Posted: Mar 14, 2019
Dusty Nixon's 1979 Chevrolet Camaro
Dusty Nixon's 1979 Chevy Camaro won the 2018 QA1 GTV Class regular season championship in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts
Duston Nixon's road to the QA1 GTV regular season championship in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts, was not a shot straight to the top, but rather something Nixon and his father worked at over the course of several seasons. It all started for Nixon back at the DriveOPTIMA event at Texas Motor Speedway back in 2015. That was Dusty's rookie outing and he found his way onto the podium, finishing in third place, which placed him 64th in the season-long points standings.
In 2016, Nixon made it out to the DriveOPTIMA event at Circuit of the Americas, where he finished fifth in class on the iconic road course and moved up to 58th place in the standings in that season. However, his true breakout season wasn't until his third year of competition. Nixon took home the class win at NOLA Motorsports Park, which punched his first ticket to the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) and moved him up to 34th place overall in the season-long points chase.
After a 36th place finish at the 2017 OUSCI, Nixon looked to take aim at the QA1 GTV Class regular season championship and started off in impressive fashion at NOLA Motorsports Park, where he posted a 477-point performance. That was one of the highest of the season and would've earned him a return trip to Las Vegas at just about every other event (Kyle Tucker posted a 487 at Road America later in the season and holds the GTV class record with a 493 in his '70 Camaro), except for CB Ramey posting an incredible 477-point performance in his C4 Corvette, to take the class win and invitation.
Nixon grabbed his class win, OUSCI invite and the points lead at the very next event at NCM Motorsports Park and started to raise some serious eyebrows in the QA1 GTV points chase. Larry Woo had planned to run earlier in the season, but his car didn't make it's first appearance until Barber Motorsports Park, which Dusty won again. Ramey had a solid performance, but was still giving up points to Nixon and the same was true for the Camaros of Chad Ryker and Efrain Diaz.
However, Woo made the trip out West to Auto Club Speedway, where his '68 Camaro turned in a strong, 450-point performance to earn it's invitation to the OUSCI and put some pressure on Nixon, who hadn't planned on running the regular season finale at Road America. A lead of less than 40 points just didn't seem safe. If Nixon didn't go to Road America, Woo needed to post 464 points to beat him for the championship, a number well within his reach.
Dusty made the trip North and the field ended up stacked with heavy-hitters, making points very hard to come by for both Nixon and Woo. Kyle Tucker ended up with the class win and invitation in his '87 Camaro and even though Woo edged out Nixon by a single point in Elkhart Lake, Nixon was able to open up his advantage even more in the final regular season event to clinch the QA1 GTV Class championship by a margin of 1352 to 1315 over Woo.
Nixon wrapped up the season with a 29th overall finish at the 2018 OUSCI and begins 2019 in an unfamiliar position with a target on his back. Dusty will need to run three events in order to defend his title (the best three finishes count toward the season-long points total), but he's currently only signed up to run later in the season at Road America and NOLA Motorsports Park. Will he make a surprise appearance earlier in the season and look to repeat as the Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class Champion in 2019 or will he let someone else chase the crown? More than 90 cars are set to run in GTV this season, but at least 25 are scheduled to run at least three events, putting them in contention for the points championship.
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