OPTIMA’s Ultimate Street Car at Road America: We take a look at the points chase after the mid-point of the 2024 season!


OPTIMA’s Ultimate Street Car at Road America: We take a look at the points chase after the mid-point of the 2024 season!

(Words by by Jim McIlvaine, Photos by Kaleb Kelley) OPTIMA’s Ultimate Street Car series, presented by Advance Auto Parts, makes seven stops before the grand finale in Las Vegas. Road America not only marked the second East coast event of the season, but also moves the series more than halfway to the regular season finish line. That made it seem like now was a good time to look at the points chase in each of the classes, starting with the Nine Lives Racing Lucky 7 Outlaw Class.

Danny Weller currently holds the lead in his 2019 Camaro, while defending class Champion, Duke Langley is still searching for his second clean run of the season in his 2002 Corvette. He has one more shot to do it on the West coast and he’ll need to post a score of at least 399 points to get around Weller in Portland. He’ll have his hands full to do it, because Jon Bickford’s Tesla Model 3 is scheduled to run Portland and is a very tough car to beat on the Peak Performance Challenge and the Classic Car Liquidators Autocross.

In the Speedtech GTV Class, defending class champion, Chris Smith picked up his second win of the season at Road America in his ’70 Camaro. That gives him a healthy lead over second place Ryan Breezee’s ’69 Camaro. The only other driver currently in the top-5 in points, who is scheduled to run again this season is Smith’s son, Jason, who is unlikely to catch his dad…this year. That doesn’t leave a clear path to a repeat championship though, as Larry Woo, Ron Scott and Jason Bottenfield all have more than capable cars, that we’re likely to see again before the year is out.

The clock is ticking for Stephen Dorrick in the No-Limit Engineering GTT Class for trucks. Dorrick struggled at the season-opener at Sebring and hasn’t made it back on track since. With Portland a logistical nightmare for the New Jersey resident, he’ll likely wait for the final two events of the regular season at Summit Point and VIR. There won’t be much room for error at either track, because David Carroll’s ’74 Blazer has posted 886 points to lead the way.

That means anyone challenging his lead will need to average at least 444 points out of 500 in their best two events this season. Besides Carroll and Dorrick, only two other trucks, Dustin Reed’s ’72 C10 and Connor Hoovler’s ’72 F100, have demonstrated that level of performance in the last two seasons. Both of those trucks posted strong finishes at Portland, which is the next stop on the schedule.

It seems early to favor Bob Sobey to repeat as the regular season champion in the After Dark Speed GTS class, but he holds a healthy lead over the field and no one seems poised to reel him in. Jordan Priestley’s Tesla may be waiting for his moment to strike at the OUSCI, when he has a full field of Teslas to back him up on the Autocross and Peak Performance Challenge and CB Ramey seems focused on trying to get his Porsche on the track, even though he’s qualified already in his C8 Corvette.

Lane Farka’s 2015 Porsche GT3 holds a solid lead in the Lingenfelter GTL Class, but it’s by no means safe. Defending class champion, Ryan Mathews, still has two runs left in his Corvette at Summit Point and VIR and his championship was won last year with two late-season runs. CB Ramey’s ’69 Porsche 912 would run in the GTL Class due to the LSx swap and remains a darkhorse contender, if he’s able to get the car finished in time.

The Geaux Moto CTC Class championship for compact cars seems to be Dayton de la Houssaye’s to lose at this point. It would take at least two 450+ point weekends to catch him and the only two contenders who have shown that capability in the last two seasons. Darren Garvin would need two runs to do it and is only signed up for one more. The other driver is Dayton’s dad, Troy. The elder de la Houssaye posted a 451 at the season-opener and is scheduled to run again at Summit Point and would only need a 456 to tie him up and make things interesting. If that were to happen, the tie-breaker would be the higher finishing position at the OUSCI.

Speaking of that tie-breaker, Dave Schotz’s ’22 Camaro, the current points leader in the Viking Performance GT Class for late-model musclecars is currently tied with Bob Sobey’s ’13 Nissan GT-R for the regular season grand championship. If neither scores more points before the end of the season, the regular season grand champion title will also be decided in Las Vegas.

Looking back to the GT Class points chase, Schotz has set the bar very high, but that needs to happen to win a championship in this class. Jonathan Blevins should know, because his Shelby GT500 won the regular season championship four times in a row before Schotz’s Camaro took over the crown last year. Blevins still has two runs left in him this year, as does Austin Barnes in his sleeper Ecoboost Mustang. Either one of those drivers is certainly capable of pushing Schotz to the limits for a championship.

The next stop is at the end of July at Portland International Raceway and it should give us even more clarity as to who the championship contenders are on the West coast. You can learn more about the series and how you can get involved at www.DriveOPTIMA.com

Top Ten Overall at Road America

1. Dave Schotz 2022 Chevrolet Camaro GT 494 points

2. Lane Farka 2015 Porsche GT3 GTL 486 points

3. Chris Smith 1970 Chevrolet Camaro GTV 480 points

4. Ray Ellsworth 2008 Dodge Viper GTL 464 points

5. Randy Johnson 1969 Chevrolet Camaro GTV 462 points

6. Brandon Hurst 2021 Tesla Model S GTS 457 points

7. Dayton de la Houssaye 2016 Mazda MX-5 GTC 448 points

8. Jeff Schwartz 2022 Lamborghini STO GTV 447 points

9. Brad Larsen 2016 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 443 points

10. David Carroll 1974 Chevrolet Blazer GTT 440 points

2024 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Schedule

February 23-25th Sebring Raceway

March 1-3rd Thunderhill Raceway

May 3-5th Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca

June 28-30th Road America

July 26-28th Portland International Raceway

August 16-18th Summit Point Motorsports Park

October 4-6th VIRginia International Raceway

 

QA1 First Timer Award- Tim Gordon, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Anderson Composites Competitor’s Choice Award- Mike Tilkian, 1969 Ford Mustang

Operational Speed Supply Most-Improved Driver- Ginger Davis, 2017 Chevrolet Corvette
 


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