(Words by Jim McIlvaine, Photos by Kaleb Kelley & Royce Rumsey) Bob Sobey’s Nissan GT-R became the third vehicle to successfully mount a title defense in the 16-year history of the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) presented Advance Auto Parts. The first two to accomplish that feat were Danny Popp in his 2003 Corvette and Mike DuSold in his 1967 Camaro, which puts Sobey’s GT-R in very elite company. His margin of victory over second place also increased by six points from the prior year, but that’s no guarantee Sobey will be resting on his laurels for the 2024 season.
Eight of the top-10 cars from the 2022 OUSCI returned to Las Vegas to take another shot at Sobey and came up short, but several narrowed the gap. While Sobey’s GT-R enjoyed a larger margin of victory in 2023 (13 points vs 7 points in 2022), Sobey’s overall score only improved by three points from the prior year. At the same time, fourth-place John Falkner’s Camaro improved by 12 points, eighth-place Ryan Mathews’ Corvette improved by 13 points, runner-up Jordan Priestley’s Tesla improved by 22 points and third-place Chris Smith’s Camaro improved by 29 points.
It’s incredible to think that just six years after the first Tesla competed in the series, Jordan Priestley’s Model 3 is knocking on the door for an OUSCI title and Sobey’s Nissan GT-R was the only car preventing that from happening in 2023. In fact, all four Teslas finished inside the top-20 and to date, no Tesla has ever failed to complete one of these events due to a mechanical issue.
Between the Teslas and the improvements made by others, Sobey could have a very hard time matching Danny Popp’s record of three consecutive OUSCI victories in 2024. At the same time, several top competitors, including the Camaros of Dave Schotz and Brian Hobaugh and the Mustangs of Matt Ramirez and Jonathan Blevins all had unusually disappointing performances early in the competition, which they all aim to remedy before the 2024 season-opener. The list of contenders is long and doesn’t appear to be shrinking.
If there’s anything that can be said about the OUSCI, it’s that it definitely earns the “Ultimate” moniker in its title. To stand still in this event and the qualifying series that feeds into it, is to fall backwards. Too many others are constantly finding ways to perform better on the track and look better while doing it. See a massive photo gallery from this event below and be sure to catch the TV series when it airs later this year on the CBS Sports Network. Registration for the 2024 season will open on January 5th at HYPERLINK “http://www.DriveOPTIMA.com” www.DriveOPTIMA.com
Top Ten Overall
1. Bob Sobey 2013 Nissan GT-R 487 points
2. Jordan Priestley 2021 Tesla Model 3 474 points
3. Chris Smith 1970 Chevrolet Camaro 460 points
4. John Falkner 2021 Chevrolet Camaro 455 points
5. Ryan Breezee 1969 Chevrolet Camaro 453 points
6. Dave Schotz 2022 Chevrolet Camaro 447 points
7. Brian Hobaugh 1973 Chevrolet Camaro 445 points
8. Ryan Mathews 2002 Chevrolet Corvette 445 points
9. Austin Barnes 2020 Ford Mustang 436 points
10. Mike Rovere 2008 Chevrolet Corvette 432 points
2024 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Schedule
Sebring International Raceway Feb 23-25th
Thunderhill Raceway Mar 1-3rd
Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca May 3-5th
Road America June 28-30th
Portland International Raceway July 26-28th
Summit Point Motorsports Park August 16-18th
VIRginia International Raceway October 4-6th