2013 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational – The Racers!

Who’s Coming and What Radical Race Car are they bringing?


2013 OPTIMA® Ultimate Street Car Invitational: Second Group of Finalists Revealed

If you can’t find a car to like in this group… you don’t like cars! From a BMW M3 wagon to classic Camaros and Mustangs, the OUSCI has you covered. All of these race cars will be seen at SEMA, many of them inside as part of vendor displays. Then on Friday, they’ll take to the streets and make the parade lap leaving SEMA followed by a rally-style out to Pahrump, NV and the Spring Mountain Ranch race track where they’ll kick things off on Saturday morning. Check out more details below.


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The Upcoming Sixth Annual OPTIMA® Ultimate Street Car Invitational to Showcase a Strong Mix of Imported and Domestic Vehicles


OPTIMA Batteries, the global leader in high-performance automotive and marine batteries, gears up for the sixth annual OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by K&N Filters and Royal Purple, by revealing the initial list of drivers and vehicles that have been invited to compete in the event. OPTIMA Batteries has long been the battery of choice for many automotive enthusiasts looking for better power, longer life and greater durability in extreme applications.


The OPTIMA Invitational has evolved to become one of the most highly anticipated and widely covered events in the automotive performance world. Throughout 2013, OPTIMA Batteries will complete a total of nine qualifying events, with a similar multi-dimensional format that tests both driver skill and vehicle performance. At the conclusion of each of these events, select enthusiasts are offered a chance to participate in the OPTIMA Invitational.


The vehicles selected range from Damion Campbell’s homebuilt 1963 Pontiac Tempest (pictured above), to George Poteet’s incredible Troy Trepanier-built 1969 Ford Torino, to Stephen Kepler’s cutting edge 2013 Nissan GT-R. While each of these vehicles is impressive on its own, the excitement is building to see them compete against each other on the track. Additionally, Mark Stielow will be returning to the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational in Mayhem, the incredible 1967 Camaro he won the overall title with at the event with last year.


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The following participants – all from different walks of life and different experience levels – have earned a spot to compete in this year’s OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational:


1st Group

  • Mark Stielow (1967 Chevy Camaro) – Last Year’s winner
  • Mike Holleman (1965 Chevy El Camino)
  • Matt Alcala (1969 Chevy Camaro)
  • John Kundrat (1964 Chevy Corvette)
  • Stephen Kepler (2013 Nissan GT-R) – shown just above
  • Robert McGaffin (1965 Oldsmobile 442)
  • Dennis Prunty (1981 Pontiac Trans Am)
  • George Poteet (1969 Ford Torino)
  • Kenny Edwards, Sr. (1966 Ford Mustang)
  • Larry Woo (1968 Chevy Camaro)
  • Damion Campbell (1963 Pontiac Tempest)


2nd Group

  • Rick Hoback (2007 BMW M6)
  • Steve Mott (2003 Nissan 350Z)
  • Bruce Raymond (2006 Pontiac GTO)
  • Mark Capener (2013 Dodge Viper)
  • John Lazorack (1988 Chrysler Conquest)
  • John Condren (1991 Porsche 965)
  • James Stancel (2014 Mercedes Benz SLS Black Series)
  • James Clay (1995 BMW M3 Wagon)
  • Chris Smith (1970 Chevy C-10)
  • Todd Earsley (2003 Mitsubishi Evo)

( Photos from Optima’s very cool Pinterest Page)

All of these vehicles will also be on display in the Silver lot in front of the South Hall at the 2013 SEMA show prior to the running of the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational event. This year’s field of competitors are really bringing huge horsepower to the table, with several competitors (including Mark Capener’s 2013 Viper with a twin-turbo setup and James Stancel’s 2014 Mercedes SLS Black Series) boasting over 1,000 horses. More power has been added to both John Lazorack’s ’88 Conquest and Chris Smith’s ’70 C-10 pickup through swapping in modified GM LS-Series V-8s. While most of the participants are new to this event, a select few are returning with different vehicles.


Todd Earsley has completely re-engineered his 2003 Mitsubishi, which placed third in last year’s event. He expects to place even higher as a result of the new upgrades. Earsley’s partner Kevin Dubois told us “We took the whole car apart and improved every part of it after last year’s event. It’s a completely different car now. After finishing third last year, we knew what we’d have to do to step up, and we’ve done all that and more. We really want to be the first import to win this event.”


Chris Smith’s C-10 has undergone a similar ground-up rebuild, and he claims “It’s so much better than it was last year, I can’t wait to get out there and compete with it. It has more power, better suspension, improved braking, more grip in the corners, and less weight. It’s a blast to drive.”


Throughout 2013, OPTIMA Batteries has completed nine qualifying events that follow the same multi-dimensional format as the Ultimate Street Car Invitational. At the conclusion of each of these events, select enthusiasts have received invitations to participate in the Invitational event taking place the day after the SEMA show. The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational will take place at Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, a state-of-the-art racing facility in Pahrump, NV, on Saturday, November 9th. The event will once again be filmed for television and will air later on a national cable network.


Talent and Intensity


“The wide range and diversity of vehicles and participants will keep the intensity level high,” says Cam Douglass, director of product development and marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. “We’ll see flyweight cars with small, turbocharged engines, and heavier vehicles with huge V-8s. There are vintage domestic muscle cars and brand new high-tech European and Japanese imports. What driver and car will ultimately win the day? It remains to be seen, and we are as anxious as the participants and on-site spectators to see how it all plays out.”


In addition to competing in the OPTIMA Invitational event, participants also get an automatic invitation to feature their vehicle at the 2013 SEMA Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world.


Final Chance for an Invitation


There is still one additional opportunity to secure a spot in this year’s OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational. As in years past, a committee made up of OPTIMA Batteries and industry representatives will walk the SEMA Show floor in Las Vegas, looking for the best potential competitors across all vehicle segments. The final search will be promoted during the SEMA show, and the final “Golden Ticket” invitations will be awarded Thursday, November 7 during an 11 a.m. PST press conference in the OPTIMA Batteries booth (#22755).


Spectator Tickets Available Now


A very limited number of spectator tickets are still available. Fans wanting to see the event in-person can purchase tickets to the 2013 OPTIMA Invitational at http://optimainvitational13-es2.eventbrite.com/. The cost is $30 per person, which includes a free event T-shirt. Fans are advised to act quickly because the 2012 event sold out of spectator tickets.


For more information on OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational participants, official rules and ticket purchase information, please visit http://www.optimainvitational.com/.


2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational Event Details


The OPTIMA Invitational activities will offer something for every fan, with the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge, Ridetech Street Challenge AutocrossDear Sir or Madam,, Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed Stop Challenge and the Lingenfelter Performance and Design Challenge all bringing different aspects to each participant’s overall score. The Detroit Speed and Engineering Road Rally will occur the day before, following the close of the SEMA Show. All participating vehicles will have to pass the scrutiny of the Centerforce Tech Inspection prior to competing to ensure safety.


2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational Event Sponsors


The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational is presented by Royal Purple Synthetic Oil and K&N Filters. This year’s event sponsors are BFGoodrich Tires, Detroit Speed and Engineering, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, Ridetech and Wilwood Disc Brakes. And finally, associate sponsors include Magnaflow Performance Exhaust, The Roadster Shop, Centerforce Performance Clutch, MAC Tools and Jet-Hot Coatings.


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