ChallengerFest 8 April 21 - 23, 2017

 

We have another ChallengerFest in the books and this made number 8. Time flies. The weather didn't cooperate 100%, but everyone still had a great time, and great attitudes, about the challenges mother nature was throwing our way. This really goes a long way to show what a great bunch of folks attend ChallengerFest and who make lemonade out of lemons.

 

Before I get too far in to the story, I want to be sure to thank the folks who volunteer, and work very hard, to make ChallengerFest the event we all hope it to be. Mrs. Lisa, aka BayouTigress, the beautiful red head who only races in heels sets up the goody bags each year, helps with general event organization, and helps run the event registration. I could not have such a smooth event without Lisa's help, and thanks to her husband Chuck for his behind the scenes help as well. Thanks to Phil who helps me with race rules and classes each year, runs the car show, and gets vendors situated upon arrival while I handle the first rush at the track gates. Thanks to Phil's wife Dianna as well as Mrs. Speedy for helping with registration again this year as well as Jenny and Amy who were actually event attendants the past few years who just jumped in. Registration is one of the most hectic items to manage each year and these ladies do a fantastic job.Thanks again to all of you for supporting ChallengerFest each year.

 

 

 

Billet Technology was our TITLE SPONSOR again for 2017 and came in force this year bringing Nick Billlet's newly acquired Hellcat Challenger M6. As in years past, Billet Tech sponsored the ENTIRE car show all the way down to furthest driven and furthest trailered, and Heidi really went all in to help the Racing4Vets charity. I'm thankful to have such an easy to work with title sponsor who's so interested in giving back to the community. Nick proved to be quite consistent in his M6 Hellcat as well and it was good to see him take it on it's maiden voyage.

 

 

ChallengerFest 8 Car Show Winners. As you can see the prizes are SUBSTANTIAL!

 

 

Car Show Prize/Sponsor Winner
Stock
1st BT $500 Cert #536 Mike Maness
2nd BT $250 Cert #50 Jack Fu
3rd BT $100 Cert #128 Joe Spicer
Modified
1st BT $500 Cert #120 Joe Underwood
2nd BT $250 Cert #129 Christopher Chilton
3rd BT $100 Cert #18 Clark Maier
Custom
1st BT $500 Cert #131 Jason Turner
2nd BT $250 Cert #106 Kyle Casper
3rd BT $100 Cert #132 Dane Parks
Furthest Driven $250 BT Cert #36 Bill Meredith (1000 miles)
Furthest Trailored $250 BT Cert #99 Chuck and Lisa Nicholson (600 Miles)
Best of Show $500 BT Cert #114 Bernie Lawrence
Best Engine Bay $500 BT Cert #118 Rick Scotto

 

 

Racing!

 

The racing program was intended to be a two day event again for 2017 but mother nature had other plans. When I arrived at the track early Friday morning, I was sitting in the tower with Dallas Jones, track owner, and we were watching dark black clouds move past the far end of the track. Dallas looked at me and said "Speedy, this doesn't look too good son." The weather is about the only thing at ChallengerFest that I can't control, so I just pray for good weather each year and let that be that. The clouds moved around the track only sprinkling for a few minutes. The track dried, and we were off to the racing! Due to the threat of weather we accelerated the racing program on Friday to include all race classes and got them all in with just minutes to spare before the weather went south again. I checked the radar about lunch time just to see how it looked as the track was partly sunny and dry, and everywhere around us it was raining. I took a quick shot of my cell phone's screen as it was pretty crazy. Divine intervention? :)

 

 

 

 

With the accelerated racing program we had quick TNT from 9am - 10am followed by the Drive Shaft Shop 6 Speed Shootout. This is the heads up class for the manual transmission guys and gals to see who's the quickest at rowing the gears. In the end #007 Leon Epling took the win in his HIGHLY modified Hellcat Challenger with some secret sauce only James Bond is privy to :) #43 Howie Rumjahn in his OST built turbo 426ci powered Yellow Jacket Challenger took 2nd, followed by #432 Nick Billet of Billet Technology in 3rd with his M6 Hellcat that was stock as far as I'm aware. The Drive Shaft Shop offered a $750 certificate for 1st, $500 for 2nd, and $250 for third toward the purchase of Drive Shaft Shop products.

 

 

Next up we had the Modern Mopar Forum Unlimited Shootout which is another heads up class for the fastest of the fast with straight up cash payouts for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. #007 Leon Epling in yet another Hellcat, only this time a Charger, took the win. #6942 Austin Walters in his 69 Road Runner that looked like a real handful going down the track took 2nd, followed by #104 Glen Graham in 3rd.

 

 

Next up was the Thitek Index class. This was a little something different for ChallengerFest 8 and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. Cars ran a qualifying round to dial in their times, and were paired up based on their indexes of 7.90, 8.90, 9.90, 10.90, 11.90, 12.90, 13.90, and 14.90. This made things interesting as it came down to a driver's race. Once all index class winners were deteremined, they faced off in a fast 8 to determine the King of the Index class winner. #116 Chris Shawver in his 2015 Hellcat with a little giggle gas was the overall winner on a 9.90 index. Chris took home a $1000 certificate toward Thitek products.

