View Full Version : Which Team Are You? 2015 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational

11-07-2015, 12:22 AM

Thereís been a lot of talk about who will triumph the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational this year. Over the years
the event has grown, alliances have formed and friends have joined. With the growth of the series sports cars and
modern muscle participants have increased bringing more cars, more drivers and new alliances. What was once an
individual sport has now turned into a sport divided into groups.


Groups like RS Motors, RAFT Racing, Detroit Speed and Engineering, and Showtime Motorsports have recently dominated
the field placing top 3 at the 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. These three groups have also recruited more
drivers to join the Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series. Many of these groups continue their passion for racing
beyond Optima Events, branching out into Time Attack Trials, SCCA Nationals, Goodguys Events and other venues. This
allows for an abundant amount of seat time and test and tune days.


The one thing that stands out within these groups is their support for one another. Last year RS Motors was the dominant
team. That was obvious as you looked through the pits and saw RS Motors shirts scattered everywhere. If one team
member dominated, the others supported that member. If one team member had trouble the others came to their rescue
and tried to resolve the problem. This group is more than a race team or a company; it is a family.

Looking at the other groups, this same trend follows. So I decided to break these groups down into ďTEAMS.Ē Now I ask the
important questions to all of you- Which team are you on during the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational?


TEAM RAFT Motorsports:

RAFT Motorsports is lead by Danny Popp, last yearís 2014 OUSCI Champion. Many of you might be familiar to the RAFT
name or logo. RAFT Motorsports is like a club. With that said, itís a hard club to get into. I would know; Iíve been trying
for several years now. The RAFT group is an amazing group of people who will go out of their way to help others master
the skills to maneuver around an autocross and road course.


This team also includes OUSCI competitors Todd Rumpke (who we are glad is back in the drivers seat), Jake Rozelle,
Jordan Priestly and Larry Woo to name a few.


TEAM RS Motors:

Somehow OUSCI has turned into the battle between the Vettes and Evoís. Ronnie Soliman stands behind the name RS
Motors along with a very large list of OUSCI competitors this year. RS Motors has grown within the Optima community
as they continue to recruit more friends and family to join in the Optima series. I have yet to see a bad RS Motors driver
come out to an Optima event.


Ronnieís group is made up of some very competitive and experienced drivers including second place champion Brandon
Ranvek, Andy Smedegard, Michael Vida, and Tone Diaz (we apologize for missing quite a few names. Itís hard to keep
track because there are so many).


TEAM Detroit Speed and Engineering:

DSE has several competitors using their products, but there are a couple main people that represent team DSE. Kyle
Tucker is the first on this list. Not only is he one fast pro-touring driver, heís the force behind Detroit Speed and
Engineering '69 Camaro. In addition to Kyle, Ryan Matthews will be representing DSE with their '12 Camaro. Stacy Tucker
will also be running at this year's OUSCI. She was one of 11 lucky Golden Ticket recipients. As many of you know, Kyle
and Stacy have played a big part in OUSCI and are some of the original drivers to compete at the first Optima Ultimate
Street Car Invitational.


Other DSE members include Bryan Johnson and Jake Rozelle (crossover). If you've seen Detroit Speed in action then you
know they taking this racing stuff pretty serious, but are also able to relax and have a great time at the end of the day.
Kyle Tucker has got a lot of seat time in his Camaro, winning this year's Optima Ultimate Street Car Series Points
Champion title. With that seat time comes some aggressive driving which might just take him to the top and win this
year's event.


TEAM Showtime Motorsports:

Ken Thwaits has been a dominant player in the Optima Series. Once behind the wheel of his 2014 Camaro, Ken came
close to winning the title, but he fell short. So what did Ken do? He built something lighter, faster and joined forces with
some of the best in the industry- RS Motors. Some may say Ken has joined the dark side, but heís out to win and in order
to win heís bringing out one of the baddest Evoís to OUSCI. Ken hasnít turned to the dark side though. He has a full team
coming out to race at OUSCI.


After tossing the keys to the new kid, Cody Mason, Mason proved that he could handle Kenís 2015 Camaro against some
tough competition. James Shipkaís One Lap Camaro has also been on the road with Showtime Motorsports. Another
addition to the Showtime Motorsports Team is Dannie Pinard who has been traveling across the country with Showtime
Motorsports throughout the 2015 season.

