by Jim McIlvaine
Photos by Kaleb Kelley
optima's Search for the Ultimate Street Car series, presented by Advance Auto Parts isn't just a search for the ultimate street cars, it's also a benchmark that car builders and car owners can point to when talking about the legitimacy of their builds. Whether it finishes first of 15th, if it finishes one of these weekends, it was probably built well enough to handle just about anything.
The two classes in this series that live and breathe Pro-Touring builds are the Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class for pre-1990 cars and the No-Limit Engineering GTT Class for trucks. Between these two classes, you'll find some of the best-built and best-performing Pro-Touring vehicles in the country. One of the interesting things about the format of this series, is that vehicles are awarded points before they are split into classes, so a competitor knows where they stand among their immediate peers, as well as the larger group, which is a precursor to the format of the optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational held in Las Vegas.
When the series visited Portland International Raceway, 50 cars and trucks hit the track for three timed segments, as well as the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge and a road rally on public roads. Pro-Touring builds have historically held an advantage in the Design & Engineering segment, because their baseline is so far removed from where those cars are now, but the late-model entries are going to great lengths to eliminate that edge.
Many late-model entries have long held a distinct advantage in the three timed segments, whether it comes via the benefit of modern aerodynamics, all-wheel drive, traction/launch control or anti-lock brakes. It is a steep challenge for Pro-Touring builds to overcome and as a result, when a Pro-Touring build does well in this series, it speaks volumes.
A look at the top-10 overall finishers in Portland shows a trio of some of Chevrolet's newest Camaros, a pair of Tesla Model 3s, a C7 ZO6, a 700-horsepower Mustang and three Pro-Touring entries, Frankie Trutanic's 1986 Buick Regal, Dustin Reed's '72 C10 and Connor Hoovler's '72 F100. The list outside of that top-ten includes even more late-model Camaros, Mustangs, Corvettes, Porsches and all-wheel drive Subarus. That's impressive company for Trutanic, Reed and Hoovler to run with, let alone stand above.
If this series visits a track near you, it's worth the trip out, just to get an up-close look at these amazing builds. If not, add the OPTIMA Network on Roku and watch all the past seasons of this series free and on-demand.
Top Ten Overall
|2022 Chevrolet Camaro
|2021 Tesla Model 3
|2004 Ford Mustang
|1986 Buick Regal
|2002 Tesla Model 3
|2018 Chevrolet Camaro
|1972 Chevrolet C10
|2016 Chevrolet Corvette
|1972 Ford F100
|2018 Chevrolet Camaro
Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class (pre-1990, 3200+ pounds)
1. Frankie Trutanic, 1986 Buick Regal
2. Rick Ray, 1971 Chevrolet Camaro
3. Scott Timmons, 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
No Limit Engineering GTT Class (Trucks & SUVs over 3200 pounds)
1. Dustin Reed, 1972 Chevrolet C10
2. Connor Hoovler, 1972 Ford F100
3. David Carroll, 1974 Chevrolet Blazer
Summit Racing Spirit of the Event Award:
Nathan Peard, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle
2023 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Schedule
|NOLA Motorsports Park
|Portland International Raceway
|Daytona International Speedway
|Daytona Beach, FL
|Virginia International Raceway
|OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational Las Vegas
|Las Vegas, NV
|October 31- November 6
More pictures, you say?
Remember to add the OPTIMA Network on Roku and watch all the past seasons of this series free and on-demand!
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