The Ultimate Power Source ™

OPTIMA Invitational

Posted: May 24, 2012

How 32% makes a difference in the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational

When we mention qualifying events for the 2012 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, one of the more common responses we hear is some version of, "Oh, my car isn't really right for that, but I'm working on '69 Camaro that would be perfect!" It is understandable how folks might think that, based on the cars that have participated in past OUSCI events, but we always encourage folks to give their non-Camaros a second look, because our selection committee does.

The OUSCI is an invitation-only event and while Camaros and their Pontiac brethren have been very popular platforms for competitors in past years, those cars are far from a lock for being selected, let alone being competitive. While the "SC" in "OUSCI" often seems to be an afterthought for some of our competitors, the street car component of this competition is always solidly on the radar of both the selection committee and judges.

Nowhere is this more evident than the Road Rally and Style Design portion of the OUSCI. Those two segments comprise nearly 32% of the total score for the entire event. Does that make a difference? Consider the '67 Nova entered in the 2011 OUSCI by Phil Gerber of The Roadster Shop.

Even though Phil is a seasoned competitor, the Nova did not place in the top-20 in any of the performance competitions, with his 27th-place finish in the autocross being the closest he came to scoring points in those events. However, the craftsmanship of the Nova blew away our judges and Phil won the Style Design portion of the event, which elevated him to a top-20 overall finish.

The extra point he received from the Road Rally portion of the event moved him into a tie for 16th place. Had Phil picked up the maximum 10 points available to everyone in the Road Rally portion of the event, he would've moved into a tie for 13th place.

Ace builder JF Launier was in a similar position last year with his '57 Chevy Bel Air. His 3rd place finish in the Style Design competition placed him in the top-25 overall and the ten points he picked up in the Road Rally elevated him to a 15th-place finish.

On the flip side, Mark Rife's '63 split window Vette just missed out on Style Design points by three positions. The 20 points he picked up in the Speed/Stop Challenge and the autocross put him squarely in the top-25, but because he only earned one point in the Road Rally, he missed out on a finish that could've been as high as 15th place.

Likewise, when the temperature dropped and the snow started flying in the mountains, the idea of driving around in the road rally for several hours in a topless Corvette became very unappealing to Matt Farah. The nine Road Rally points he left on the table dropped him from 38th to 52nd overall.

At the end of the day, the OUSCI and our qualifying events are about having fun and getting some great exposure for our participants, the automotive aftermarket and the companies that support the event. We encourage everyone to keep that in mind and not think for a second that their car or truck is not what we're looking for.

All one needs to do is look at some of the vehicles we've picked in the past- a Volvo, PT Cruiser, VW Bug, '52 Chevy Business Coupe or '56 Ford F100, to see that we really are looking for cars and trucks that cover a broad spectrum, both old and new. Now that you know we may be looking for your car or truck, head over to www.ousci.com and sign up today for one of our qualifying events today!

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