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