OPTIMA's 2015 Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series, presented by Advance Auto Parts, spanned nine events over seven months in eight different states. The goal is to find the ultimate street car (or truck) and invite all the top contenders to the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI), which takes place immediately after the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Competitors are awarded invitations in four different classes at each event and season-long point leaders also receive invitations to the SEMA Show and OUSCI. After nine events, more than 370 cars and trucks were whittled down to a field of 67 qualifiers, which will be joined by other entries, including selections from the SEMA Show. Chevrolet more than held it's own against the massive field of entries, snaring 29 qualifying spots, including nine Corvettes and 15 Camaros.
A pair of Camaros also captured the regular season titles in two different classes- Kyle Tucker's 1970 Camaro in the GTV class and Bryan Johnson's 2013 SS in the GT class. Tucker also accumulated the most overall points in the series. The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational will be held November 7th and 8th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The entire series is also televised with episodes airing every weekend on MAVTV (check your local listings).
Larry Woo ran his 1968 Camaro in five qualifying events this season, helping him drive to a runner-up position in the GTV points chase and securing a qualifying position in the OUSCI. He also won the Participant's Choice award at the final qualifying event in Fontana, California.
20-year old Cody Mason works for Ken Thwaits' Showtime Motorsports, and when Thwaits fell ill before the event at Auto Club Speedway, Mason was tabbed as the replacement. He more than held his own, earning a qualifying spot in Thwaits' Camaro for the OUSCI. Thwaits had previously qualified several vehicles, so he'll still be able to compete in one of his other rides.
Bryan Johnson was in an absolute dogfight in the GT class all season long with defending OUSCI champion, Danny Popp. The chase for the championship came down to the final event, where Johnson held off Popp to capture the season championship.
CHP contributor, Mary Pozzi brought out her Gran Turismo award-winning Camaro for the Fontana event. Fresh off yet another SCCA national championship, Pozzi pushed her F-body hard all weekend, snagging a fourth-place finish in the 33-car GTV field.
Don't let the name fool you, this series is very much open to street-legal trucks. Frank Farace brought his 1994 C1500 out for some fun in the Fontana event at Auto Club Speedway.
Tony Grzelakowski had accumulated a significant amount of points in three prior events in the GTV class, but he took no chances and made the long haul from Michigan, to secure his spot in the OUSCI. The strategy worked and Grzelakowski locked in an invite for his 1970 Chevelle for Las Vegas.
Brian Hobaugh had long ago secured his invite to the 2015 OUSCI, but Fontana offered a great opportunity to shake down his C5 before the season finale in Las Vegas. Hobaugh took the top spot in the Detroit Speed Autocross in the GTS class, but mechanical issues sidelined him before Sunday's run on the road course.
As the defending OUSCI champion, Danny Popp had an automatic invitation to return to the season finale. He ended up splitting time between his C5 Corvette and the Lingenfelter L28 Camaro. Coming into the final event of the year, he had to choose between dialing in his Corvette for a title defense or gunning for the regular season GT title. He opted for the latter and came up short, but still finished in the top-10 in both the GT and GTL classes on the season.
Rich Willhoff needed a strong performance in the final qualifying event to secure a spot at the OUSCI. His C6 delivered in spades, accumulating enough points on the season to earn an invite to the event. That wasn't necessary though, as he punched his ticket to Las Vegas by winning the GTL class outright at the event.