The Optima Ultimate Street Car Association series 2017 season opener took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend. With a reduction in the number of events from 10 to 7, this may be the only non sold out event of the season. Across all classes, 65 cars earned points with a class breakout as follows:
- GTV – 13 cars
- GTS – 17 cars
- GTL – 10 cars
- GTC – 3 cars (new compact class for 2017)
- GT – 22
- GTE – 0 cars (new electric class for 2017)
The famous Las Vegas wind stayed away the whole weekend and we enjoyed sunny warm days on both Saturday and Sunday. The event format also changed for 2017 with the Speed Stop event moving from Saturday to Sunday and all competitors cycling through the autocross all day on Saturday.
USCA GTV (Vintage) Class Recap
GTV saw a bit of a shakeup in drivers with longtime series competitors moving around. Previous class champion Jake Rozelle switched from the 1969 Camaro to a C5 Corvette and competed in GTS for this event. Multi-time GTV winner and runner up for the 2016 class championship Mike Maier switched from his 1966 Mustang “Old Blue” to “New Blue” a 2017 Mustang. At one point Old Blue was his wife Brianne’s car. Maybe she wanted it back? John Lazorack and Greg Thurmond, who previously competed in the GTL both decided to add weight and come over to GTV.
As Saturday came to a close all cars had a chance to go through three events. Design & Engineering, Autocross and the Road Rally. The top 5 standings at the end of Saturday were:
|1||John Lazorack III||1988 Chrysler Conquest Tsi||283|
|2||Efrain Diaz||1969 Chevrolet Camaro||258|
|3||Nick Relampagos||1970 Chevrolet Camaro||250|
|4||Chad Ryker||1968 Chevrolet Camaro||247|
|5||Greg Thurmond||1965 Chevrolet Corvette||244|
Sunday saw a shakeup in the ranks. Not all cars made it back into competition Sunday. The new format of mixing Speed Stop in between Road Course runs also increased the difficulty factor on both car and driver. At the conclusion of Sunday the drivers sitting in the top 5 didn’t change, but some of the positions did. With Falken RT615K+ equipped cars sweeping the top three spots, the final top 5 GTV standings were:
|1||John Lazorack III||1988 Chrysler Conquest Tsi||470|
|2||Efrain Diaz||1969 Chevrolet Camaro||427|
|3||Chad Ryker||1968 Chevrolet Camaro||418|
|4||Nick Relampagos||1970 Chevrolet Camaro||410|
|5||Greg Thurmond||1965 Chevrolet Corvette||390|
Check out my Falken RT615K+ Review.
Congratulations John Lazorack III on the first GTV Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational invitation!
Ride along with the AutoXandTrack Camaro, Red Apex, as it chases down Camaros, Vettes, Porsche’s and more.
USCA GTS (Sport) Class Recap
GTS saw many fast competitors return and the addition of Jake Rozelle in his just completed C5 Corvette. This would be his maiden voyage and first time testing the car in any way. At the end of Saturday the top 5 standings were:
|1||Brian Hobaugh||2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||290|
|2||Lynn Proctor||2005 Dodge Viper||287|
|3||Glen Barnhouse||2012 Chevrolet Grand Sport||286|
|4||Robert DeuPree||2010 Dodge Viper||283|
|5||Jake Rozelle||2003 Chevrolet Corvette||282|
Sunday would see movement all around the top 5 ranks. In fact, the first tie of 2017 took place between Jake rozelle and Glen Barnhouse with D&E giving Glen the win. After the GTS class completed all events the final standings were:
|1||Glen Barnhouse||2012 Chevrolet Grand Sport||475|
|2||Jake Rozelle||2003 Chevrolet Corvette||475|
|3||Lynn Proctor||2005 Dodge Viper||474|
|4||Brian Hobaugh||2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||472|
|5||Thomas Smith||2005 Subaru STI||459|
Congratulations to Glen Barnhouse for the first GTS Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational invitation!
USCA GTL (Light) Class Recap
GTL saw the return of some of the fastest drivers of 2016. Such as the 2016 Grand Champion Rich Willhoff and multiple event winner Ken Thwaits. With the best power to weight ratio cars in the series and some of the best drivers it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the fastest lap times in Autocross, Speed Stop and the Road Course all came from the GTL class. Halfway through the weekend the top 5 standings were:
|1||Rich Willhoff||2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||294|
|2||Robert DeuPree||2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||293|
|3||Ken Thwaits||2006 Mitsubishi EVO||291|
|4||Scot Spiewak||2003 Chevrolet Corvette z06||277|
|5||Ryan Johnson||2006 Lotus Elise||257|
Once the awards ceremony on Sunday came to a close the final standings in GTL were:
|1||Rich Willhoff||2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||493|
|2||Ken Thwaits||2006 Mitsubishi EVO||490|
|3||Robert DeuPree||2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||479|
|4||Scot Spiewak||2003 Chevrolet Corvette z06||442|
|5||Ryan Johnson||2006 Lotus Elise||415|
Congratulation to Rich Willhoff on the highest score of the weekend and the first GTL Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational invitation!
USCA GTC (Compact) Class Recap
The GT Compact class is new for 2017. However, word is still getting out and we only saw three competitors in this class. Two of which are spec Miata racers. Standings at the end of Saturday:
|1||Kevin Schultz||2008 Honda S2000 CR||266|
|2||Bob Boileau||2014 Mazda MX-5||232|
|3||Sammy Valafar||2016 Mazda MIATA||227|
Bob Boileau enjoyed spicing up the Sunday driver’s meeting with discussions on bump drafting and what constitutes a proper point by between high HP cars and low HP cars. However, neither Miata topped the podium at the end of Sunday. Final GTC results were:
|1||Kevin Schultz||2008 Honda S2000 CR||404|
|2||Sammy Valafar||2016 Mazda MIATA||349|
|3||Bob Boileau||2014 Mazda MX-5||346|
Congratulations to Kevin Schultz for the first ever GTC Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational invitation!
USCA GT Class Recap
The GT class was the largest class by far at the first USCA event with 22 cars competing for the win. As noted in the GTV recap this class is the new home of Mike Maier and his 2017 Mustang. How would he stack up against some of the long time series competitors such as Jordan Priestley? At the end of Saturday, things were looking good for Mike.
|1||Mike Maier||2017 Ford Mustang GT||277|
|2||Cliff Elliott||2016 Ford Mustang GT||274|
|3||Jeremiah Stotler||2015 Ford Mustang GT||266|
|4||J Priestley||2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS||265|
|5||Jonathan Blevins||2008 Ford Mustang||258|
After the dust cleared on Sunday, GT had the 2nd closest finish of the weekend with only a single point separating first and second place! Final standings for GT were:
|1||Mike Maier||2017 Ford Mustang GT||447|
|2||Cliff Elliott||2016 Ford Mustang GT||446|
|3||J Priestley||2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS||439|
|4||Jeremiah Stotler||2015 Ford Mustang GT||423|
|5||James Hodges||2014 Chevrolet Camaro||415|
Congratulations to Mike Maier for the first GT Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational invitation and another Falken RT615K+ equipped car taking the top spot in it’s class!
Pictures courtesy of Optima Batteries.