The “Invitational” has become the ultimate street car event by which a participant can earn his or her way in on points garnered at qualifying events. OR by receiving a golden ticket invitation, at the SEMA show, should your badass built streetcar capture the attention of the likes of Cam himself or partner Jimi Day.
Predicting a full week that began with a midnight load into Optima Alley at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the OUSCI participants spent time with their sponsors and other competitors. They attended SEMA build unveilings, stood in line to meet some iconic and legendary movers and shakers in the automotive industry. They attended educational seminars and mixers hosted by SEMA’s 10 diverse councils learning and exploring all the workings that SEMA has to offer. They took part in OPTIMA’s most recent virtual reality experience at the OPTIMA Booth and even made appearances of their own at OPTIMA’s Annual SEMA Press Conference. Finally, these competitors would endure the gut-wrenching critique of the judges for the Lingenfelter Design and Engineering segment the first of five segments of this monumental event. Seriously this was a big deal! You can bet they were all itching to get out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see if the improvements they made to their rides would actually make a difference in their final position when it was all said and done.
Spectre Performance had great representation at OUSCI this year in the GTV Class with returning competitor Greg Thurmond in his 1965 Candy Tangerine Corvette Stingray Resto-Mod known throughout the pro-touring world as SCAR. Along with midwest sweetheart, Linda Jacobs and her incredible Spectre Performance-equipped 1966 Butter Yellow Convertible Chevelle affectionately named “Wimpy”. Both Greg and Linda came to the 10th Anniversary ready to race with their “A” Game.
This is the third consecutive year that Spectre Performance team driver Greg Thurmond made the big show. You might remember in 2015, Thurmond’s Vette sat front and center in the Spectre Performance booth at SEMA where it did indeed catch the eye of possibly tens of thousands of SEMA show goers. More importantly, he nabbed a golden ticket invite. For 2016 and 2017 Thurmond raced his way into OUSCI and has been a force in the GTV Class each time, bringing home an 8th place GTV overall finish at this years OUSCI. When we caught up with him he shared that the Detroit Speed and Engineering Autocross, “was a bit tougher for us this year and finished up 11th in the GTV Class,” Thurmond said. However, he was rather pleased with his success at the Powerstop Brakes Speed Stop securing a 6th Place position in his class.
This year OUSCI saw the crowning of a new Grand Champion, Ken Thwaits in his 2006 Mitsubishi EVO. The racing was tight and the competition worthy. Ken also took the GTL Class Win.
GTV: Larry Wood, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
GTS: Austin Barnes, 2010 Dodge Viper
GTL: Ken Thwaits, 2006 Mitsubishi EVO
GTC: Scott Budasalich, 2006 Honda S2000
GTE: Matthew Scott, 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
GT: Bryan Johnson, 2013 Chevrolet Camaro