The Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational was presented by Royal Purple Synthetic Oil and K&N Filters. Big cubes, big power and classic steel gather at a remote track in the Nevada desert to battle for bragging rights as America’s ultimate street car.
Like many great ideas, this one started when Day and Cam Douglass threw ideas at each other over lunch. This is the sixth staging of the ‘Invitational’, and promoter Jimi Day stresses the importance of the term. “There are many ways to get an invitation,” he says. “We have a 10-event qualifying series of which we choose one to four competitors from each event. Troy Trepanier is here because he won the Goodguys 2013 Street Machine of the Year with his ’69 Ford Torino. We also have our Golden Ticket winners from SEMA,”
A Golden Ticket invitation for the unititiated is essentially a similar scenario to the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie stumbles upon a winning Wonka bar and gains an entrance. These Golden Tickets are wildcards awarded to vehicles on display at the SEMA Show which allow entrance to the Street Car Invitational.
The field is an eclectic mix of muscle cars, classics, hot rods and modern performance vehicles. The Invitational scores invitees in five categories: Road Rally, Design, Hot Lap, Autocross, and Speed Stop, for a possible total of 110 points. The 50+ invitees to this years event are all driven, maybe not daily, but often enough to cruise. To prove this, the invitees drive a 40km Road Rally through Las Vegas on Friday starting at 3pm and ending up at the Carroll Shelby Museum.
This year the event took place in front of the largest spectator crowd the event has ever seen. A day full of action with quick lap times and even a few surprises along the way. However in the end Brian Hobaugh was crowned the overall winner, driving his 1965 Corvette to top finishes in the Ridetech Street Challenge Autocross as well as the Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed Stop Challenge. The competition as always was very close, with defending champion, Mark Stielow in his 1967 Camaro and former OUSCI Champion, Danny Popp piloting his 2010 Camaro, built by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering also in the running.
Brian had a ten point lead over the defending champion Mark Stielow, but it was close between Mark and Danny with only a single point separating the two.
“The drivers pushed their cars as hard as they possibly could, and their lap times show it. All the participants were fantastic, and all of the spectators at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club were able to witness a truly exciting event,” said Cam Douglass, Director of Product Development and Marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. “It was a terrific example of how capable and entertaining street-legal cars of all makes can be. All three of the top finishers proved their cars are truly exceptional performers, delivering outstanding results in each of the various driving challenges.”
Top Ten Overall Finishers
Brian Hobaugh, 1965 Corvette
Mark Stielow, 1967 Camaro
Danny Popp, 2010 Camaro
Brian Finch, 1971 Camaro
Karl Dunn, 1968 Camaro
Todd Earsley, 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII
Steve Kepler, 2013 Nissan GT-R
Kyle Tucker, 2012 Camaro
Bret Voelkel, 1933 Ford Coupe
Larry Woo, 1968 Camaro
The sponsors for this year’s event consisted of BFGoodrich Tires, Detroit Speed and Engineering, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, Ridetech and Wilwood Disc Brakes. And finally, associate sponsors include Magnaflow Performance Exhaust, The Roadster Shop and Centerforce Performance Clutch.