Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge Fontana Recap And Gallery

This past weekend, we were at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California covering the final round of Optima‘s search for the ultimate street car, hosted by the Ultimate Street Car Association (USCA). It was definitely a scorcher, with temperatures ranging from 97 to 104 degrees throughout both days.

For those who are not familiar with Optima’s search for the ultimate street car, it is a series of events that takes place throughout the United States with the final event taking place in Las Vegas the weekend following the SEMA Show in November. Some contestants take the time to trailer or drive their vehicle around the country to compete in all, or most of the events, with hopes of being invited to the penultimate round in Las Vegas to see if their car has what it takes to become Optima’s ultimate street car.

Some folks can’t make all of the rounds due to work or other events, but this past weekend there were cars from Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Utah, and various other states. There was even an entrant who came all the way from Alberta, Canada; now, that’s dedication! Since this event was the last before the invitational in Las Vegas, there was quite the turnout, and the part of the event that intrigued us most was all of were the different types of vehicles that were competing.

Photo gallery

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At every event, in order to obtain points, the contestants must compete in a road rally that ends at the event venue. This proves that all of the cars are road-legal and can perform just like any other car out on the highway. During the event, the contestants compete in autocross, speed stop, and hot lap competitions to prove their vehicle’s versatility. The three competitions essentially force owners to tune and configure their cars so that they perform the best they possibly can. This event was one of the three events throughout the season that accounted for double points.

For those that thought Optima’s search for the ultimate street car was limited to musclecars, street rods, American cars, and vehicles of the like, think again. In the last few years, organizers have opened up the event to virtually any kind of vehicle. There were a few Nissan GT-Rs, a turbocharged Ford Pinto, a sweet little Datsun 1300 pickup, a classic Porsche 911, and a first-generation Infiniti Q45, among many other awesome vehicles. There was also an LS-swapped Porsche 944, and LS-swapped Datsun 280Z that were thrashing around, too. Needless to say, there were plenty of LS-powered cars competing throughout the weekend, but we weren’t complaining!

Walking around the autocross staging area and the paddock, we got up close and personal with cars competing in the event, and that opened our eyes to how much custom work these enthusiasts put into their cars. It was mind-boggling, to say the least. What really caught our eye wasn’t the musclecars, or even the late-model Camaros and Corvettes, but rather the cars that initially weren’t meant to go fast and were modified to go fast, and handle just as well. There was no shortage of creative builds at this event.

One car that really caught our eye is owned John Lazorack III’s 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSI, and has been heavily modified to be competitive with all of the other contestants’ rides. Our sister site, LSXMAG, wrote about the car after it competed in last year’s Optima Challenge. (check it out here). The car looks and handles incredibly, and the quality of the work done only makes the car more appealing. Last year, Lazorack was running an LS1 out of a 2005 C5 Corvette, but this year, he upgraded to the popular LS3. Another change we noticed on the car was an aero kit that increases downforce, while keeping the drag coefficient to a minimum. Other than that, the car looked great on and off the track, and Lazorack was very happy with how it was performing in all three aspects of the event.

The LS3 that lies under the hood of Lazorack’s Conquest.

Results

All three events in the Optima Challenge were staggered out over the weekend, with the autocross and speed stop competitions taking center stage on Saturday. The autocross and speed stop competitions were running simultaneously, which meant that there was no shortage of action throughout the day, and all contestants had an equal chance to obtain their best possible times.

As you can imagine, the autocross course consisted of cones and white lines on the pavement. With the technical aspects, contestants were urged to be as careful as possible while trying to obtain the fastest time in their class. For the most part, all of the runs were very clean, with everyone showing improvement throughout the day. It was awesome seeing all of the different makes and models perform on the tight course.

The speed stop competition methodology was about getting up to speed as fast as possible, slowing down for the cone-lined turns, exiting into a short slalom, and finally coming to an abrupt stop without going out of the box or knocking any cones over.

The hot lap competition took place on Sunday, and we were especially excited to see what all of the contestants’ vehicles were capable on an actual road course. With a total of 1.3 miles in length, the infield road course provided tight turns, high-speed straights, and high-speed esses. What we liked about seeing the contestants out on the track was their individual improvement. Each lap, contestants were braking later into turns, and carrying more overall speed throughout the track. It was a great sight to see. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 finishers from each class in each event.

