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Optima Street Cars Head To Pike’s Peak Raceway

Mike DuSold’s Camaro aims for the top at Pikes Peak

Jim McIlvaine Jul 15, 2019
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Five different segments make up Optima's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts. Finish at the very top in each segment and you can earn 100 points, making 500 points a "perfect" score for a weekend. The competition in this series has been so tough over the last five-and-a half seasons, that no one has ever compiled a perfect score. However, when Optima's street car series made its fourth stop of the 2019 season at Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR), Mike DuSold's 1967 Camaro came as close to perfect as anyone ever has, grabbing 498 points in the Holley EFI GTL class.

DuSold achieved this feat by winning the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge, the Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial, the QA1 Autocross, grabbing all 100 points on the Lucas Oil Road Rally, and finishing third overall in the PowerStop Speed Stop Challenge, giving him a total of 498 points. That mark ties the series record set by Steve Kepler's Nissan GT-R earlier this season at Daytona. DuSold's Camaro did not compete in that event, but both cars were in Colorado and Kepler's GT-R picked up an impressive 477 points in the Recaro GTS class, two behind class runner-up Jordan Priestley's 2017 Corvette.

After running three of the first four events (point totals are based on a competitor's best three events), DuSold now has a staggering total of 1,488 points out of 1,500, which is seven more points than he had all of last season, when his Camaro beat Ken Thwaits' Evo by a single point for the Holley EFI GTL class championship. While there are still three events remaining in the regular season, it would now take a near-perfect performance from someone in those three events to get past DuSold. Danny Popp's 2003 Corvette is the only other GTL class car to top 490 points so far this season (491), but he'd need to average 499 points in the final two events to surpass DuSold's total.

While the math says it's still possible, DuSold has all but locked up the Holley EFI GTL class championship in just the fourth event of the season. However, there is a lot yet to be decided in the other classes in this series. A total of 18 cars in the Classic Car Liquidators GTV class are scheduled to run at least three events this season, and the points chase there is still absolutely wide open.

Brian Hobaugh's 1973 Camaro took home the class win at PPIR, but he already won and qualified for a trip to Las Vegas earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That sent the invitation for the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) to runner-up Eric Sheely's 1972 Corvette.

The Recaro GTS class was absolutely stacked with tough competitors at PPIR. Since everyone on the podium had already won their way into the OUSCI, the invitation fell to Fourth-place finisher Jake Rozelle. In the GTE class for electric vehicles, Vernon Jolley's 2015 Spark picked up the invitation, but he had to decline a return trip to Las Vegas. Vernon and his wife are celebrating 50 years of marital bliss in 2019, so he promised her they would go on a trip to celebrate, which conflicts with the SEMA show and OUSCI, but we expect him back in 2020.

In the GT class, Anthony Scalici overcame all kinds of transportation issues to finish on top, as he attempts to run all seven qualifying events from his home base of Olympia, Washington. From tow vehicle woes to trailer tire issues, it seems like nearly every possible obstacle is being thrown in his path when he's not on the track. However, once he gets to the track, it's a different story and Scalici's winning performance at Pikes Peak has helped extend his lead over Second place Brian Shelley's 1LE Camaro. Cody Mason had already secured his invitation to Las Vegas in the Outlaw class, so Jeremy Swenson knew he was a lock as the only other competitor in that class. However, he still went out and earned the invitation, topping Mason for the class win.

