Posted: Aug 12, 2019
2019 GTC Points Projections After Four Events
As the fifth event in OPTIMA's 2019 Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts, looms closer, we'll take a look at the points standings in the GTC Class for compact vehicles. As a reminder, the cars in this class have a maximum wheelbase of 107 inches and are either either two rotary or four-cylinder cars, although some pre-1990 six-cylinder cars, like older Porsches, are allowed. These cars are all two-wheel drive, so the all-wheel drive vehicles will typically end up in the Holley EFI GTL or RECARO GTS classes.
A competitor's best three events count toward their season-long point total, but no competitor has run more than two events so far, so Thomas Litton's '97 Miata is in the lead over Jeff Schwartz's Scion FRS. That could change after Road America, as Schwartz & Litton are both running there, as is defending class champion, Brian Johns in his '93 Mazda RX-7. While Johns turned in a dominant performance last season and picked up where he left off at NCM Motorsports Park with a 449-point performance, there is no guarantee he will repeat as champion. Johns is only scheduled to run in three events, so if his car falters in any of those three events or fails to show up entirely, the door opens wide for the rest of the class to make a move on de-throning the champ.
The top finisher at each qualifying event earns an invitation to the SEMA Show and OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI), presented by Advance Auto Parts, but as we move into the later part of the season, surprises tend to pop up. Angela Barnhouse's 2005 Honda S2000 has struggled to make it to the track this season, but if she can top Darren Garvin's '73 Datsun 240Z at Road America, she'll clinch a return visit to Las Vegas. If Garvin comes out on top at Road America, Barnhouse is also currently the only non-qualifier registered in the GTC Class at Fontana.
The story is much different for the regular season finale at NOLA Motorsports Park, where seven of the eight cars currently registered to compete have not yet secured an invitation. Smart money might be on Andy Hollis' Miata or Doug Wind's Neon at that event, but that is Dayton de la Houssaye's home track. Regardless of how the invitations pan out at qualifying events, each class is also awarded three invitations to SEMA and the OUSCI to the top non-qualifiers in each class based on points. Even if we project Garvin to get an invitation at Road America, Barnhouse at Auto Club Speedway and Hollis at NOLA, those three remaining spots are a bit uncertain.
it seems like that if he doesn't qualify for the OUSCI at an event, de la Houssaye would pick up one of those three spots and Dave Stock's '06 Miata would pick up another, but who would get the third and final spot? Currently, that looks to be the '93 RX-7 of Nick Fousekis with 324 points. However, all it takes for someone else at any single event to post 325 points and they'll pass Fousekis for that final invitation. While these are only projections, there is much left to be decided in the GTC Class. Watch the series anytime on the OPTIMA Network on Roku (it's a free download).
Projections after Four DriveOPTIMA Events
1. Brian Johns 1,347
2. Darren Garvin 1,047
3. Thomas Litton 1,037
4. Jeff Schwartz 890
5. Dayton de la Houssaye 823
6. Sammy Valafar 814
7. Angela Barnhouse 635
8. Dave Stock 580
9. Andy Hollis 431
10. Nick Fousekis 324