Optima Street Car Challenge Schedule - Vintage Mustang Forums

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-10-2015, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Optima Street Car Challenge Schedule

I'm just wondering how many PNW'ers would attend this event if held farther north than Thunderhill in February? I'm in a battle with USCA, the organizers of this event, to get another event scheduled at either PIR, Pacific Raceways, or The Ridge (or anything farther north than northern CA). They said that the event held at PIR in 2014 didn't have enough folks from the northern states to warrant another event there. My issue is driving through the Siskyous in February...their response is, if I have an issue with that, then I will have an issue with driving to Vegas in November (done that, I'm fine with it...and not like I have a snowflake's chance in h*ll of making the finals).

Can I get a roll call of interested folks? First-timers usually get 50% off, so that's about $250 for a two-day event. The website is USCA – Ultimate Street Car Association | USCA = Real Cars, Real People, Real Tracks, Real Fun


1966 Restomod/track car, 1973 Q-code Mach 1, 1989 GT, 1997 F250 diesel, 2005 retired OSP Crown Vic, 2015 Focus ST-2
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-11-2015, 08:38 AM
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I'm interested in their program. Just picked up the car but plan to have it autox/track ready by spring.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-11-2015, 09:02 AM
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Never heard of this event last year or I would have gone for sure. I would attend the whole thing. If I thought it was fun and safe, then I would possibly consider traveling to a different track to attend their event. Count me in

66 coupe, '93 Fox seats, Three point belts, 289, 500 Cfm, Weiand, Hipo manifolds, duel exhaust, T5 trans, Pro 5.0 shifter, 3.40 open, KH front disc, Porterfield R4-S pads, 1" front sway bar, Shelby drop, Spring perch relocation, Shelby quick steer, GT progressive coils (1/2 coil cut), 4.5 leaf mid-eye, KYB Gas-A-Just front & GR-2 rear, Export brace, Monti-Carlo bar, Sub-frame connectors, Performance alignment (+3.5 caster/-.5 camber), 16x7 wheels, 215/55/16 & 225/55/16 BFG G-force

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2015, 12:56 AM
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Sparky you already know my thoughts on this.....but for the record I'll give my .05 worth.

First of all, these events are the best motorsports events I've ever been a part of. The amount of seat time you get in every event is more then you'll get anywhere else, we've actually returned to the pits early, driver and car worn out! Everyone involved from the event organizers to the other competitors are super nice and real easy going. I've met a lot of folks up and down the west coast that I now consider friends and look forward to seeing and hanging out with again.

I've been to Laguna Seca, Pahrump, Portland and Thunderhill with this series. Portland for whatever reason was a total flop, something like 16-18 cars...that doesn't pay the bills. Everyone at the PIR event was from out of town. I don't know what to say other than we all had a good time but knew that it wouldn't be back anytime soon.

Laguna was a blast but that's a long haul, epic track and beautiful area but it's a ways from home. Pahrump...private track, super cool, gun range and whore houses...they don't run there any longer but it was a hoot!

I think our best bet to get an event back to the NW....show up in force at Thunderhill and voice our opinions. I already know 4 guys from this area are going and I think we're hooking up with another 1-2 in the Portland area. I'm willing to bet that if 10-15 cars show up with Wa. and Or. plates and we fly the flags in the pits, they'll take notice. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed running around T-Hill.

Sparky I applaud you for getting this going!
Oh, and about the Siskiyou Pass....not a trace of the white stuff this year.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2015, 02:14 AM
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Sounds like they did a poor job of advertising the event. I never heard of it before and would have participated. Look at the turn out at the Roundup Ride-n-Drive event. I also noticed several late model guys who race at PIR and The Ridge over on the AllFordMustangs forum. Traveling to other tracks is a very expensive endeavor which I do not think many could afford to do. Let me know if I can do anything locally to support the cause.