Speed Stop:

GTV:

  1. Kyle Tucker, No. 39 1970 Chevy Camaro, 0:16.411
  2. Mary Pozzi, No. 87 1973 Chevrolet Camaro RS, 0:16.515
  3. Chris Smith, No. 88 1972 Chevy Corvette, 0:16.557
  4. Larry Woo, No. 89 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:16.760
  5. Mike Maier, No. 35 1966 Ford Mustang, 0:16.934
  6. Matt Alcala, No. 94 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:17.068
  7. Jake Rozelle, No. 33 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:17.101
  8. James Shipka, No. 41 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:17.137
  9. Chris Porter, No. 98 Porsche 944, 0:17.432
  10. Chad Ryker, No. 77 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:17.455

GTS:

  1. Hugh Bate, No. 81 2013 Nissan GT-R, 0:15.726
  2. Ryan Volk, No. 53 2014 Nissan GT-R, 0:16.518
  3. Carrie Willhoff, No. 49 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:16.589
  4. Brian Hobaugh, No. 25 2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:16.740
  5. Mike Ryan, No. 95 1997 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:17.264
  6. Gregg Blundell, No. 80 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:17.408
  7. Ron Myers, No. 79 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:17.477
  8. Todd Rumpke, No. 63 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:17.727
  9. Ryan Thacker, No. 72 2008 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:18.368
  10. Bob Denny, No. 62 2008 VW R32, 0:18.534

GTL:

  1. Rich Willhoff, No. 47 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:16.422
  2. David Caroll, No. 16 1975 Datsun 280Z, 0:16.797
  3. Steve Abbott, No. 99 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:16.933
  4. Karl Dunn, No. 17 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:17.089
  5. John Lazorack III, No. 92 1988 Chrysler Conquest Tsi, 0:17.481
  6. Joey Seely, No. 104 1985 Porsche 911, 0:17.587
  7. Chris Gonzalez, No. 45 1970 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:17.595
  8. Martin Pond, No. 2 1980 Mercury Zephyr, 0:17.645
  9. Douglas Wind, No. 78 2004 Dodge Neon SRT4, 0:17.771
  10. Jane Thurmond, No. 83 1964 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:17.936

GT:

  1. Bryan Johnson, No. 71 2013 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:16.648
  2. Jordan Priestley, No. 86 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS/RS, 0:16.667
  3. Cody Mason, No. 11 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, 0:16.744
  4. Danny Popp, No. 10 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:16.825
  5. Jason Chinn, No. 85 2015 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:17.305
  6. Cliff Elliott, No. 21 2011 Ford Mustang GT, 0:17.406
  7. Andrew Nier, No. 15 2012 Ford Mustang GT, 0:17.564
  8. Dannie Pinard, No. 34 2013 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:17.625
  9. Don Gonzales, No. 64 2010 Chevy Camaro SS, 0:17.890
  10. Chuck Terry, No. 70 2010 Chevy Camaro, 0:17.929

Autocross:

GTV:

  1. Mary Pozzi, No. 87 1973 Chevrolet Camaro RS, 0:46.039
  2. Kyle Tucker, No. 39 1970 Chevy Camaro, 0:46.481
  3. Mike Maier, No. 35 1966 Ford Mustang, 0:46.511
  4. James Shipka, No. 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:46.786
  5. Jake Rozelle, No. 33 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:47.012
  6. Larry Woo, No. 89 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:47.025
  7. Chris Smith, No. 88 1972 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:47.071
  8. Matt Alcala, No. 94 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:47.478
  9. Keith Smith, No. 105 1971 Chevy Camaro, 0:47.533
  10. Chad Ryker, No. 77 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:47.947

GTS:

  1. Brian Hobaugh, No. 25 2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:46.053
  2. Todd Rumpke, No. 63 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. 0:46.242
  3. Carrie Willhoff, No. 49 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:46.903
  4. Hugh Bate, No. 81 2013 Nissan GT-R, 0:47.095
  5. Mike Ryan, No. 95 1997 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:47.743
  6. Gregg Blundell, No. 80 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:47.756
  7. Ryan Thacker, No. 72 2008 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:48.265
  8. Ron Myers, No. 79 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:48.371
  9. Ryan Volk, No. 53 2014 Nissan GT-R, 0:49.108
  10. Kanan Gubins, No. 27 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:53.333

GTL:

  1. Steve Abbott, No. 99 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:44.973
  2. Rich Willhoff, No. 47 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:45.377
  3. David Caroll, No. 16 1975 Datsun 280Z, 0:46.290
  4. John Lazorack III, No. 92 1988 Chrysler Conquest Tsi, 0:46.399
  5. Karl Dunn, No. 17 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0:46.733
  6. Joey Seely, No. 104 1985 Porsche 911, 0:46.893
  7. Chris Gonzalez, No. 45 1970 Chevrolet Corvette, 0:47.569
  8. Douglas Wind, No. 78 2004 Dodge Neon SRT4, 0:47.909
  9. Bob Boileau, No. 67 1966 Datsun 520 Truck, 0:48.035
  10. Alcino Azevedo, No. 36 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra, 0:48.097

