DriveOPTIMA 2018 QA1 GTV Points Predictions After Four Events

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OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series, presented by Advance Auto Parts, travels the country in search of the very best all-around, street-legal cars & trucks. The series divides vehicles into six different classes, where competitors square off with each other, hoping for a class win, season points championship, trip to the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) in Las Vegas and the OUSCI crown. As the season has moved past the midway point, we'll start taking a closer look at the points chases in each of the classes, starting with the QA1 GTV Class for vehicles built before 1990, that weigh at least 3,200 pounds.

Dusty Nixon's 1979 Camaro is currently leading this class and if he continues on the pace he is at, he could end up the regular season class champion. However, the road to the championship won't be easy. Eight other cars in this class have already posted single event point totals of 400 or more and if any were to repeat those performances with enough frequency and enough points behind them over the remaining three events, Nixon could be in for a fight to the finish. Those contenders include Nick Relampagos' '73 Camaro, CB Ramey's '84 Corvette, Chad Ryker's '68 Camaro, Michael Erickson's '67 Chevelle, Jim Stehlin's '73 Camaro (pictured above), Efrain Diaz's '69 Camaro, Joe Gregory's '64 Corvette & Greg Thurmond's '65 Corvette.

However, not all of those cars are signed up for the remaining events (two of which are sold-out), so if some were to mount a serious challenge to Nixon's Camaro, they'd need to find a spot in the fields and put some strong performances together in upcoming events.

Beyond the regular season championship, the other part of the equation in play here is who might earn invitations to the 2018 SEMA Show and OUSCI? The top finishing car at each event that has not already received an invitation to the OUSCI receives one at each of the remaining three events and the top-six cars in the QA1 GTV Class have already punched their tickets. Based on current registrations and projections, we could see Scott Collins, Stehlin & Diaz snaring the invitations at the three remaining events, but there's certainly no guarantee that would happen.

Once all the regular season invitations are handed out, the top-three non-qualifiers from each class based on points will be invited to the 2018 OUSCI, as well as the next 10 non-qualifiers, regardless of class. If the season ended today, those three would be Collins, Stehlin & Andrew Scott, but they could win invites before the end of the year. If Collins, Stehlin & Diaz grabbed invitations to Vegas, we could then project that Tim Grant, Tony Scalici and Andrew Scott could grab those three invitations from the class.

While there are also at-large invitations available, it is unlikely anyone in the GTV Class will have enough points to secure one of those invitations. The question then leads to who needs to fight, scratch and claw their way into contention? That list would include John Woods, Chris Porter, Mills Robinson, Byron Burnham, Paul Bulski and Nick Kistler. All of those cars are also easily capable of grabbing an invitation at an event or moving up in the standings. We also have some dark horses, who could swoop in and snatch an invitation at an even, resulting in everyone sliding down the list one more spot. Those contenders could include Larry Woo, Kevin Tully, Randy Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Henry Crawn, Danny King, Cody Puckett, Ed Michalak and David Carroll.

How it all shakes out remains to be seen. You can follow the series every weekend on MAVTV, starting Friday nights at 8PM Eastern, with the 2018 season set to premiere in early-September.