an upset victory in the final.
When the first-ever GM Performance Parts LSX Shootout was announced last year, the internet-savvy LS-powered community took notice, and LSX specialty shops immediately began planning on how best to strut their stuff at this event-within-an-event. Memphis had been the location of the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) Hot Rod and Muscle Car Nationals for years, but this was the first time that the LSX-specific race, car show, and dyno competitions would take place in conjunction with the NMCA finals. The event kicked off on October 11, and ran with the full NMCA program until well after dark on Sunday, October 14, when the LSX Shootout victors were crowned alongside the NMCA Championship series winners.
The midway and pits began to fill up in earnest on Thursday, as the NMCA vendor circus was now augmented by an additional 40-plus LSX-specific vendors from as far away as California. Racers also made an impressive showing under the forecast of excellent weather, some coming all the way from Canada to settle who's got the baddest LSX-powered vehicle on the continent.
Thursday evening featured an open test and tune. Another test and tune session occurred on Friday, a few hours before the real fireworks began with qualifying for the heads-up racers. The LSX racers were also invited to mingle with the NMCA regulars at the annual NMCA racer barbeque sponsored by Bob and Sue Curran, Team Midnight, and Nitto Tire, featuring a live band courtesy of Bassani Exhaust, a huge prize giveaway. A 50/50 raffle capped off the evening.
The late-model GTOs are perfect...
The late-model GTOs are perfect for a road trip to Memphis, and a number were seen on the track and in the car show arena as well. Here, Daniel Pharis' '06 GTO heats the hides in the LSX Index Showdown Class, but was also entered in the LSX True Street Class and in the LSX Car Show.
By Saturday afternoon, 16 LSX car show winners were crowned, with another set of 16 to be awarded for the Sunday car show. Specific awards for different LS-powered vehicles were given out each day, so Firebirds, GTOs, Camaros, Trailblazers, and Cadillacs were given their own class trophies. Additional awards for LSX paint, stance, specialty, hybrid (LSX transplant), interior, and engine were also awarded each day, with the car shows being run alongside the NMCA car show. A total of 75 different First Place awards were handed out between the LSX and the NMCA car show winners for the weekend.
Warren "The Professor" Johnson, Event Grand Marshal and Pontiac Pro Stock Hall of Fame driver, seemed to be everywhere, chatting with fans and participants in the pits, doing some track announcing, signing autographs, and handing out car show awards. There was no lag in the action, as the NMCA series finals provided an eclectic mix of domestic V-8-powered muscle from classic to present on the racetrack and show field. If you love American muscle, there was bound to be a racer on the property that campaigned something interesting, and the drivers seemed genuinely pleased to talk with fans, despite being very busy.
Mike Brown brought his '99...
Mike Brown brought his '99 Trans Am from Huber Heights, Ohio, and was another LSX competitor who showed the versatility of the LS-series engine, grabbing the title of "King of Memphis" in the overall National Muscle Car Assocation (NMCA) True Street category. Mike then converted the car for serious LSX Drag Radial Class duty, falling to eventual class winner Tom Kempf, despite running a quicker e.t.
Saturday saw an amazing 87-car field of True Street competitors, as the regular NMCA True Street Class ran simultaneously with the LSX classes, but was scored separately.
The True Street Class required an escorted 30-mile cruise through town to prove the true road-worthiness of the cars. All those who completed the "cruise" were stacked and racked in the lanes and given three consecutive runs, which were then averaged to determine the winners. The overall quickest average was crowned "King of Memphis," but there were also index awards given to closest average to 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-, 14- and 15-second flat-time brackets, so almost anyone could win. If you lifted your hood at any time during the cruise or the three-run process, you were eliminated. To make matters worse, the sheer number of cars slowed the 30-mile cruise to a crawl which, coupled with the sunny weather, made attrition high; 10 racers didn't complete the program.