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Plenty of Action at Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational Qualifier Event from NCM Motorsports Park

The Ultimate Street Car Search Visits Vetteland: NCM Motorsports Park plays host to the fourth qualifier for Optima’s Ultimate Street Car Invitational

Jim Mcllvaine Jun 9, 2015
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The fourth qualifying event for the 2015 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational was held at the brand-new NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on June 6-7, 2015. Even though the Hot Rod Power Tour was starting up just a few states away and Goodguys was running an autocross just up the road in Indianapolis, the Optima qualifier was a sell-out. Over 75 competitors from more than 20 different states and Canada converged on Bowling Green for a weekend of hard-driving action.

With a field that large, competition for coveted qualifying spots was fierce, but Chevys once again dominated, winning three of the four classes. Brian Finch won the GTV class in his 1971 Camaro, Danny Popp won the GTL class in his 2003 Corvette, and Ryan Mathews won the GT class in his 2012 Camaro. It took a 2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S piloted by Clay Shearer to take down Chevys in the GTS class, with the Corvettes of Brad Yonkers and Paul Curley rounding out the podium. If class winners have qualified at previous events, the invitations go to the next-highest finisher, which included Bryan Johnson’s 2013 Camaro in the GT class and Andy Smedegard’s 2006 Mitsubishi Evo in the GTL class.

Ken Thwaits’ $3,000 bounty for new Mustang and Challenger competitors also remains unclaimed. For those unfamiliar, Thwaits’ has issued a $3,000 bounty to the first late-model Mustang or Challenger owner to beat him and win the GT class. Jeremiah Stotler’s 2015 Mustang came as close as anyone has to date, but he still finished behind Thwaits in fifth place out of 28 cars in the GT class. Thwaits did open the door on Saturday, as his Camaro had a close encounter with a new guardrail on the Wilwood Speed Stop Challenge (in-car video will be available soon on the Showtime Motorsports YouTube Channel). Luckily, Thwaits had a 2015 Camaro back at home and his Showtime Motorsports crew was able to scavenge the required parts to keep his 2014 Camaro in action all weekend long.

The next event is June 20-21, 2015 at Michigan International Speedway. If you’d like to get in on the action, sign up at driveoptima.com

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Detroit Speed Autocross Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 2/30

Do you ever wonder if the people who build your performance parts actually know how to use them? You don’t have to wonder if you buy from Detroit Speed Inc. They not only have cars in all these events – they win. As was the case with Ryan Mathews’ 2012 Camaro in the GT class.

Holley Welcome Party Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 3/30

Holley Performance sponsors all the Saturday night welcome parties at these events and since they were in Bowling Green, they swung open their doors to host the party as well. Amber Ball takes advantage of an unsupervised buffet line and snags a second cookie.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Holley Welcome Party Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 4/30

These events aren’t just about what times can be run on a racetrack. The road rally portion ensures all vehicles are street legal and capable of handling whatever is thrown at them. This rally route took Tim Strange’s 1968 Camaro past the iconic National Corvette Museum.

1995 Chevrolet Camaro Wilwood Speed Stop Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 5/30

Buddy Buchanan asked the brakes on his 1995 Camaro to help him out, but they declined, and several cones on the Wilwood Speed Stop Challenge fell victim as a result.

2003 Chevrolet Corvette Wilwood Speed Stop Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 6/30

Danny Popp is the defending OUSCI Champion and has an automatic invite to return. However, he still runs in qualifying events to keep an eye on the competition. He held off several tough Mitsubishi Evos to win the GTL class.

2005 Chevrolet Silverado Wilwood Speed Stop Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 7/30

Jason Marascio drove his Crew Cab Silverado up from Texas to compete in the Bowling Green event. He said event organizers received complaints about his driving (Mustang owners were upset he was beating them on the Detroit Speed Autocross.)

1971 Chevrolet Camaro Falken Road Course Time Trial Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 8/30

Brian Finch’s 1971 Camaro won the GTV class for pre-1990 vehicles, earning his sixth invitation to the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Falken Road Course Time Trial Drive OPTIMA NCM 2015 9/30

If you had paint as nice as Mark Turner does on his 1967 Nova, you’d tape it off on the road course, too. Judges in the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge appreciated his finish as well, awarding him top honors.

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