Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsEvents
Blevins' Mustang wins in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car series
Mustangs Stampede Out West
The fourth stop in OPTIMA's 2017 Search for the Ultimate Street Car series sent competitors back out West to Pike's Peak International, where the series saw what may have been the most-stacked field to date. Up until this event, multiple cars in the Franklin Road Apparel GT Class were able to post 400+ point performances, but that all changed in Fountain, Colorado. Series heavyweights from both coasts converged on the roval that has become a favorite track of many in the series and laid it all on the line.
Wheel hubs broke, engines blew and egos were summarily crushed as competitors in five different classes pursued coveted invitations to the 2017 SEMA Show and OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) in Las Vegas. Jonathan Blevins' supercharged GT500 posted it's lowest point total of the season (388), but that was best in class on this weekend and he punched his ticket to Las Vegas. Mike Maier's 2017 Mustang wasn't far behind in second place, but it was Cliff Elliott's fifth-place finish that propelled him past Blevins for the points lead in the series.
Robert Weathers' 2017 Camaro was sold to Chad Langley, so his point totals to date are now rendered meaningless as they relate to an invitation to Las Vegas, which opens the door for other hopefuls in the class, including Vernon Jolley's 2013 Mustang, which is now in fifth place and Saroja Raman's Mustang, which took the weekend off, but remains inside the top-ten. Two-time class champion, Bryan Johnson's 2013 Camaro still remains the car to beat, but he'll have his hands full as Elliott, Blevins and Maier continue to apply pressure.
Troy Seyfer's V8-swapped 2001 Focus became the first Blue Oval to run in the Holley EFI GTL class this season for lightweight vehicles, but he will be joined later this year by Ryan King's Fox-body Mustang, Dom Tucci's Fiesta, Jim Crews' 1967 Fastback and Rod Johnson's 1980 Zephyr station wagon.
The RECARO GTS Class continues to challenge everything from Vipers and GT-Rs to Vetttes and Evos, with the Ford flag still being carried by Mike Gallagher and Todd Earsley, who are each running a 2016 Ford Focus. Earsley finally returned to action after missing the first three events with a blown head gasket, but his climb back into contention will be long, as he currently resides in 36th place. Meanwhile, Mike Gallagher keeps plugging away in his RS and has now moved into third place in the class, thanks to an 11th-place finish at PPIR.
The series takes an extended break until late-August, when it will resume on back to back weekends, running first at New Jersey Motorsports Park on August 26th and 27th, before flipping coasts and heading to Auto Club Speedway on September 2nd & 3rd. The 2016 season will continue to re-air each weekend on MAVTV, starting Friday nights at 8PM Eastern, with the 2017 season gearing up for a premiere in late-August or early September. If you'd like to get involved in the series in your street car, head over to www.DriveOPTIMA.com to read up on the rules and find out where you can sign up to run with the world's ultimate street cars.
GTV Class (Pre-1990, 3,200+ pounds)
1. Brian Hobaugh, 1973 Chevrolet Camaro
2. Larry Woo, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
3. Greg Thurmond, 1965 Chevrolet Corvette
RECARO GTS Class (Post-1989, 3,200+ pounds, two-seaters & awd vehicles)
1. Austin Barnes, 2010 Dodge Viper
2. Jake Rozelle, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette
3. Jeremy Swenson, 2011 Chevrolet Corvette
Holley EFI GTL Class (Any non-compacts under 3,200 pounds, including forced induction vehicles)
1. Rich Willhoff, 2006 Chevrolet Corvette
2. Mike DuSold, 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
3. Brandon Ranvek, 2006 Mitsubishi Evo
GTC Class (Naturally-aspirated two-wheel drive compacts, 107-inch wheelbase or less)
1. Kevin Schultz, 2008 Honda S2000
2. Cody Mason, 2013 Scion FR-S
3. Anthony Cuthbert, 2015 Dodge Dart
Franklin Road Apparel GT Class (Post-1989, 3,200+ pounds, 2wd sedans, 4-seater coupes, trucks, etc...)
1. Jonathan Blevins, 2008 Mustang
2. Mike Maier, 2017 Mustang
3. Chad Langley, 2017 Camaro
*SPECTRE Performance Spirit of the Event Award: Alex Peitz, 2011 Cadillac CTS-V
2017 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Schedule
Las Vegas Motor Speedway: March 18-19
New Orleans Motorsports Park: April 22-23
National Corvette Museum: June 3-4
Pike's Peak International Raceway: July 8-9
New Jersey Motorsports Park: August 26-27
Auto Club Speedway: September 2-3
Road America: October 7-8
OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational: November 4-5