Bragging rights are a strange beast in the automotive world. Some will say speed is all that matters, be it in a straight line or weaving through cones. Other will tell you that fit and finish matter most. After all, what’s a car if you can’t appreciate its craftmanship? For the sixth consecutive year, the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) will attempt to assign the top street-car title on the basis of a balance of categories to show which car is best as a whole. This year will see a new group sanctioning the OUSCI and its qualifying series.
The Ultimate Street Car Association (USCA) will sanction 10 qualifying events this year in the series’ quest to find the ultimate road-legal machine. Each of the qualifying events will last three days, during which the USCA will host five separate events—road rally, autocross, speed-stop, design/engineering, and a time trial-style road course competition—to test participants’ mettle (and metal).
Drivers and their cars will compete for an invitation to November’s Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational, the season finale and series championship in Las Vegas that will follow this year’s SEMA show. The highest point totals from each qualifying weekend will earn a spot in Vegas, as will winners of the “Spirit of the Event” from each venue. In addition to the respect of their peers, winners be shown on a 13-episode television series produced for MAV TV, which will span the 2014 season.
Here are the list of USCA dates, many of which coincide the other series that Optima sponsors, ChumpCar World Series:
|March 7-9||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||Salinas, CA|
|March 21-23||Texas Motor Speedway||Fort Worth, TX|
|May 23-25||Daytona International Speedway||Daytona Beach, FL|
|June 13-15||Auto Club Speedway||Fontana, CA|
|June 20-22||Road America||Elkhard Lake, WI|
|July 18-20||Gateway Motorsports Park||Madison, IL|
|August 1-3||Portland International Raceway||Portland, OR|
|August 22-24||Michigan International Speedway||Brooklyn, MI|
|September 19-21||Sebring International Raceway||Sebring, FL|
|October 3-5||Pittsburgh International Race Complex||Wampum, PA|
|November 8-9||Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational||Las Vegas, NV|
Brian Hobaugh and his family’s absolutely stunning 500-horsepower 1965 Corvette won the OPTIMA Street Car Invitational last year. Hobaugh defeated his nearest rival, Camaro Pro Touring guru Mark Stielow and his monstrous ’67 Camaro called “Mayhem,” by a handy 12-point margin.
The series allows all street-legal, licensed, and VIN’d cars into competition, though it excludes kit cars and reproductions. Entries may fall into one of three competition classes: Under 3000 pounds dry (two-wheel drive), Over 3000 pounds dry (two-wheel drive), and all-wheel drive.
Entry fees in the Platinum category (competing for points toward the season finale) are $500, which allows competition in all five events. Competitors may alternately select entry in the Silver category, which includes only the design/engineering and road rally parts of the weekend for $50, but it gives the driver the chance to participate as an up-close spectator. The USCA rules also designate a third Gold category for those wishing to participate in all events but not accrue points. No fees were specified for Gold category entries. Pit passes can be purchased for $20 each at the event.
[Photos: Ultimate Street Car Association]