Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge – Las Vegas

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Last weekend marked the first Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge in Las Vegas, aside from the invitational held after SEMA. This event was number three of ten in the series and was held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a mecca of fuel burning fun in the Las Vegas area.

Driving to Vegas is always an exciting trip, since it’s only about four hours away. For roughly three solid hours it’s nothing but bushes, dirt, and rocks. Then you start to see the faint glow of city lights on the horizon – a few more miles and turns, Las Vegas comes into view with an overabundance of lights, hotels, and fun. But we weren’t there for glitz and glamour, we were there for horsepower and burnt rubber.

A small short opened up a brake line, catching on fire. In a few hours the car was fixed and back on the track!

A small short opened up a brake line, catching on fire. In a few hours the car was fixed and back on the track!

Saturday’s Action

Saturday started bright and early with tech inspections, driver meetings and walking of the courses. The autocross and the speed/stop challenge were next to each other, with a K-Rail enclosed walkway between the two which was great for spectating.

The Detroit Speed and Engineering autocross was a challenging course, with lots of switchbacks just trying to get the ass end of cars to spin around for them. The course was spread out over a large parking lot, making it a faster paced course, with many completing the course in under thirty seconds.

Unfortunately there was one major casualty claimed by the course. A maroon Mustang was pushing his car to the limits – and went a hair too far. The car lost traction, slid towards the K-Rail while completing a 180 degree spin, and slammed the passenger side into the barrier. Crews were there in seconds, and the driver was okay – minus some hurt pride. He drove the car off the course, fixed it, and was back out for the rest of the event.

The Wilwood Brakes street stop challenge was an exciting event to watch as well, with lots of people getting into the excitement. The drivers started with a long sweeping left turn, which led into a straight away. There was a slight jog in the middle of the straight away, then they had to slam on the brakes.

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Many just clipped the cones in the jog, and a few overshot the stop box, plowing through a few cones. The Black Widow Exhaust S-10 had a hard time keeping the truck inside the box, and the back end of the truck often swung around, but he managed to stay inside the box.

The other event going on Saturday was the Lingenfelter Design and Engineering challenge. This is where a select group of judges look over every single car. They are looking for things like overall look of the car, fabrication, how street worthy it is, etc. This means that an all out “street legal” race car isn’t going to judge as high as the guy who still has a full interior in his ride. Afterall, this is the search for the ultimate street car!

Raining on the Thurmond's down I-15!

Raining on the Thurmond’s down I-15!

Weather Permitting

All day Saturday it was fairly windy, but not overly cold. However looking off in the distance towards the South, you could see dark clouds and rain. The R-word was forbidden to be spoken around drivers, as they wanted all the traction they could get. But as the day went on, it was apparent rain was on it’s way. By 5PM you couldn’t see the mountains to the South, only a thick haze of rain.

The drivers then hopped in their cars shortly after 5PM to start the road rally. A few drops, but nothing major until they hit the interstate. That’s when the flood gates opened and the highway had puddles of water all over it. Again, these are street cars, so they flipped on windshield wipers – if they had them working – and cruised away.

Road Course Action

Luckily, the crazy rain from Saturday night cleared up, the clouds moved out, and Sunday was a beautiful day. The participants were eager to get on the Falken Tire Hot Lap road course and push their machines to the max. After some warm up laps where they get to learn the course, they were let loose!

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Right off the bat a C4 Corvette fell casualty to the extremes of the road course. Smoke started billowing out from underneath the car, and the race came to a stand still until the car was removed. The other car that had a tiny bit of trouble was Jake Rozelle in his ’69 Camaro, when he decided to see how the car liked the dirt. No harm was done to his car, and he was back on the track seconds later.