Now I am going out on a whim and making up the rest of these groups just for fun:

We are going to call the next group


TEAM Pro-Touring:

This team is made-up of all the poor souls who bring out their old cars and try to compete against Evoís, late model
Corvettes and even a Porsche GT3 RS. You know better than to believe that this group has no chance in winning. Luckily
this group of cars and trucks includes some of the original Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational Participants from 2008.
This group consists of names that are well known in the automotive industry and have been racing for a very long time.
Letís start with the man himself, Mr. Mark Stielow. Yes Stielow will be coming out with Jackass 2.0 to try and lay down
some quick laps, but will it be enough?


Then you have names like Mary Pozzi, multi time National SCCA Solo Champion, Brian Hobaugh and Matt Alcala. Others
include Efrain Diaz, Kevin Tully, JB Granger, Danny King, Nick Weber, Martin Pond and Brandon Douglas (to name a few).


In addition to this group you have a cross-over group. These drivers fall into the pro-touring team, but also represent
their own individual company or that of a major OUSCI sponsor. Mike Hamrick is another competitor driving the Wilwood
í66 Mustang. Chris Smith is bringing out the RideTech 48 Hour Corvette as well as Jane Thurmond and myself who will be
running under the K&N and Spectre Performance name.

Though these names represent individual companies, we will continue to group them in with TEAM Pro-Touring.

Now I feel terrible for throwing the last two groups together, but for the sake of keeping this somewhat short I broke
the remaining participants into two groups. First is the modern muscle.


TEAM Modern Muscle:

There has been a large increase in modern muscle vehicles that attend Optima Series events. Not only are these cars fast,
their drivers are usually quite experienced on the track. This group includes Aaron Sockwell and his 2015 Mustang, Andrew
Nier, Jeremiah Stotler, David Tyo, Ryan Volk, Chris Neal, Jason Chin and a handful of others.


The majority of these competitors are bringing out Mustangs, Camaros, and a couple Corvettes. Several of these drivers
do not identify with the groups above; therefore we are putting them in a group of their own.

Finally there is our last group


TEAM Sports Car:


Before you start harassing me on this group, I will admit, I threw everyone else in this TEAM (sorry). This included your
other Evoís, some Subaruís, the little Fiat, a couple BMW's, and three Porscheís including a GT3 RS, which should
technically sweep away all other competition at OUSCI depending on the driver.


Some of the drivers include the familiar name Betim Berisha, former OUSCI competitor, Dustin Rogers, Clay Shearer and
Andrew Zalasin. Though some of you may not agree with me including all the remaining cars to this category, For the fun
of this game we will just agree to leave this category as is.


So now itís time to answer the question. Which team do you stand behind at Optimaís Search for the Ultimate Street Car
Invitational? Will it be TEAM Raft Motorsports who includes the returning champ? Or RS Motors who has been prepping for
this event since last yearís OUSCI? Maybe you are a fan of Ken Thwaits and his new ride with some extreme modifications.
Team Showtime Motorsports also has the up-and-coming kid who just started racing, but dominated his competition. Or
maybe you are more of an individualist who wants to root for a specific person or type of car.

We want to hear from you. Which TEAM will you choose? Hopefully if we get enough replies we can show our support for
these 2015 OUSCI Competitors during their race.

Please remember there are really no TEAMS during OUSCI. There are groups that will be dominant at the event (which we
have listed above), but each driver will be racing as an individual for the title. We would still like to support the competitors
while having a little fun with it, so feel free to comment below.

11-08-2015, 03:09 PM
you know my answer Brandy...even thou I ran no Optima events this season, my ShowTime car Ran 5 Goodguys events, 2 Hotchkis cup events, and the SCCA Cam Challenge winning an invite to the CAM Invitationals only to break just before the event...so the car has spent all year tuning and testing to be fast in preparation for next season with a new look on Jane and another car!


11-08-2015, 06:42 PM
All of the Farrington family is in the Team Pro-Touring category.

11-08-2015, 06:49 PM
As a member of RAFT, I want(wanted) to see Danny win again. But Im willing to help ANYONE at these events to get them back out of track.

So Cal Camaro
11-10-2015, 09:09 PM
I'm part of Team Rental Camaro, oh wait I got my car back home now...time for Camarillo Autocross in my Camaro....but I am with Showtime Motorsports/Raymond's Performance Team...

11-15-2015, 08:13 PM
Why must anyone choose sides? Exactly what does that accomplish?

PT Sportwagon
01-23-2016, 09:58 PM
I agree with Bret. Why do we need to pick sides. Put me on the Team just want to have fun.