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OPTIMA Invitational

Posted: Oct 12, 2013

2013 OUSCI Preview- John Kundrat's 1964 Chevrolet Corvette

Like several other qualifiers for the 2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN Filters, John Kundrat knew several months in advance that he was headed to SEMA and the OUSCI. With that knowledge, the question then becomes how do you spend all that time before heading out West?

After John locked up his invite to the OUSCI at Road America, he then went on to run events at Gingerman, Kershaw, Pittsburgh International and Nashville Speedway (can you tell he is an American Street Car Series regular?). All that track time is not only a good idea for OUSCI competitors, but par for the course for John, who has compiled more than 50,000 miles on this combination. One of the other events he attended, but didn't mention in his update was the Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus. It was at that event, where we can get a glimpse into what might come at the OUSCI.

Kundrat competed in the Goodguys Street Machine class in the autocross, where he finished an impressive eighth overall in a rather large field. What is notable about his finish are both the names in front of him and those behind him. Ahead of him were past and current OUSCI competitors, Ken Edwards, Yancy Johns, Bob Bertelsen and a guy named Danny Popp (2011 OUSCI Champion). Finishing directly behind him was Danny Popp in a different car. With company like that, it's safe to say Kundrat has to be considered amongst the favorites in the Ridetech Autocross.

However, post-PPG Nationals, things get a little sketchy for what Kundrat has been doing. The challenge for OUSCI competitors once they know they're in is that they want to get their car dialed-in. However, if they want to modify it, they'll probably miss out on a lot of events that will help dial it in. If they run in the events and then modify their car, they'll risk not getting it dialed-in by SEMA. From what John has been telling us lately, we'll put him in the risk-taker category.

Corvette purists can rest easy, knowing Kundrat's '64 Stringray was a rotted heap when he bought it at the Carlisle swap meet several years ago. As we've mentioned before, John did the vast majority of the work himself over a four-year period. Notable exceptions were Charlie Menerovic, who body-blocked the car before John laid down Goodwood Yellow paint and John Lehman, who did the stitching on the interior pieces.

The performance data on the LS1 matches what John told us earlier this year. It is stuffed with Wiseco pistons, K1 rods, Dart Pro 1 heads, an LS6 intake and a Comp cam, producing 410 horsepower and 405 lb.-ft. of torque at the wheels. The transmission is standard LSX fare- a T56 with a Mantic twin clutch. Suspension components were sourced from both a C4 and C5 on a SRIII chassis. Wilwood brakes round out a package that weighs in at 3,140 pounds (Lil John, as his nickname suggests, doesn't add much more to that equation) with a 51/49 weight distribution.

However, John happened to make mention that he is swapping out his short block, clutch, brakes, springs and "etc" (whatever that includes) as you read this preview. He expects the motor to be back in by October 13th, but who knows if that will happen or if it does, how long it will take to button up the rest of the car. IF Kundrat knows what the new combination is capable of, he isn't showing his hand just yet, so be prepared for a significant upgrade.

It's not like Kundrat's Stingray is a bare-bones, thinly-disguised track car. It features a Pioneer stereo with navigation and an iPod, as well as Sirius/XM radio, a DVD player, cruise-control and six-way power seats from a C5. That's a whole lot of wiring to wrangle, but if it comes together, it should show well in the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge, especially if the judges take a peek underneath the chassis and see the fully-polished, oval-shaped exhaust system John installed, featuring Magnaflow mufflers.

The car is the complete package and built at a level that was good enough to be featured in Corvette Fever back in November of 2009, as well as the September 2013 issue of Corvette Magazine and a Driven article in the October 2012 issue of Popular Hotrodding. John is both a skilled mechanic and a skilled competitor. With that basis of knowledge, we fully expect him to have his car in good running order, with the only potential hiccups coming along as one would expect as he begins to put another 50,000 miles on the clock.

Kundrat also knows his competition well and even though his performance numbers don't suggest his Stingray is capable of contending for an overall victory in the OUSCI, John is hoping for a top-20 finish. You can see how he does in person, but you'll need to buy your OUSCI tickets soon. Less than 500 remain and the pace at which they are sold always picks up steam as SEMA approaches.

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