Posted: Oct 22, 2016
Casey Woodside's 2010 Chevrolet Camaro- 2016 OUSCI Preview
In Casey Woodside's first full season in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, he netted a top-20 finish in the GT Class on the season in his 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, earning an invitation to the 2015 OUSCI. Unfortunately, Casey had family commitments that prevented him from accepting the invitation. As the competition in the series continued to get tougher, the Franklin, Tennessee native responded and stepped up his performance on the track.
His first event at New Jersey Motorsports Park was promising, with an 11th-place overall finish in the Detroit Speed Autocross and top-25 in the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge. However, his performance on the Autocross came at the expense of his clutch and prevented him from posting a score in the PowerStop Speed Stop Challenge. He returned to the track on Sunday, but with a bad clutch, he fell well short of the 400-points Toby Thompson estimated he'd need to average to make it into the OUSCI field.
He returned at the following event at NCM Motorsports Park, which was not only sold-out, but turned out to be one of the most-competitive fields of the season. Casey completed all the segments, but still finished outside the top-10 in the GT Class and scored even fewer points than he had at NJMP. The turning point in the season came for Woodside at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he was able to channel his inner-Earnhardt into a top-10 finish in the GT Class, while posting his first 400+ point performance of the season.
Charlotte was the first of four consecutive events for Woodside and his next stop was Circuit of the Americas, which saw the largest field of the season. While Casey came up short points-wise, he still managed a top-ten finish in the GT Class against a very-stacked field. As the series moved from one iconic track to another, Woodside saw his best performance of the season at Road America. His Camaro finished inside the top-30 overall in every segment and edged out Ben Dozeman's Mustang for a third-place finish in GT, thanks to a best-in-class performance in the Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial.
Woodside had made significant progress throughout the season, but he knew he still needed more points to qualify for the OUSCI and opportunities were running short. NOLA Motorsports Park was the final qualifying event East of the Rocky Mountains and realistically, Casey's last shot at garnering enough points to get an invite to Vegas. Solid performances in the Hot Lap Challenge and Autocross helped Woodside to another top-ten finish in GT and 410 points, but would it be enough?
One qualifying event remained at Auto Club Speedway and Casey was locked in a tight points battle for one of the Final 15 qualifying spots, with as many as ten cars potentially ending up within a few dozen points of each other. When the checkered flag dropped in Fontana, the math ended up working in Woodside's favor and he finished the season in the top-ten in GT Class points and the top non-qualifier in the GT class, earning an automatic invitation to the OUSCI.
So what will Woodside be bringing to Vegas? While his 2010 Camaro is a daily driver, it packs quite a punch, thanks to a Mike Norris/Raymond's Performance-built 418 short block from Texas Speed. The new engine features a Callies Performance Products forged crankshaft & H-beams, Wiesco pistons, a camshaft from Comp Cams and is topped off with ported & polished heads and an Airaid cold air intake. A Melling high-volume oil pump helps keep up with the high demands of road course activity an RPM Stave V six-speed manual mated to a QuarterMaster clutch has replaced the stock slushbox. A HammerHead IRS featuring 3.91 gears sits out back and sends 505 horsepower to Forgeline wheels and Bridgestone tires. Suspension upgrades include Detroit Speed JRI shocks and Casey also added a belt bar with Impact harnesses and HEX hood vents to help air escape at the high speeds routinely hit in this series.
Woodside's Camaro is one of at least 19 entered in the 2016 OUSCI field. However, running nine qualifying events over the last two seasons should give Casey a leg up on his competition. You can see how it all shakes out in Las Vegas, immediately following the SEMA Show. Get your OUSCI spectator tickets here.