 

 

Next up, we had the A2speed Bracket Class. This is generally our most attended race class as anyone can win, from the fastest to the slowest car. Bracket classes level the playing field so highly modified all out race cars can compete with stock, or mostly stock, counterparts. #1947 Frankie Walters, Austin's father from earlier, took the win in his RAM 1500 pick up. #105 Dan Yost took 2nd followed by Mr. Consistent John Govenettio #1266 in 3rd. The A2Speed prize pool consisted of a $500 certificate for 1st, $300 for 2nd, and $200 for 3rd.

 

 

Summit Racing sponsored our best 60' of the day which went to #6942 Austin Walters with a 1.28 60''.

 

 

Solo-Performance sponsored our best reaction time of the day which went to Ken Kimak aka HemiMan with a .002.

 

 

Finally we had Lorie Boroday win Fastest Female piloting Ron Polidora's bright yellow Hellcat Challenger to a 12.4. This was Lorie's first trip down the drag strip and Ron turned the car down to 500HP and coached her through the burnout and staging process. Once the lights dropped she was gone and never lifted till wll past the traps!

 

OST Dyno sponsored track prep for the entire day insuring our racers had the best possible racing surface. The track was prepped about every 20 minutes with a mix of rubber and "gold dust" to keep the coefficient of friction as high as possible for our racing.

 

 

Beech Bend Raceway was great to work with as usual and worked quickly and as efficiently as they could to keep things moving. I really enjoy having ChallengerFest at Beech Bend each year and have gotten to be pretty close with the owner and the employees. They're a great bunch of people.

 

Once the racing concluded we continued our normal program of car show over at the Holiday Inn Convention Center. There were delicious offerings for dinner from FlyBoys and "My Dawg" hot dogs and brats. Most of us began to gather in the hotel lobby as the night rolled on, telling racing stores, comparing car mods, and talking future plans we had for our rides.

 

Saturday I had hoped we'd get in a few more hours of just fun racing, but it wasn't in the cards. I called the track about 8:30am and they called it due to weather. We decided to continue the car show on Saturday, and our friends over at Martin Dodge had us all down for lunch on the house as it were with FlyBoys serving more great food. We all hung out for a couple of hours and headed back to the hotel to prepare for the awards and Racing4Vets auction.

 

 

Here are the ChallengerFest 7 Race Class Winners

 

Best 60' Summit $100 gift card Any Mopar #6942 Austin Walters 1.28
Best Reaction Time Solo Catback Exhaust Any Mopar #225 Ken Kimak .002
Worst Run of the Day Speedy's Garage Any Mopar #8 Billy Duhe broke Getrag
MMF Unlimited Shoot Out
1st MMF $$$ Cash Any Mopar #121 Jason Epling (Leon Epling)
2nd MMF $$$ Cash Any Mopar #6942 Austin Walters
3rd MMF $$$ Cash Any Mopar #104 Glen Graham
DSS 6 Speed Shoot Out
1st DSS $750 cert Manual Trans Modern Mopar #007 Leon Epling
2nd DSS $500 cert Manual Trans Modern Mopar #43 Howie Rumjahn
3rd DSS $250 Cert Manual Trans Modern Mopar #432 Nick Billet  of Billet Technology
A2Speed/B&G Bracket Race
1st A2Speed $500 cert Any Modern Mopar #1947 Frankie Walters
2nd A2Speed $300 cert Any Modern Mopar #105 Dan Yost
3rd A2Speed $200 cert Any Modern Mopar #1266 John Govenettio
Thitek Index Race
1st Thitek $1000 gift certificate Any Gen III HEMI powered Mopar #116 Chris Shawver
Fastest Female Racer
1st Speedy's Garage Any Mopar Lorie Boroday in Ron Polidora's #54 Hellcat 

 

 

We had several vendors on site sponsoring ChallengerFest 8. These included Martin Dodge, Muscle Car Apparel, Eastcoast Moparts, and BFNY Performance, These folks had displays showing off their products and builds and were on site to help contenders as well with any questions or car issues. This is really a great community. The City of Bowling Green, KY Convention Center and Visitor's Bureau also sponsored your event. It's nice knowing we have a car friendly town welcome us each year.

 

 

The Racing4Vets Charity Auction was another huge success for 2017. Through the generous contributions by our vendors like Billet Technology who donated one of their sets of BILLET VALVE COVERS with any custom colors or engraving included, East Coast Moparts who donated several items, Modern Mopar Forum who donated a very cool Mopar mini fridge, Barton who donated one of their 6 speed shifters, BFNY who donated a stall converter, Whittinghill designs, Wozniak Woodworks, Mrs. Cruzking who donated one of her very popular hand made wall art quilts, and many others who personally made donations or donated personal items like Chuck and Lisa Nicholson. The 50/50 was also very popular this year with half the proceeds going to the winner and the other half to Racing4Vets. We raised right at $10,000 for Racing4Vets!

 

 

That's a wrap on ChallengerFest 8. I've already begun conversastions with the City of Bowling Green on ChallengerFest 9. See you guys in April of 2018!