Optima Ultimate Street Car Association USCA- Fontana Qualifier
October 4, 2016 - 10:31 am
By: Jason Wilcox
Auto Club Speedway final qualifier of the 2016 Optima Ultimate Street Car season.
Chad Ryker has absolutely driven the wheels off his ’68 Camaro this year. He attended 3 Optima events this finsihing very well in all three. Well enough in fact to earn him a points based invitation to the big show in Las Vegas. We will be making some last minute changes to the car before SEMA/OUSCI so stay tuned to our Social Media pages for updates.
Ed Moss(owner of TCI Engineering) in his ’67 Mustang. Ed placed 18th out of 40 cars. The Design & Engineering didn’t go so well for Ed due to lack of a stereo, A/C and horn. From a performance standpoint he faired pretty well, actually beating Sal in both the Autocross and Speed/Stop on Saturday. Sunday on the road course they were only a few tenths of a second apart from each other.
Sal Solorzano (TCI Engineering’s VP) driving #ProjectRedDawn finished 17th, just ahead of Ed in the Mustang. The car has a ton of power, which is not very manageable on the slick parking lots of the Auto Club Speedway. Sal had a tough time trying to modulate the throttle and keep the car under control. Sunday on the road course though the car was comfortably in its element. There is only one point of the track that requires a 2nd gear downshift, the rest of the track is 3rd & 4th gears where traction is not a problem. Towards the end of the day Sal was entering the back chicane at 110 mph and getting through without a hiccup.
We had a couple surprise attendees we weren’t expecting. A pair of early Mustangs owned by local customers. Mike Fitzwater brought out his wild ’65. Mike absolutely nailed the stance on his car. He drove the car down from the Camarillo area for his first ever performance event in this car. Mike built the car himself and made some pretty neat and functional changes. The SBF engine and radiator were both moved back roughly 10″. With nearly 50/50 weight split “The car is very balanced”, Mike said. Mike finished in 19th place just behind Ed, very good for his first outing in the car.
Ford purists need not apply: Gerald Lee’s Mustang is LSx powered. A chevy guy understands the simplicity and cost effectiveness of this swap but to a Diehard Mustang purist it is nothing short of sacrelige. Gerald’s day job is building Off-Road vehicles with his company Savvy Off-Road. He builds, sponsors and even races Off-Road vehicles. He’s even got a few wins at King of the Hammers under his belt. As the off-road racing season ended he found himself with a spare 454 LSX engine out of the race rig. These 700HP monsters are fed race fuel and might not be the best engine for street duty. Gerald had zero cares, he wanted it in the Mustang. With the addition of a proper oil pan and some different headers the engine fit like a glove. The problem now was, what transmission to use. Once again, he went outside the box and picked up the 5 speed auto that Dodge used behind the 6.1L Hemi. Of course an adapter had to be made but the transmission shifts quickly and with the added bonus of paddle shifting it makes for an epic combination. Gerald finished off in 25th place but he had a altercation with another car on the road course so his Sunday was cut short.