The second-annual Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational was held at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, the weekend after the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show this past November. This invitation-only event takes 40 of the coolest muscle cars from across the country and puts them to the test. The vehicles compete on a closed-circuit professional road-racing course in four categories that include acceleration/braking, autocross, road course laps and styling. The three racing segments of the event are timed and the styling part is judged on overall vehicle quality, design and craftsmanship. Styling points are awarded on a 1 to 10 scale, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. The vehicle race times are cumulative and combined with the styling points for the overall scoring. Only those competing in all four segments of the event are eligible to win the Ultimate Street Car of the Year title. All vehicles must be street-legal and pass a basic safety and technical inspection at the track before the event begins. The event started bright and early with a drivers meeting, where everyone was put into groups and given a breakdown of the events and courses. After the meeting, all the cars went through tech and got filled up with VP racing fuel. Then the first group of cars was led on a few parade laps to get familiar with the course. After that the second group took the course while the first group went back to the pits to perform any last-minute tweaks. After both groups finished the parade laps the first car was let loose to lay down a lap time. The before the cars could be let loose on the track they had to pass a basic tech inspection. The full list of requirements is on the Optima Invitational web site but some of the big ones are; proof of insurance, helmet, OE or better seat belts, DOT tires (no drag radials, no shaving), proper brake pedal pressure and travel, battery hold down, lug nuts in place and tight, working head lights, taillights and turn signals, safety glass windshield, side windows roll up and down as the factory did and full hoods are required. The before the cars could be let loose on the track they had to pass a basic tech inspecti The BF Goodrich Hot Lap Challenge was held on a 2.2-mile road course that featured banked and off-camber corners, blind drops, along with a long straight that let the drivers put the pedal to the metal. The track allows the driver to take some time to pick a good line around corners to see how well the car will stick to the pavement in a high-speed situation. The driver who turned in the fastest lap time in this event scored a free set of BF Goodrich tires. The Ridetech Street Challenge Autocross was the second event to burn the VP fuel and eat tires. This short course was laid out with cones and featured tight corners and a 360-degree circle towards the end. Most of the competitors just drove the circle as fast as possible without breaking traction, while some drivers decided to drift it. There were a select few that were forced into a drift after getting a little too aggressive with the go pedal. That didn't do much for their time, but it was a kick in the pants to see. Unlike the road course where the driver can take his time to find a good line the autocross is more like a mad zigzag dash in a confined space. The driver who turned in the fastest lap time in this event won a complete Ridetech suspension system. Last year's winner and Super Chevy staffer Steven Rupp and his Bad Penny '68 Camaro came out to defend his title. The former cover car is powered by a stroked LS2 that puts out 480hp to the wheels. It uses C6 Corvette stuff up front and a 3-link with a Watt's linkage in the back. Steve had just recently upgraded to a set of Baer 6P brakes and Hoosier A6 tires in hopes to improve over last year. Unfortunately, Steve lost his power steering pump during the autocross, which slowed him down considerably and put him in fourth place overall. Last year's winner and Super Chevy staffer Steven Rupp and his Bad Penny '68 Camaro came o Scott Mock brought out his LS2-powered '69 Sunoco tribute car. Except for the paint, the car was built entirely by the owner in his garage in just seven months. It has an Art Morrison subframe, Wilwood brakes, homemade 3-link and Anvil carbon fiber pieces. This thing was absolutely awesome and ran a best time of 02:16.0 on the big track and 00:46.2 on the autocross track. Scott Mock brought out his LS2-powered '69 Sunoco tribute car. Except for the paint, the c Ridetech's '66 Chevelle sported a 440-hp small-block and 700R4 from Bowler Transmission. It goes without saying the car has a full Ridetech suspension set up that not only proved to be well balanced it let the car drop down when the air was relived from the Shockwaves. Ty Hauer clicked off a 02:01.8 on the track, 00:09.9 at the speed stop, and 00:47.1 on the autocross. Ridetech's '66 Chevelle sported a 440-hp small-block and 700R4 from Bowler Transmission. I Scott Parkhurst brought out this '67 Malibu wagon to flog around the course. This behemoth of a car has a 545-hp stroked small-block backed up by a T56 trans with a Centerforce clutch. Up front is a Savitske Classic and Custom stage 2 suspension package and a full Hotchkis setup out back with adjustable QA1 shocks. It rolls on Edelbrock 17-inch rims and Nitto 555 rubber. We nabbed this shot as Scott put the big wagon sideways in the autocross event while his crew chief Scott LaPointe sat shotgun. Scott Parkhurst brought out this '67 Malibu wagon to flog around the course. This behemoth Jonathan Goolsby was doing pretty well on the big track until a faint knocking sound came from under the hood. Instead of hurting the car any more he decided to pull off and find out what was wrong. Unfortunately upon closer investigation he figured it was a spun rod bearing. Even though the car didn't place in the performance categories he did however take second place overall in the Speed by Spectre Design/build Challenge. We will have a full feature on this car very soon so stay tuned. Jonathan Goolsby was doing pretty well on the big track until a faint knocking sound came This ultra clean '67 Chevelle is owned by William Shores and was built by Jonathan Goolsby and Josh Henning at Goolsby Customs. The car has a ZZ502 big-block with a Barry Grant 6 Shooter carb set up backed by a Tremec TKO five-speed. Underneath all that slick paint is a full Roadster Shop chassis, Boze wheels, Michelin Pilot tires, Wilwood brakes and was one of the cars selected off the SEMA show floor. Here you can see Jonathan ripping it around the autocross. If you don't think these guys push these cars to the limit, just take a look at the front tire about to come off the rim. This ultra clean '67 Chevelle is owned by William Shores and was built by Jonathan Goolsby 1 | 2 | » | View Full Article By Calin Head Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!