Battle In Bowling Green: OPTIMA’s Search For The Ultimate Street Car Series Hits NCM Motorsports Park


Battle In Bowling Green: OPTIMA’s Search For The Ultimate Street Car Series Hits NCM Motorsports Park

(Words by By Jim McIlvaine) The regular season of OPTIMA’s 2021 Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts, wrapped up at NCM Motorsports Park on October 10th, leaving lucky qualifiers less than a month to get their cars turned around and headed out to Las Vegas. There was plenty of carnage at NCM Motorsports Park, with defending OUSCI champion, CB Ramey, having his day end early with his car spitting out parts, as it spun backwards on the Falken Tire Road Course time trial.

Ramey was joined by Doug Wind, who literally drove the wheel off his Dodge SRT-4 and Dayton de la Houssaye, whose Miata simply stopped running on Sunday for no obvious reason. Luke Vigneault’s Dodge Challenger suffered a failure in the suspension system and even cars that finished the weekend under their own power, like the GTS Class Champion Nissan GT-R driven by Bob Sobey are seeing their engine and transmission get pulled for a refresh before heading to Vegas.

Last-minute thrashes are part of the territory not just for OUSCI competitors, but for SEMA Show attendees in general, but do the last-minute upgrades really pay off? The answer could be “it depends.” The OUSCI will be run for the 14th time this year and there are plenty of success stories to cite, but plenty of others, who had a great-looking car put together in time for the show, only to have it fall flat on it’s face in competition. It’s certainly a gamble, but that’s to be expected for anything that goes down in Sin City.

Some started rolling the dice in Bowling Green, including Jamie Elliott, who hadn’t run all season long, but came out at the season finale and grabbed the final entry for the Outlaw Class, which will compete for the Outlaw Cup in Las Vegas. Nathan Popp’s ’95 Camaro was another last-minute entry in the GT Class, but he turned in a dominating performance that resulted in a surprise entry in the OUSCI.

The Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class saw a four-way battle for the championship with a quartet of Camaros seeking out top honors. Jason Bottenfield’s first gen Camaro emerged victorious over the second gen Camaros of Nick Relampagos and Jim Stehlin and Wayne Atkins’ third gen. Meanwhile, Paul Bulski’s ’71 Buick GS, which was previously-projected to be the first car on the wrong side of the cut line, turned in the performance it needed to earn a Vegas invite, while finishing seventh in the class. Jesse Vaughn’s Square Body was another entry that had to turn in a solid run at NCM, if it wanted to get to Las Vegas and delivered when it mattered most.

The SEMA Show will happen this year and when it does, expect to see cars compete in the Peak Performance Challenge at the SEMA show for the first time ever, before heading out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the weekend. If you can’t make it to Vegas, you can always catch the TV series, as it airs every Friday night at 8PM ET/PT on MAVTV. You can see the top finishers in each class below, as well as the regular season champions and a full gallery of images. If you want to get in on this action, head over to www.DriveOPTIMA.com to get all the details.

 


GT Class (post-1989, 3,200+ pounds, 2wd sedans, 4-seater coupes, trucks, etc…)
1. Nathan Popp, 1995 Chevrolet Camaro
2. James Thomas, 2016 Ford Mustang
3. Jesse Shafffer, 2015 Chevrolet SS

Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class (pre-1990, 3200+ pounds)
1. Jason Bottenfield, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
2. Nick Relampagos, 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
3. Wayne Atkins, 1985 Chevrolet Camaro


GTS Class (post-1989, 3200+ pounds, two-seaters & awd vehicles)
1. Bob Sobey, 2013 Nissan GT-R
2. Ryan Mathews, 2002 Chevrolet Corvette
3. Brian Tyson, 2013 Chevrolet Corvette

Holley EFI GTL Class (non-compacts under 3200 pounds)
1. CB Ramey, 1987 Chevrolet Corvette
2. Troy de la Houssaye, 2021 Audi TT-RS
3. Rob Edmonds, 2001 Chevrolet Corvette

No Limit Engineering GTT Class (Trucks & SUVs over 3200 pounds)
1. Jesse Vaughn, 1978 Chevrolet C10
2. Scott Maeyaert, 1972 Chevrolet C10
3. Ken Kelley, 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

GTC Class (two-wheel drive compacts, 107-inch wheelbase or less)
1. John Laughlin, 2007 Honda S2000
2. Dayton de la Houssaye, 2009 Mazda MX-5
3. Doug Wind, 2004 Dodge SRT-4

Outlaw Class (relaxed aero rules, pro drivers allowed)
1. Jamie Elliott, 2010 Chevrolet Corvette
2. Chris Howell, 2005 Chevrolet Corvette
3. Jeremy Salenius, 1965 Ford Mustang

Summit Racing Spirit of the Event Award:
Carl Roeger 1968 Chevrolet El Camino

Regular Season Champions:

Outlaw Class: Anthony Palladino, 1969 Datsun Roadster
Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class: Jason Bottenfield, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
No-Limit Engineering GTT Class: Preston Folkestad, 1984 Chevrolet C10
GTS Class: Bob Sobey, 2013 Nissan GT-R
Holley EFI GTL Class: Jake Rozelle, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette
GTC Class: John Laughlin, 2007 Honda S2000
GT Class: Jonathan Blevins, 2008 Ford Mustang

2021 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Schedule
Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 20-21
NOLA Motorsports Park April 10-11
Willow Springs International Raceway May 28-29
Atlanta Motorsports Park June 19-20
Utah Motorsports Campus July 17-18
Road America August 20-21
NCM Motorsports Park October 9-10
OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational LVMS November 6-7


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