OUSCI Competitor Blue Offutt's 1993 Mazda RX-7
Blue Offutt came to the 2012 OUSCI through the Silver State Classic Challenge Open Road Race, which was one of several OUSCI qualifying events held around the country. Although he had never participated in an OUSCI-style event before, Offutt seemed generally familiar with the format and very realistic about how he would fare in the event.
Offutt came into the event thinking he'd place about mid-pack and in overall scoring, he did just that, ending up in the pack of 14 cars tied for 34th spot. However, in the RideTech Autocross, Blue did better than he expected, placing 21st in the field, just missing a scoring opportunity by about two tenths of a second. Offutt's '93 Mazda is a very streetable car, but primarily set up for and used consistently in open road racing, where Blue has competed in dozens of events over the years.
With a field chock-full of show-quality rides, Blue knew his Mazda wouldn't score well in the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge for sure and likely would not be in the hunt for the overall title. However, that didn't stop him from maximizing his enjoyment of the event. In fact, Blue had this advice for future competitors- "If you have the talent and equipment to seriously compete, give it all you've got. If you know you're not in the hunt, still give it all you've got, but focus on the fun aspect of the event."
To that end, the only surprise Offutt encountered all day was how much fun he ended up having. The diverse field of cars was a real treat for Offutt to take in and while he thought the Lucra was very cool, Blue's favorite car was Bret Voelkel's beastly '32 Ford Coupe. Blue was also taken off guard by some of the competitors, who showed up with semi-trucks full of support crews and equipment.
While Blue knows it would've taken a considerable investment to elevate his car in the Design Challenge (and wouldn't have made his car any more competitive in open road racing), he did mention one thing he might've done differently coming into the OUSCI- more track time on both road courses and the autocross. That is a theme we hear repeated often amongst the competitors, both at the front of the back and further back.
Future competitors may want to take that into consideration in upcoming events and if they have a choice between spending money on their car or spending money in their car, they may want to choose the latter and hone their driving skills. OUSCI qualifying events are still the best way to get into the 2012 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, so if you'd like to compete in next year's event, be sure to keep up with this blog, as we will be announcing qualifying event dates here.