Each year, OPTIMA Batteries goes on the prowl for the best street-legal performance car in America. The series travels to the nation’s most iconic tracks and opens competition to all makes and models. When the finale of the series culminates at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, the battery company crowns the Ultimate Street Car.
The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) puts competitors and their vehicles 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 receives points as they compete in the various challenges. After the Vegas competition is completed, their scores are tallied to determine the winner in each category, and one overall champion.
This year, Mike DuSold and his 1967 Camaro were crowned the 2018 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car at the 11th annual challenge at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, Mike didn’t exactly burst on the scene and start dominating the competition.
“It feels pretty surreal to be the 2018 OUSCI winner,” said DuSold. “Five years ago, when I first started competing, it was my goal to someday win. A lot of my friends said I would never get here, and it was too hard of a goal to shoot for. But today, I proved them wrong and did it. It’s been a challenge and has pushed me to the brink more than once, so getting here feels very good.”
Mike created an absolute monster when he built his 1967 Chevrolet Camaro for OPTIMA’s Ultimate Street Car series. The car features a near 50/50 weight distribution, anti-lock brakes, and 1,100 horsepower. If this isn’t the wildest, street-legal first-gen F-body the planet has ever seen, it’s surely in the top five. The interior carries a vintage fighter-plane theme, with a myriad of functional gauges and a cockpit-inspired layout.
Mike first made an appearance at the 2015 Texas Motor Speedway event in a car that was nearly a shell of what it is today. Many of the components that define a street car were absent – or not functioning – but Mike quickly caught the bug and made three more OUSCI qualifying events that season. In that inaugural year for him, he picked up the K&N Filters Spirit of the Event invitation to the 2015 OUSCI finale. That was the only time his Camaro got an invitation to Las Vegas that wasn’t based on the car’s performance.
The following season, Mike battled Rich Willhoff’s C6 Corvette for the 2016 Holley EFI GTL Class points championship, which came down to the final event and the narrowest of margins – 1,462 points to 1,458 points. He also moved up in the OUSCI final results in 2016, finishing fourth behind three cars that were more than 25 years newer than his Camaro.
Mike kept the pressure on during the 2017 season. He battled Ken Thwaits’ Evo RS and Rich Willhoff’s Corvette again for the Holley EFI GTL Class Championship and finishing just three points behind Austin Barnes’ 2010 Dodge Viper and Thwaits’ OUSCI-winning Evo.
If you want to see more on the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, you can find it by clicking here.