Posted: Feb 08, 2017
OPTIMA's 2016 Search for the Ultimate Street Car- Fontana
A sold-out field converged on Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, for the final qualifying event of the year in OPTIMA's 2016 Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts. The competition was extremely tough throughout the weekend, as final points were scored, regular season championships were decided and the final invitations to the 2016 SEMA Show and OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by K&N Filters, were handed out.
In the GTV class, Jake Rozelle's 1969 Camaro took home top honors, with Mike Maier's '66 Mustang and John Lazorack's '88 Conquest also finishing on the podium. Since all of those drivers had previously-qualified for the OUSCI and fourth-place Mary Pozzi declined her invitation, Nick Relampagos received the Vegas nod in his 1970 Camaro. Rozelle also captured the GTV regular season class championship, followed by Maier and Larry Woo's '68 Camaro.
In the GTS class, Austin Barnes' 2012 Mitsubishi Evo took home top honors, as well as the SEMA/OUSCI invite, followed by Scott Fraser's 2014 Porsche GT3 and Lynn Proctor's 2005 Dodge Viper. Steve Kepler's 2012 Nissan GT-R had already clinched the GTS class regular season championship and Brian Hobaugh's 2003 Corvette held onto second, while Proctor's Viper secured third.
Rich Willhoff's 2006 Chevrolet Corvette ended the season in the same way it started- with a GTL class win, followed by Robert DeuPree's 2009 Corvette and Ryan Johnson's 2006 Lotus Elise, which grabbed the SEMA/OUSCI invite. However, Willhoff needed the strong performance to edge out Mike DuSold's 1967 Camaro for the GTL regular season championship, which he won by just four points, with Ken Thwaits' 2006 Mitsubishi Evo finishing third.
Thwaits knew he didn't have a mathematical shot at the GTL class championship, so he brought his 2014 Camaro to Fontana, to try and catch Bryan Johnson's 2013 Camaro for the GT class championship. Thwaits beat Jordan Priestley's 2016 Camaro and Jeremiah Stotler's 2015 Mustang for the class win, but he came up short in season points against Johnson, with Priestley finishing third. Stotler did get the GT class SEMA/OUSCI invite, while GT class competitor, Craig Hardee received the SPECTRE Performance Spirit of the Event invitation.
Check out the huge gallery below and click here to see this year's Search for the Ultimate Street Car schedule. Click here to see another massive gallery of images from this event.