The 2017 OUSCI- Who's in...for now?
We're now on the eve of the final two qualifying events in OPTIMA's 2017 Search for the Ultimate Street Car. That means it's time to start seeing where everyone is stacking up in terms of qualifying for the 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI). Everyone knows who has already qualified at events so far this season and if you don't, you can view the list here. What we are going to focus on in this blog is which competitors may make it in based on their season-long point totals.
Last season, the top non-qualifier from each class made it into the OUSCI. This season, we have one additional class, but three fewer qualifying events, so the top-three non-qualifiers from each class will make the field this season. In addition, the next ten non-qualifiers, regardless of class, will also make it in on points. With that premise, we'll now tell you who is currently in the qualifying positions for each class:
Kevin Tully 1964 Plymouth Valiant 998 points
Tim Grant 1970 Chevrolet Corvette 957 points
Nick Kistler 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle 852 points
RECARO GTS Class
Brandon Williams 2009 Nissan GT-R 1298 points
Mike Gallagher 2016 Ford Focus RS 1277 points
David Thomas 2016 Chevrolet Corvette 1105 points
Holley EFI GTL Class
Jim Stehlin 2001 Chevrolet Corvettte 1161 points
Robert DeuPree 2009 Chevrolet Corvette 945 points
Garry Walsh 2004 Chevrolet Corvette 867 points
Rick Hoback 1993 Mazda RX-7 671 points
Anthony Cuthbert 2015 Dodge Dart GT 525 points
Andy Hollis 2000 Mazda Miata 416 points
Franklin Road Apparel GT Class
Cliff Elliott 2016 Ford Mustang 1256 points
John Grow 2014 Chevrolet Camaro 1156 points
Luke Vigneault 2011 Dodge Challenger 1046 points
With those vehicles identified, we'll now identify the other ten cars that are currently in position to qualify for the OUSCI, if the regular season were to end today.
Bo Cowling 2006 Dodge Viper GTS 1038 points
Vernon Jolley 2013 Ford Mustang GT 963 points
Buddy Buchanan 1995 Chevrolet Camaro GT 962 points
Jake Rozelle 2003 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 934 points
Saroja Raman 2010 Ford Mustang GT 924 points
Last Five In
Eric Waters 2014 Dodge Challenger GT 921 points
Glen Barnhouse 2012 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 913 points
Lynn Proctor 2005 Dodge Viper GTS 903 points
Eric Fleming 2016 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 899 points
Jordan Priestley 2017 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 885 points
First Five Out
Scot Spiewak 2003 Chevrolet Corvette GTL 835 points
Adam Ulrich 2006 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 826 points
Carrie Willhoff 2010 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 819 points
Efrain Diaz 1969 Chevrolet Camaro GTV 800 points
Greg Thurmond 1965 Chevrolet Corvette GTS 778 points
Last year, competitors looking to get into the OUSCI on points needed to be north of the 1,200-mark. With three fewer events for competitors to increase their total score at, the threshold may be lower. However, it will definitely be north of 1,000 points. That means all but one of the last 15 drivers we listed will need to score more points in the final two events, if they want to maintain or improve their position. It also means at least five of the current class point leaders will need to improve their totals if they want to make the cut.
What might the cut look like at this point? It's difficult to say, because so many variables are still in play. Any one of the drivers listed above could win their way in at one of the final two events, which could move everyone else up accordingly. At the same time, there are many competitors not even listed, who can leapfrog deep into these standings.
Nick Relampago's '70 Camaro is running this weekend at Auto Club Speedway and could easily go from not being on the list at all to being at the very top. He is far from the only one in that position, as James Shipka could do the same and that's just the GTV Class. On the flipside, Kevin Tully's '64 Plymouth Valiant was leading the GTV point standings heading into New Jersey Motorsports Park, but if he doesn't improve his point total at Road America, he might not make the cut for the OUSCI.
One of the common miscalculations competitors make at this point in the season, is the impact a performance has on season points once a competitor has run in three events. For example, If a competitor has run in three events and has scores of 300, 325 and 350 points in the first three events, they'll have 975 total points. However, if they score 375 points in their fourth event of the year, their total score won't increase by just the additional 25 points they scored at that event over their previous high, but by 75 points, because their high score (375) replaces their low score (300) in their season-long total (325+350+375). That could mean the leads that people have may not be as safe as they think they are and that's one reason why none of the class championships have yet been decided.
If you're in Southern California, you can see the action live this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. If you can't catch it live, add the OPTIMA Network on Roku or Amazon Fire and watch past episodes anytime, on-demand for free!