Posted: Jan 09, 2018
Danny Popp's 2003 Chevrolet Corvette
Danny Popp's C5 Corvette won the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational three times in a row. Find out some of the things he does differently to gain an edge over the competition.
Danny Popp's first OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) title came in a C6 Corvette he built for Todd Rumpke in 2011. When OPTIMA moved to a national series in 2014, Popp competed in several events in the Lingenfelter L28 Camaro, but he hinted at what was to come when the series visited Gateway Motorsports Park and Pittsburgh International Race Complex. It was at those events that Popp ran his pristine C5 Corvette in preparation for it's debut at the 2014 OUSCI.
While Popp has dominated the OUSCI, winning four of the first ten editions, none of his wins have come in dominant fashion, including the three he won with his C5. His 2014 margin of victory over Brandon Ranvek's 2006 Mitsubishi Evo RS was .467 points. The following year, his ZO6 was 1.8 points ahead of another Evo RS campaigned by Andy Smedegard.
In 2016 the points system was overhauled, with a "perfect" score of 500 points being the best possible outcome. After the first day of competition, a third Evo RS, driven by Ken Thwaits, had a decent lead over Popp heading into the Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial. However, on the warm-up lap, Thwaits noticed an issue with his Evo. The Showtime Motorsports crew and RS Motors spent most of the rest of the day cannibalizing another Evo from the event, to try and get Thwaits a clean timed lap. Ken ended up making a clean lap near the end of the day, but it was well off the blistering pace set by Popp and he wrapped up his third consecutive OUSCI championship.
Popp's string of three consecutive OUSCI victories came to an end at the 2017 event, as mechanical issues finally hit Danny's C5 and he finished in fifth place overall. The 2018 season will mark the first time since 2014 that Popp will need to earn an invitation to the OUSCI at a qualifying event, but we don't anticipate that being much of a problem for him.
Danny is tentatively-scheduled to run in four events in the 2018 season, starting at NOLA Motorsports Park and will have his son, Nathan, joining him in competition at NCM Motorsports Park, Barber Motorsports Park and Road America in a fourth gen Camaro. That could prove to make for an interesting season in the Holley EFI GTL Class, as Popp's Corvette could present a serious challenge to two-time defending class Champion, Rich Willhoff's 2006 Corvette. Whether you want to get in on the action or just spectate, head over to www.DriveOPTIMA.com to see the full schedule.