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Posted: Dec 05, 2013

OUSCI Competitor Karl Dunn's 1968 Chevrolet Camaro

karl-dunn-chevrolet-camaro-OUSCI-2013_247.jpgEven though the field for the 2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN Filters, was as diverse as we've ever had, six of the top-10 competitors were Camaros. One of those F-bodies is owned by Karl Dunn, who also competed in the 2012 OUSCI. Would Dunn be able to improve upon his seventh-place finish from 2012?

Dunn knows the competition gets tougher every year and he also knows he benefitted from some top contenders having off days last year. With as much knowledge of the field as Karl had coming into the event, he felt he'd be lucky to even finish in the top-10 this year. That was especially true, considering Dunn blew up his engine just a week prior to SEMA, while he was dialing in his shocks at an autocross.

Even with that setback, Dunn felt he brought a stronger car to this year's competition. That seemed to play out in the results as well. Dunn had no issues with his last-minute engine swap on the Detroit Speed Road Rally and unlike last year, Dunn scored significant points in the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge, tying Ed Moss' Mustang for sixth place overall in that event.

On the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge, Dunn improved on is best time of 1:50.692 last year, by running a 1:49.469 this year. Dunn knew the competition was getting tougher and his eighth-place time last year would've put him in tenth place this year. As it was, his faster lap time allowed him to match his eighth-place finish of a year ago. Karl was thrown off a bit by some slight changes in the runoff area at the track. "The new runoff as you were entering the turn onto the back straight caused the corner to seem much tighter than I remembered it last year," said Dunn. "I remembered it as a 90° corner, but it seemed more like a 120° this year and it messed with my head every lap."

Karl was also able to duplicate his finishing position in the RideTech Autocross, where he edged out Steve Kepler's Nissan GTR for seventh place by .034 thousandths of a second.  Dunn wasn't so fortunate on the Wilwood Speed Stop Challenge, where tight competition relegated him to 16th position, just .005 seconds behind Dax Snow's Lamborghini and ten positions back from his finish in 2012.

In spite of that setback, the Camaro's points in the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge helpe elevate it's overall finishing position to fifth place in this year's field. "This year's field was impressive," said Dunn. "Supercars, early and late-model Mustangs and Camaros, as well as all-wheel drive tuners making 500 to 1000 hp. The OUSCI had it all!"

Indeed the OUSCI field was packed with powerful and diverse vehicles from a broad spectrum of the automotive aftermarket. We even had pro driver,Randy Pobst, piloting a Mercedes E63 wagon as a camera vehicle. "If I could've done something different, it would have been to toss Randy Pobst the keys, so I could see what kind of times my car was really capable of," said Karl. Bret Voelkel did that with his '33 Ford and watched Pobst slice a full five seconds off Voelkel's best lap time!

As for the competitors themselves, Karl came away very impressed. "Stielow is always tough, Popp's entry on the front straight was insane and Finch had a really good event," said Dunn. "But the competitor that impressed me the most had to be Brian Hobaugh in his 1965 Corvette. He was smooth, precise and fast. His 1.5-second advantage over second place in the RideTech Autocross was unbelievable!"

As someone who has notched top-ten finishes in the last two OUSCI events, Dunn offers the following suggestions to future competitors- "Run as many autocross and road course events as possible to prepare themselves and their car for a whole lot of fun!"

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