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Ken Thwaits races his 2006 Mitsubishi Evo during the 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Ken Thwaits races his 2006 Mitsubishi Evo during the 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Champion Emerges in 10th OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational


Ken Thwaits’ 2006 Mitsubishi Evo has won the 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend.

“This car has never won a race and it’s the third year we’ve run it,” Thwaits said. “After our failure at New Jersey we stripped it down and rebuilt it from the ground up. I’ll be back next year.”
To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the top competitor in each class was awarded a Class Cup as well as a complimentary entry into a qualifying event for the 2018 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car (OSUSC) season.

The class winners included:

  • GTE Class—Matthew Scott’s 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
  • GTC Class—Scott Budisalich’s 2006 Honda S2000
  • GTV Class—Larry Woo’s 1968 Chevy Camaro
  • Franklin Road Apparel GT Class—Bryan Johnson’s 2013 Chevy Camaro
  • Recaro GTS Class—Austin Barnes’ 2010 Dodge Viper
  • Holley EFI GTL Class—Ken Thwaits’ 2006 Mitsubishi Evo

“This event was born out of the desire to give the vehicles on display at the SEMA show floor an opportunity to showcase what they’re really designed and built to do: Perform,” said Cam Douglass, director of marketing at OPTIMA Batteries and Johnson Controls. “To see how the competition has evolved in the past 10 years is incredible—from the quantity of competitors and spectators, to the pace of the competition, to the diversity of vehicles, all vying for the Ultimate Street Car title.”

The 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational put competitors and their vehicles to the test through a series of challenges, including the Lucas Oil Road Rally, Detroit Speed Autocross, Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial, PowerStop Speed Stop Challenge and the Lingenfelter Design and Engineering Competition.

Each competitor received points as they competed in the challenges; their scores were totaled to determine the winner in each category. This year, Austin Barnes’ 2010 Dodge Viper took second place and Mike Dusold’s 1967 Chevy Camaro came in third place. The top three winners for the individual competitions are listed here.

The 2017 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational will be broadcast at 8 p.m. EST on MAVTV on Dec. 1.

For more information about the OPTIMA Invitational and the 2018 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series, visit DriveOPTIMA.com.

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