66 coupe, '93 Fox seats, Three point belts, 289, 500 Cfm, Weiand, Hipo manifolds, duel exhaust, T5 trans, Pro 5.0 shifter, 3.40 open, KH front disc, Porterfield R4-S pads, 1" front sway bar, Shelby drop, Spring perch relocation, Shelby quick steer, GT progressive coils (1/2 coil cut), 4.5 leaf mid-eye, KYB Gas-A-Just front & GR-2 rear, Export brace, Monti-Carlo bar, Sub-frame connectors, Performance alignment (+3.5 caster/-.5 camber), 16x7 wheels, 215/55/16 & 225/55/16 BFG G-force

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-12-2015, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponyboy View Post
Sounds like they did a poor job of advertising the event. I never heard of it before and would have participated. Look at the turn out at the Roundup Ride-n-Drive event. I also noticed several late model guys who race at PIR and The Ridge over on the AllFordMustangs forum. Traveling to other tracks is a very expensive endeavor which I do not think many could afford to do. Let me know if I can do anything locally to support the cause.
I didn't hear about it either until AFTER the 2014 PIR event, and was really looking forward to it for 2015, but no. This is exactly what I've set my car up to do, and do well. I agree that their advertising kinda sucks, as I've run into tons of people that would go, but have never heard of it. Part of it may also have to do with track availability as well, but I don't have any insight into that.

Unfortunately, I can't commit to Thunderhill in 2016 as my shoulder's healing takes precedence , but if by some miracle I'm good to go - and my car is too - I'll sign up. And I agree - traveling that far costs money that I'd normally be putting into the car itself. USCA's response has been basically, if I can't travel 7 hours for one event, then to just not go, as Vegas is even farther, and if I can't drive to Vegas then I shouldn't even try to qualify (like I really have a chance). Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of their attitude.

I have half a mind to get a hold of the folks at The Ridge and ask them about an event for 2017...


1966 Restomod/track car, 1973 Q-code Mach 1, 1989 GT, 1997 F250 diesel, 2005 retired OSP Crown Vic, 2015 Focus ST-2
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2015, 10:29 PM
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We really appreciate everyone's feedback, especially as it relates to our promotion of these events. For the last several years, I've wondered what kind of impact advertising on forums like this one has for us. I can obviously look at the analytics and see how many folks click through on ads, but I also acknowledge part of the value of running banner ads is increasing familiarity with a brand and/or event, which may cause someone to act at a later date, even if they don't click that day. However, the fact that we ran ads on this forum for the Portland event and none of you noticed them suggests that was clearly not an effective means, just as the threads I've started in past years to promote events here had almost no response.

We also ran ads in a wide variety of magazines, from Hot Rod to Car & Driver, but those clearly missed the mark with you guys as well. Fortunately, our promotional efforts seem to work well in at least some areas, as almost all of the events sold out last year and all of them are expected to sell out this year. One of the few that didn't sell out was Pike's Peak, but the track wanted the series there and made a deal that basically ensured we wouldn't lose money if there was a bad turnout (and it was decent at 47 cars).

We now have two years worth of registrations and a good idea of where folks are coming from to attend these events, regardless of where the events are held. We always hope to get more new competitors to attend, but because the series is only in it's third year, there is still a conservative mindset when it comes to scheduling. There is a greater degree of safety in holding events where you can draw from a radius and events like Power Tour probably stick to the Midwest for that reason.

We know Road America will sell out and it's a bucket list track for a lot of folks and Optima's home track, so we'll go there every year. We had a great response at Charlotte and NCM Motorsports Park and everyone wanted to go back, so they were included again in 2016. We know we'll sell out at Auto Club, so we'll go back there again and we know folks want to go to Las Vegas because it's Vegas and they want more time on the OUSCI track, so we'll visit there again. We want to have at least three West Coast dates and based on past attendance at Thunderhill and Portland, we know Thunderhill is the obvious choice.

Circuit of the Americas was a no-brainer and we expect that will be the first to sell out, as no one is sure when we'll get back there again, if ever. PPIR made us another offer too good to turn down and everyone loved the experience there, so we'll head back there again. That leaves two new tracks in New Jersey Motorsports Park and NOLA to round out the schedule with one more event than we had last year. We don't know what the turnout will be at either one, but I know we've heard from a lot of people in the Northeast who are wanting more in their area, just like you guys would like another one in the Northwest. The turnout at Pittsburgh was good enough from folks in that part of the country, that we were willing to venture even further East to NJMP in 2016.

There will be a few who still want us to host an event in their backyard and some have requested that of locations that don't even have road courses. The nature of our events requires a certain type of venue that is not necessarily even available at every road course and the size of our fields has now limited us even further, as we've started to grow out of some of the tracks we've run at in the past. We also have limitations in the schedule with available dates. PIR happened to have what we needed in terms of a venue and date in 2014, we just didn't get great registration.