GT:

  1. Cody Mason, No. 11 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, 0:46.123
  2. Bryan Johnson, No. 71 2013 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:46.597
  3. Greg Nelson, No. 76 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:46.989
  4. Jordan Priestley, No. 86 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS/RS, 0:47.187
  5. Danny Popp, No. 10 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:47.202
  6. Don Gonzales, No. 64 2010 Chevy Camaro SS, 0:47.560
  7. Frank Farace, No. 110 1994 Chevrolet C1500, 0:47.590
  8. Will Flores, No. 65 2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE, 0:47.659
  9. Kurt Robinson, No. 66 2015 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:48.118
  10. Dannie Pinard, No. 34 2013 Chevrolet Camaro, 0:48.231

Hot Lap:

GTV:

  1. Jake Rozelle, No. 33 1969 Chevrolet Camaro,  1:17.652
  2. Kyle Tucker, No. 39 1970 Chevy Camaro,  1:18.039
  3. Mike Maier, No. 35 1966 Ford Mustang, 1:18.393
  4. Larry Woo, No. 89 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 1:19.037
  5. James Shipka, No. 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, 1:19.258
  6. Chris Smith, No. 88 1972 Chevrolet Corvette, 1:19.548
  7. Chris Porter, No. 98 Porsche 944, 1:19.785
  8. Matt Alcala, No. 94 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 1:20.072
  9. Chad Ryker, No. 77 1968 Chevrolet Camaro,  1:21.311
  10. John McKissack, No. 14 1966 Ford Fairlane 500XL, 1:22.004

GTS:

  1. Todd Rumpke, No. 63 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1:15.311
  2. Hugh Bate, No. 81 2013 Nissan GT-R, 1:15.493
  3. Carrie Willhoff, No. 49 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1:19.300
  4. Ryan Volk, No. 53 2014 Nissan GT-R, 1:20.480
  5. Mike Ryan, No. 95 1997 Chevrolet Corvette, 1:20.612
  6. Gregg Blundell, No. 80 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, 1:22.716
  7. Ron Myers, No. 79 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, 1:23.213
  8. Ryan Thacker, No. 72 2008 Chevrolet Corvette, 1:25.796
  9. Bob Denny, No. 62 2008 VW R32, 1:38.296

GTL:

  1. Rich Willhoff, No. 47 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1:15.390
  2. John Lazorack III, No. 92 1988 Chrysler Conquest Tsi, 1:16.675
  3. Douglas Wind, No. 78 2004 Dodge Neon SRT4, 1:17.683
  4. Karl Dunn, No. 17 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1:19.138
  5. David Caroll, No. 16 1975 Datsun 280Z, 1:21.197
  6. Joey Seely, No. 104 1985 Porsche 911,  1:21.413
  7. Chris Gonzalez, No. 45 1970 Chevrolet Corvette, 1:21.579
  8. Martin Pond, No. 2 1980 Mercury Zephyr,  1:23.068
  9. Bob Boileau, No. 67 1966 Datsun 520 Truck, 1:25.310
  10. Randall Pond, No. 12 1966 Shelby Mustang, 1:25.877

GT:

  1. Cody Mason, No. 11 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28,  1:15.994
  2. Bryan Johnson, No. 71 2013 Chevrolet Camaro,  1:16.827
  3. Danny Popp, No. 10 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, 1:17.333
  4. Jordan Priestley, No. 86 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS/RS, 1:18.630
  5. Kurt Robinson, No. 66 2015 Chevrolet Camaro, 1:21.045
  6. Andrew Nier, No. 15 2012 Ford Mustang GT, 1:21.993
  7. Rick Andrade, No. 68 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, 1:22.139
  8. Jason Chinn, No. 85 2015 Chevrolet Camaro, 1:22.868
  9. Cliff Elliott, No. 21 2011 Ford Mustang GT,  1:23.081
  10. Don Gonzales, No. 64 2010 Chevy Camaro SS,  1:23.170

We had a great time covering the final round of Optima’s search for the ultimate street car. Stay tuned to see which vehicle is crowned the 2015 ultimate street car at the Invitational in Las Vegas next month!

About the author

Josh Kirsh

Born in Van Nuys, Raised in Murrieta, Joshua Kirsh is a SoCal Native. With a love for anything on wheels since the ripe young age of two, Joshua Managed to turn his love for automobiles into a career. As Power Automedia's newest writer, he plans to bring you some of the industry's hottest news topics while he's not out in the shop wrenching on some of our badass in-house project builds.
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