2017 Optima Street Car Invitational – Las Vegas, NV

The 2017 OPTIMA Street Car Invitational made its final stop of the year last weekend at LVMS (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) for their grand finale. As usual – it delivered an exciting two days of action as nearly 100 super cars thrashed for championships in six classes and five segments as well as the crown for the 2017 Ultimate Street Car (overall winner.)

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel Curve

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveThe OUSCI is one of America’s premier racing events for not only Pro-Touring machines, but for imports and exotics who think what they have what it takes to be the best. Held on the infield at LVMS, competition is featured in the series’ five divisions: Road Rally, Design & Engineering Challenge, Road Course Time Trials, AutoCross Time Trial and the Speed-Stop Challenge. Putting these machines through different disciplines leaves no doubt who has the Ultimate Street Car.

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel Curve

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveStarted in 2008, the series was the brainchild of OPTIMA Batteries’ Director of Marketing Cam Douglass, with the goal of taking the amazing performance vehicles from the SEMA Show floor and letting them do what they’re designed and built to do – perform. The series now comprises seven events held at road courses throughout the nation leading to the grand finale in Sin City. The competitors, like the IMSA Series, are divided into six different classes including GT, GTS, GTV, GTC, GTE and GTL providing a nice mix of machines of various makes and models. This year’s OUSCI field of nearly 100 vehicles has at least 14 different marques represented. OPTIMA Batteries also awarded 10 at-large invitations to vehicles directly from the SEMA Show floor. Highlights of these “Golden Ticket” winners included Pat & Eric Sheely’s ZL1 Camaro, along with ICON 4×4’s LS7-Swapped 1958 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce!

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveOptima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveLike the year-end Goodguys AutoCross championship, Cincinnati’s Danny Popp has dominated the proceedings having won the overall OUSCI Ultimate Street Car crown a record four times behind the wheel of his Lingenfelter-powered C5 Corvette. Mark Stielow, the Godfather of the Pro-Touring movement has won it twice while others have included Brian Hobaugh and his 1965 Chevrolet Corvette in 2013, and Bruce Cambern in 2010 in his 2005 Ford GT. The script played a little differently this year.Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel Curve

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel Curve

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveOptima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveThe weekend activities were supercharged from the start. Held Saturday and Sunday, the competition really heated up on Sunday with the road course laps, road rally and the design and engineering challenge taking center stage after Saturday’s AutoCross and Speed Stop Challemge. Each class crowned its individual winners as the day wound down. At approx. 5pm local time, Tennessee’s Ken Thwaits and his 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was announced as the official winner 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at LVMS.

While Thwaits and his all-wheel drive terror were named overall winner, it was a banner day for imports as three of the six classes included wins by a foreign marque.

Class winners included:

GTE Class – Matthew Scott’s 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
GTC Class – Scott Budisalich’s 2006 Honda S2000
GTV Class – Larry Woo’s 1968 Chevy Camaro
Franklin Road Apparel GT Class – Bryan Johnson’s 2013 Chevy Camaro
Recaro GTS Class – Austin Barnes’ 2010 Dodge Viper
Holley EFI GTL Class – Ken Thwaits’ 2006 Mitsubishi Evo

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveTo celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event, the top competitor in each class was awarded a Class Cup as well as a complimentary entry into a qualifying event for the 2018 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car (OSUSC) season.

Optima Batteries OUSCI, AutoCross, Road Racing, LVMS, Fuel CurveIf you want to catch the television coverage of all the OUSCI action it will be broadcast on MAVTV on Friday, December 1 at 8:00 p.m.

Photo Extra!

Photography by Steven Bunker, Terry Lysak with additional pictures courtesy of the promoter
Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

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