An All-Nighter at LS Fest West Got This S2000 Back in the Fight

Brandan Gillogly

Thomas West and the crew at Renegade Racing made a valiant effort to win the Stick Shift/Banger class at LS Fest West, qualifying at the top of the field while rowing through a T-56 six-speed manual. Their racing plans were derailed, however, when a rogue rod decided it was done with racing and caused some serious carnage in their Honda S2000’s 427 LS V-8. Only slightly deterred, the team decided to press on and see if they could get the car ready for Saturday’s race.

Brandan Gillogly

LS engines have been swapped into an array of cars, trucks, boats, and even aircraft. They are certainly doing well carrying the mantle of the original small-block Chevy. Despite its stellar reputation for compact, lightweight performance, you still might be surprised to see an LS under the hood of an S2000, a car renowned for its spirited, high-revving four-cylinder and balanced chassis. However, if you plan to hit the dragstrip, then a twin-turbo 427-cubic-inch LS engine makes sense.

During a quarter-mile pass on Saturday, the engine’s aftermarket block cracked and the wayward #8 rod broke, battering the fabricated aluminum oil pan and sending shrapnel through the engine. It managed to take out the timing chain, allowing the remainder of the rods to send pistons into the open valves, causing further havoc. Rather than pack up for the weekend, the Renegade Racing crew pulled the shattered engine and put out an APB for a replacement bottom end. They found a 408 short block locally and spent Saturday night and into the early morning on Sunday tearing the old engine down and buttoning up the new 408 with the same twin-turbocharged induction as their shattered 427.

The straight edge shows how much damage was done from the impact of the broken rod.Brandan Gillogly

We got to see some of the carnage first-hand, and the team was still in good spirits as connecting rod shrapnel was cleaned up and the long wrenching session loomed. We can’t say for sure if the team’s attitude remained jovial, as we had other plans (sleep), but when we returned early on Sunday, the car was up and running with its new engine and ready to take on the competition.

Brandan Gillogly

Although the all-nighter got the car ready for Sunday’s Stick Shift/Banger class racing, West got a bad launch and the engine bogged down, allowing his opponent to earn the win. Speaking with West on Sunday, he was proud of his team’s accomplishment, noting that despite the massive setback they got the car to the line and lost the race “fair and square.” It sure beats giving up a forfeit.


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