The search resumes next month at the iconic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. If you're in the area be sure to check out the action, as spectator admission is free. Learn more about the series and how you can get your street car involved at driveoptima.com. CHP

 

Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class (pre-1990, 3,200+ pounds)

  1. Brian Hobaugh, 1973 Camaro
  2. Eric Sheely, 1972 Corvette
  3. Efrain Diaz, 1969 Camaro

 

Recaro GTS Class (post-1989, 3,200+ pounds, two-seaters and AWD vehicles)

  1. Austin Barnes, 2010 Dodge Viper
  2. Jordan Priestley, 2017 Corvette
  3. Steve Kepler, 2013 Nissan GT-R

 

Holley EFI GTL Class (non-compacts under 3,200 pounds)

  1. Mike DuSold, 1967 Camaro
  2. Lynn Proctor, 2005 Dodge Viper
  3. Carrie Willhoff, 2010 Corvette

 

Optima Chargers GTE Class (BEV electric vehicles)

  1. Karen Thomas, 2018 Tesla X
  2. Vernon Jolley, 2015 Spark

 

GTC Class (two-wheel drive compacts, 107-inch wheelbase or less)

  1. Thomas Litton, 1997 Mazda Miata
  2. David Stock, 2006 Mazda Miata
  3. Jordan Cooke, 2015 Ford Focus ST

 

Optima Batteries GT Class (post-1989, 3,200+ pounds, 2wd sedans, four-seater coupes, trucks, etc.)

  1. Tony Scalici, 2018 Camaro
  2. Jonathan Blevins, 2008 Ford Mustang
  3. Wes Drelleshak, 2018 Camaro

 

Outlaw Class (relaxed aero rules, pro drivers allowed)

  1. Jeremy Swenson, 2011 Corvette
  2. Cody Mason, 2018 Corvette

 

Spectre Performance Spirit of the Event Award: Mike Trenkle, 1982 Ford Mustang

 

Remaining 2019 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Schedule:

Road America August 16-17

Auto Club Speedway September 14-15

NOLA Motorsports Park October 5-6

Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational November 9-10

 

2/46

Brian Hobaugh's '73 Camaro picked up its second win of the season the Classic Car Liquidators GTV class. However, two other competitors have already run three events and a third (Chris Smith) still leads him by 12 points after his first two events. If Hobaugh makes it to a third event (probably at Fontana), he could contend for the points championship.

3/46

Two class wins in two events put Cody Mason's '18 Corvette into a commanding lead in the Outlaw class. Will he run a third event and go for the regular season championship?

4/46

The Recaro GTS class continues to be a gauntlet for competitors to navigate. The three cars to win entries coming into Pikes Peak were all there and they grabbed all three podium spots. That sent the OUSCI entry to Jake Rozelle's '03 Z06, which finished out of Third Place by just a single point.

5/46

Mike DuSold's Camaro is setting itself up for a record-breaking season in the Holley EFI GTL class. As the defending OUSCI champion, he is already headed back to Las Vegas, but he's looking to repeat his class championship title as well and it's beginning to look like he'll do that after tying the single-event record with 498 out of 500 points.

6/46

Vernon Jolley's '15 Spark ran well enough to garner an offer to return to Vegas for the Invitational, but he'll have to pass this year, as his 50th wedding anniversary (and keeping his wife happy) trumps car activities.

7/46

With five cars over 400 points at PPIR and the top three within three points of each other, the GT class continues to be the most-balanced and most competitive in the series. This time, it was Tony Scalici's '18 Camaro that came out on top, which netted him his invitation to the OUSCI. He's not done yet though. Scalici is running the full season and is going after the points championship, which he currently leads.

8/46

As Jeremy Swenson's '11 Corvette runs in several different series, the car has been beat on to the point that he acknowledges it would no longer be competitive in the GTS class. That makes the Outlaw class a perfect fit for Swenson, who picked up the win and Vegas invitation.

9/46

Jordan Priestley's podium finish at PPIR moved him into second place in the Recaro GTS points chase, 17 points behind Steve Kepler's GT-R. Priestley has two more events to grab a 492-point performance and get around Kepler and take the lead ... if Kepler doesn't improve his score in his final two events and Austin Barnes can't overtake both of them and defend his title.

10/46

Fourth-gens are a rarity in this series, but Mark Golovin's "Black Betty" Z28 is holding its own, currently sitting fourth in points in the GT class.

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Photography by Jim McIlvaine

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