Although we all enjoy walking around shows and checking out the coolest-looking trucks, there's something undeniably awesome about seeing those same trucks start their engines and go head-to-head on the track. This desire for a performance truck challenge led us to create THROWDOWN presented by Airaid, a comprehensive test of acceleration, speed, handling, braking, and style. We have hosted the event in California for several years, but we wanted to expand east, so last year we partnered with Holley performance products to include it in their yearly LS Fest event. Located at Beech Bend Raceway, nestled among the rolling hills of Bowling Green, Kentucky, LS Fest brings together all things powered by LS V-8 engines. In truck terms, this means '99-and-newer GM fullsizes, as well as S-10s and classic Chevys that have had heart transplants. Twelve trucks took part in this year's THROWDOWN at LS Fest, but after two days of intense competition, only one came out on top.

The Events

In typical THROWDOWN form, the victor was determined by a combination of five events: autocross, drag, slalom, speed stop, and show-and-shine. The gauntlet began the morning of Friday, September 7th with the autocross course. Set up inside Beech Bend's central circle track, this technical cone course served as an excellent overall test of handling, power delivery, and driving skill. Several of our participants had no road racing experience, so maintaining traction through the tight hairpin corners was difficult. That night, the trucks swapped out tires and took turns blasting down the famed quarter-mile dragstrip, a more familiar territory for many of our drivers.

The following morning, the trucks returned to the strip once more, this time to test their brakes at the speed stop challenge. Drivers accelerated from the starting line, then braked as late as possible to come to a complete stop inside a box of cones, and the driver with the quickest overall time (and no cones knocked down) won the event. The slalom event came Saturday afternoon, as each truck snaked carefully between six cones spread in 100-foot intervals. This test was held at the end of the dragstrip, resulting in a few tense moments as trucks spun out mere feet from the concrete barriers. Finally, each driver submitted a vote for the best-looking show-and-shine truck of the 12, with an additional vote given to our host, Holley's Marketing Director Bill Tichenor.

After determining the top five trucks for each event, we awarded five points to the winners, four points to those in Second Place, and so on down to one point for Fifth Place. After tallying up the points, we had our ranking. Note that in the case of a tie, we used the number of events the truck took a top five podium finish in as the tiebreaker. And, in the case of trucks that tied in both points and number of podium finishes, we prioritized performance events over show-and-shine.

With more competitors than ever and a wide variety of build styles and platforms, it's clear that the performance truck scene is alive and well. That's certainly a good thing, since we've grown fond of the head-to-head tire-decimating action of THROWDOWN. Talk to any of our drivers and they'll agree-a weekend behind the wheel doesn't get much better than this.