I'd love to see us return to the Pacific Northwest, but I don't want to mislead you guys either. It would be great to see a half dozen cars from Portland and/or Washington make it down to Thunderhill and I'd consider that a big turnout, since Ryan Volk is typically just about the only guy we see out of that region. Even a turnout like that probably isn't going to convince anyone that we need to go back up there, when we had three times as many cars from California make the trip to Portland. I hope we get to a point soon, where we don't have to worry about where or when we schedule an event, because we know people will make a point of being there. Maybe this will be the year where we gain that confidence and we'll make it back to the Northwest in 2017?

Jim McIlvaine
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2015, 11:50 PM
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Jim,
What about Miller Motorsports Park? Unfortunately they are closed but I would think that that would leave their schedule wide open to venues.

Bruce
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-15-2015, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Jim, thank you for your response.

I understand the economic reason for limiting the number of events, and trying to maximize the number of cars per event. Truly, I do. But I also hope that the point was made that very few of us knew about this event, and therefore couldn't even attend 2014 Portland to boost attendance numbers. Mind you, I'm fairly connected with racing folk up here...and nothing, nada, until I happened across an article on Jalopnik about it (fall of 2014, IIRC).

As far as backyard, Portland isn't even close to my backyard (neither is TRMP or PR, really). I would just hope that every region that has an available track would have the chance to host an event. Maybe in the future, put the call out to various car/track clubs to gauge interest before contacting a track?

I guess my biggest gripe would be how my - and others' - comments were handled on FB. To say to someone that if they can't drive to Vegas, then to just not compete, is not only rude in my book, but completely goes against the OUSCI's mantra of having safe fun at the track.

Again, thanks for your response. Sorry for griping.


1966 Restomod/track car, 1973 Q-code Mach 1, 1989 GT, 1997 F250 diesel, 2005 retired OSP Crown Vic, 2015 Focus ST-2
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-16-2015, 11:29 AM
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Hi Sparky, I don't see it as griping at all and I'm happy to do my best to explain the thought process behind the series as best I can and I'm glad you understand where we're coming from in this regard. As I mentioned, we advertised the Portland event on this forum and many other sites, including Jalopnik. While I understand some folks tune out banner ads, not everyone does, because we have the data that says so. We do evaluate the ads we run every year and I'll be sure to have those folks take a hard look at revising the event ads going forward, in an attempt to make them stand out differently for the 2016 season. I also have the personal experience on this forum of people simply not showing much interest in these events when I reached out directly in the past- three threads, 2,100+ views and not a single comment or question. The three responses you received in this thread seem to back that up as well.

I lived in Seattle for two years and made many trips to Portland during that time, as well as quite a few trips back to Wisconsin. I guess everything is relative, but in my experience Portland is a backyard trip from anywhere in Washington. We have many competitors in the series who rack up thousands of miles to run a single event and they see it the same way. Some of our competitors in the L.A. area almost feel like they have an unfair advantage, because they have Fontana so close by and Las Vegas just four hours away. The reality is, L.A. is a major population center and we get large numbers of competitors from that area at events all around the country. New York City may be a major population center as well, but we hardly get anyone from that area, so running an event in New Jersey is a bigger risk.

While the qualifying series is only in it's third season, the OUSCI is in it's ninth year. Every year we've held the event, we've had folks from all over the country (and several from outside the US) compete. That has given us a very good understanding of what is involved in making the commitment to go to Las Vegas or even extending a previously-planned trip there. It's not easy and it's not for everyone and we get that. People turn down invitations to the OUSCI every year as a result. We also understand that some folks have no interest in going to Vegas, but do want to run in the qualifying events.

We're happy to have anyone come out and run in the qualifying events, but our goal with the series is to find cars to send to Las Vegas. That makes it more of a priority to find people willing to make that trip, than appeasing folks who want a qualifying event closer to where they live. The first year was probably not the right year to go to the Pacific NW market, but as successful as the series has become, there is still a great deal of thought that goes into scheduling and selecting venues. As much as we want to please everyone, we know that won't be possible, but we'll keep trying.

Jim McIlvaine
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