OUSCI Preview- Bob Bertelsen's 1971 Chevrolet Camaro


When we last saw Bob Bertelsen in the OPTIMA Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN, it was 2010 and he was driving his "Code Red" 1972 Pontiac Firebird. Fast forward two years and Bob is back with his latest creation- this impressive 1971 Chevrolet Camaro, "Brute Force." As this is not Bob's first OUSCI rodeo, he will likely have an edge on much of this year's field in a variety of aspects.

First and foremost, Bob's F-body will have been completed for several months by the time it hits the SEMA show later this month. Good planning and timely execution have afforded Bertelsen the luxury of time that many of his fellow competitors do not have. We saw this car attacking the autocross at speed/stop challenge at Holley's LS Fest last month and it was clear that Bob already had the car dialed in at that point.

What are the ingredients this time around? Let's start under the hood with a 427 cubic-inch LS7, producing 657 horsepower, backed by a Bowler-prepped T-56 transmission. Baer brakes on all four corners handle stopping duty, while a Detroit Speed Engineering hydroformed subframe, control arms and QUADRALink take charge in the suspension department. The Flowmaster exhaust clearly announces his presence when he is depositing 575 lb-ft. of torque aat 5700 rpms.

The car weighs in at 3,980 pounds and has eclipsed the quarter mile in a traction-limited 11.98 seconds at 121 mph. We also watched him run within .06 seconds of Danny Popp's best time on the autocross at Holley LS Fest, but this car is even more impressive away from the track. Brute Force was a Good Guys Muscle Machine of the Year finalist, it will appear in the BASF 2013 calendar and will be in the December 2012 issue of Popular Hot Rodding magazine for the PHR shootout and be featured in the February 2013 issue.

Given Bob's past experience in OUSCI events and his Camaro's state of readiness, we expect him to score all available points in the Detroit Speed Engineering/JRI Shocks Road Rally. We also wouldn't be surprised to see him finish very high in the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge. Given his performance at Holley LS Fest, we wouldn't be surprised to see him pick up a fair amount of points in the RideTech Autocross Challenge.

Since Bob has been through these events before and knows quite a bit about the competition, we think he'll have a good showing in the Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed Stop Challenge, especially because the new slalom component tends to favor those with autocross skills. However, when it comes to the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge, Bob will be the first to admit this is not his strong suit. He told us he hopes not to be last, but given the dropout rate we've seen in past years, we think he'll be just fine as long as his car doesn't fail him.

Finally, we'll share Bob's picks for the top contenders, as his experience and knowledge of the field should offer some good insight. Do these names sound familiar? Kyle Tucker, Mark Stielow, Brian Finch and Danny Popp. If they don't ring a bell, buy a ticket to the 2012 OUSCI and familiarize yourself with the very best in the business.