Overall, the event was a great success – even being somewhat of a last minute addition to the schedule. We can’t wait till the next event! As always, results and a massive gallery are below:

GTV

Registrant (16) Car # Road Rally Design Hot Lap Autocross Speed Stop Score Rank
Mike Maier 22 25 16.9000 25 25 25 116.9000 1
Jake Rozelle 19 25 20.7000 22 22 22 111.7000 2
Larry Woo 52 25 21.3667 20 18 16 100.3667 3
Chad Ryker 17 25 19.9333 12 16 18 90.9333 4
Cris Gonzalez 47 25 18.1667 13 20 14 90.1667 5
Martin Pond 33 25 18.6000 11 14 15 83.6000 6
Michael Hamrick 66 25 21.4000 15 8.39 12 81.7900 7
MIke Armienti 21 25 19.1333 8.39 12 11 75.5233 8
CHERYL HERRICK 54 25 20.8333 8.8 11 8.8 74.4333 9
Valerie Pichette 55 25 19.5667 8.59 13 8.18 74.3367 10
Randall Pond 31 25 14.5667 9 9 8.59 66.1567 11
John McKissack 87 25 2.8333 18 8.8 9 63.6333 12
Wes Drelleshak 84 0 12.5667 16 15 20 63.5667 13
james crosby 26 25 13.2667 8.18 8.18 8.39 63.0167 14
Timothy Katz 82 0 13.5333 14 8.59 13 49.1233 15
Efrain Diaz 70 0 0.0000 0 0 0 0.0000 16

GTL

Registrant (12) Car # Road Rally Design Hot Lap Autocross Speed Stop Score Rank
Brandon Ranvek 39 25 19.1333 22 25 25 116.1333 1
Alexandra Zust 59 25 19.5667 16 22 22 104.5667 2
Rich Willhoff 14 25 18.4667 25 15 20 103.4667 3
John Lazorack III 50 25 21.2333 20 18 18 102.2333 4
Karl Dunn 40 25 15.5333 18 20 15 93.5333 5
Sammy Valafar 77 25 14.2000 15 16 16 86.2000 6
Kenneth Allan Mitchell 16 25 19.7667 14 14 13 85.7667 7
Jane Thurmond 45 25 20.5000 12 13 14 84.5000 8
Gregg Biddlingmeier 69 25 18.1333 13 12 11 79.1333 9
Frank Farace 13 25 16.6333 11 11 12 75.6333 10
Joe Escobar 27 0 18.9333 9 9 9 45.9333 11
Duke Langley 18 0 0.0000 0 0 0 0.0000 12

GT

Registrant (18) Car # Road Rally Design Hot Lap Autocross Speed Stop Score Rank
Danny Popp 10 25 19.9333 25 15 25 109.9333 1
Ken Thwaits 81 25 17.9333 22 25 18 107.9333 2
Jordan Priestley 36 25 19.3667 20 20 22 106.3667 3
Andrew Nier 15 25 17.9000 18 22 20 102.9000 4
Matt Alcala 72 25 18.1333 12 16 15 86.1333 5
Todd Rumpke 11 25 17.2333 16 11 16 85.2333 6
Robert Sanderson 53 25 18.1667 15 18 9 85.1667 7
Don Gonzales 38 25 17.9667 13 14 14 83.9667 8
Keith Jurcazak 23 25 17.0000 11 13 12 78.0000 9
Dannie Pinard 29 25 17.7667 14 12 8.8 77.5667 10
Cliff Elliott 24 25 18.8333 9 9 8.59 70.4233 11
George Dias 28 25 17.9000 8.39 8.8 8.18 68.2700 12
Martha Gregory 35 25 18.1667 8.59 8.18 7.98 67.9167 13
bill speed 86 0 15.3667 8.8 8.59 13 45.7567 14
Jade Barlow 41 25 0.0000 0 7.98 11 43.9800 15
kevin shaw 20 25 0.0000 0 8.39 8.39 41.7800 16
Jeff Vance 51 0 0.0000 0 0 0 0.0000 17
Ryan Volk 74 0 0.0000 0 0 0 0.0000 18

EC

Registrant (1) Car # Road Rally Design Hot Lap Autocross Speed Stop Score Rank
mark figuerado 71 0 0.0000 0 25 25 1

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