Optima’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car Round 5: Road America, WI

Segment 1: Falken Tire Hot Lap

This year the Optima Batteries Search for the Ultimate Street Car Round 5 held at Road America had a flipped schedule with the road course, speed stop and Road Rally segments on Friday and the Autocross and Design and Engineering on Saturday. The Falken Tire Hot Lap challenge was a battle in the GTS class as it has been all year. The Wisconsin weather struck once again this year and we were only able to get one semi dry session on the iconic track. The AWD GT-R’s of Steve Kepler (2nd Place) and Bob Sobey (3rd Place) were able to edge outs Jordan Priestley (4th Place) in the JDP C7 Corvette “BERNICE”. However, despite the wet conditions it was Ryan Matthews in his 2002 C5 Corvette that managed to take first place with a best time of 2:31.274 putting GTS in the top 4 places overall. In the GT Class John Grow in his JDP 1200x equipped Camaro ZL1-1LE “LILITH” was able to take the fastest lap time in class. John ran a time of 2:37.869, beating out Jonathan Blevins in his built 2008 Shelby GT500 by just less than one second. Bryan Reilley had a very impressive showing in his 2017 Camaro ZL-1, which is equipped with a JDP 900x package, and fitted with our Track Spec Suspension Package. Mike Rovere had an awesome showing in his JDP prepared C6 Z06 in the GTL Class taking 2nd in class to Chris Jacobs in his C5 Corvette.

Segment 2: PowerStop Brakes Speed Stop

Speed Stop is unique to the Ultimate Street Cr Series and some competitors love it while others don’t. The course was wet most of the day making it very challenging. This was again, a segment where the AWD GT-Rs were able to take first and second place. Strategy and traction proved to be quite the challenge. Jordan Priestley made all of his runs in the wettest times of the day, the course dried out in the late afternoon putting Jordan back to 8th place in the GTS class. In the GT class John Grow struggled with the conditions in what is typically one of his strongest segments putting him in 9th. Bryan Reilly in his freshly built 900x Track Spec ZL-1 “TH3LMA” took 3rd place in his first Speed Stop! Mike Rovere had a strong showing in GTL with a strong 2nd Place finish!

Segment 3: Lucas Oil TV Road Rally

The Road Rally segment was a short one! Both in distance and time with only 30 minutes to complete the route. We can typically take in the scenery during this segment but this one was a point A to point B. All of the JDP Team Members made it to the Rally Point and back to the track in time, without getting pulled over, to receive their full 100 points towards the overall event.

Segment 4: Lingenfelter Design and Engineering

The design and engineering portion at Road America was a somewhat interesting one this time around. The GTS Class was tight with Jordan Priestley taking 3rd place in class and 6th Overall for a solid finish.The GT Class saw Bryan Reilly in his JDP 900x Track Spec ZL-1 “TH3LMA” taking a stab at trying to impress the judges with his beautiful car. With a little help from JDP Technician, Greg Nelson, Bryan was able to pull off an impressive score for his first time, which put him in 5th place, just two spots behind John Grow and “LILITH”. The GTL Class was tight once again with Mike Rovere and Chris Jacob tied for 2nd Place!!!!!

Segment 5: QA1 Autocross

The Autocross segment was run on the Go Cart Track that has tight turns and 60ft elevation changes!!!. In the GTS class, it was very clear that Steve Kepler in his Nissan GT-R would hold on to take the first place, Kepler had an amazing weekend of racing and came out on top of the class not just in one event, but won it overall. Priestley was able to get his fastest time on his last run of the day, running a 47.146, which put him in 3rd place for Autocross. The GT class saw Bryan Reilley in “TH3LMA” finishing in the 10th spot in class, and John Grow in “LILITH” finishing two spots above them in 8th. In the GTL class Mike Rovere held the lead over Chris Jacobs until the last run of the afternoon! The GTL Class was shaking up to be one of the closest battles on record!!!

Overall Event Results

At the end of the event, Team JDP was feeling defeated after struggling with strategy in the rain during the Hot Lap and Speed Stop challenges, we did not know quite how we would finish overall. In GTS class, Steve Kepler pulled off an amazing performance finishing with a score of 498 points out of a possible 500. This gave Kepler and his GT-R 1st in class and Overall. JDP Team Leader, Jordan Priestley tied with Ryan Matthews in his C5 Corvette for 2nd but the tie breaker, Design and Engineering, put Jordan in 2nd and Ryan in 3rd with 466 points. The GTL Class didn’t disappoint with Mike Rovere and Chris Jacobs tying for 1st!!! The tie breaker again was Design and Engineering, remember they tied in D&E. This is something that hasn’t happened before in series history!!! The next tie breaker was the Autocross, since Chris edged Mike out on his last run he took 1st with Mike in 2nd. The Invite to the OUSCI went to Chris but he declined the invite which means Mike is going to SEMA and the OUSCI!!

In the GT class we had no idea where the cards were going to fall. It was no surprise when they announced that Jonathan Blevins took 1st place with his beautiful Ford Shelby GT500, but Jonathan already has an invite. When they announced 2nd place it was once again a tie!!! Brendan King and JDP team member, John Grow both had finished with 422 points. The tie breaker for these events AGAIN is the Design and Engineering scores. John “Dee” Grow had the higher score in D&E and he took 2nd Place in the very tough GT Class earning him the Invite to SEMA and the OUSCI!!!! Great job John and Congratulations on the invitation.

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