Top-25 F-bodies in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car
- OPTIMA Batteries
Sometimes it seems as if OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts, has only been around for a few years, even though the 2023 season represents a solid decade of ultimate street car competition. With that milestone in sight, we thought it might be interesting to highlight some of the top vehicles that have competed in the series over the years, but with such diverse fields, where do you start and where do you stop?
As a starting point, we thought we'd look at the F-body, also known as the 1967-2002 Camaro and Firebird. That leaves out a lot of late-model Camaros and we apologize, but if this is popular enough, we'll do a list for those cars as well and maybe a list of the top GT cars or cars from other classes? Another issue we run into is that in the first season of the series, the format was different, so we don't have the "classic" classes everyone has come to know so well in this series.
As a result, cars like Kyle Tucker's incredible 1970 Camaro and Bret Voelkel's 48-Hour Camaro will get a bit shortchanged on this list. Other iconic OUSCI-winning Camaros belonging to Mark Stielow and Steven Rupp were also omitted, as this list focuses on the qualifying series and not the Invitational itself (we can always do some OUSCI-specific lists at some point)
Even though Jason Bottenfield's Camaro has won the regular season championship twice, four cars finished ahead, that never won a regular season championship. However, they all share the common trait of being long-time competitors in the series, that routinely finished near the top of the standings, which leads us to the methodology behind the list.
With so many incredible cars that have run in this series over the years, how does one even begin to rank them against each other? Fortunately, we have a long and well-documented points championship, which makes it a bit easier. Even with that, we're still well past 100 F-bodies over the years, possibly North of 200 cars.
To thin the herd a bit, we only looked at the top-25 cars in the GTV, GTL and GT classes over the last eight seasons. We awarded up to ten points for winning the regular season and declined by a point per position, going back to tenth place, where any car that finished tenth through 25th received a single point. We originally tried only going back through the top-five, but had too many ties and even this method had quite a few ties, but we can't spend all week cranking on this list, so here it is, in all its imperfection, along with a gallery of the cars below:
|1. Mike DuSold||1967 Camaro|
|2. Nick Relampagos||1970 Camaro|
|2. Larry Woo||1968 Camaro|
|4. Jim Stehlin||1973 Camaro|
|5. Chad Ryker||1968 Camaro|
|6. Jason Bottenfield||1969 Camaro|
|7. Brian Hobaugh||1973 Camaro|
|8. Chris Smith||1970 Camaro|
|9. Dusty Nixon||1979 Camaro|
|9. Efrain Diaz||1969 Camaro|
|11. Ryan Breezee||1969 Camaro|
|12. Jake Rozelle||1969 Camaro|
|13. Kyle Tucker||1970 Camaro|
|14. Wayne Atkins||1985 Camaro|
|15. Michael Cuthbertson||1968 Camaro|
|15. John Woods||1970 Firebird|
|15. Mills Robinson||1967 Camaro|
|18. James Shipka||1967 Camaro|
|18. Brendan King||1969 Camaro|
|20. Charles Davis||1973 Camaro|
|21. Bret Voelkel||1967 Camaro|
|21. Scott Collins||1968 Camaro|
|23. Valerie Pichette||1988 Firebird|
|24. Chris King||1971 Camaro|
|24. Cody Puckett||1979 Camaro|
|24. Ed Michalak||1969 Camaro|
|24. Keith Smith||1971 Camaro|
|24. Mark Golovin||2001 Camaro|
|24. Buddy Buchanan||1995 Camaro|
If pictures and lists aren't enough and you need even more ultimate street car action, add the OPTIMA Network for free on Roku and watch all the past episodes from all the past seasons.