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AIRAID Drivers Use Upcoming Optima Pikes Peak Race To Prepare For The Final Showdown


AIRAID driver Ken Thwaits has dominated the GT Class this season with three first place wins

Three AIRAID drivers know all too well what it takes to be declared “The Ultimate Street Car.”  AIRAID drivers Ken Thwaits, Brian Hobaugh, and Jordan Priestley have all competed at the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway each November.  The Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) is a race that is not only growing in popularity, but in competition.  OUSCI is an invitation only event.  Several drivers will race their way into OUSCI by wining their class at one of ten events held across the country during the 2016 race season.  While many drivers set out to claim an invite at the upcoming Pikes Peak International Raceway, only four will go home victorious.


As Thwaits heads to Pikes Peak, tough competition waits ahead in the GT Class

Ken Thwaits has already claimed a spot into OUSCI with his AIRAID sponsored 2014 Camaro Z28.  Thwaits has won three of the four Optima events in the GT Class this season.  The multi-time champion knows what is needed to secure the title as Ultimate Street Car.

The Showtime Motorsports Z28 is not the only vehicle Thwaits competes in throughout the race season.  Thwaits’ extensive car collection includes Camaros of various years though there is one car that sticks out among the rest.  Thwaits’ 2006 Mitsubishi Evo RS, built by RS Motors, has also seen the pavement.  Thwaits has been known to jump between two cars, racing both the Camaro and Evo during a single event.


Brian Hobaugh claimed the title of Ultimate Street Car at the 2013 OUSCI in his 1965 Corvette

While Thwaits is already on his way to Pikes Peak International Raceway, another AIRAID racer is coming back out for his third Optima event of the 2016 season.  Racer Brian Hobaugh has also secured his invite into OUSCI during the Optima Thunderhill Raceway event this past February.

Hobaugh overall victory during the 2013 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational earned him the title of having the “Ultimate Street Car.”  Unfortunately, the following year marked a new driver as having the Ultimate Street Car, leaving Hobaugh to question if his 1965 Corvette could keep up with the aggressive competition.


Hobaugh set his ’65 aside in exchange for a 2003 Z06, which won the GTS Class at Thunderhill Raceway in February

Eventually it was time for a change as Hobaugh parked the ’65 Corvette in exchange for a 2003 Z06.  Hobaugh raced the Corvette during the 2015 season, which earned him an invite to compete at the 2015 Invitational last November.  Throughout the winter Hobaugh made some necessary changes to the car before the first Optima event took place at Thunderhill Raceway this season.  Whatever was done to the car was a huge improvement from the previous season, earning him an immediate win in the GTS class and securing a spot to compete at this year’s OUSCI.

Both Ken Thwaits and Brian Hobaugh have won at least one Optima event this season, but there is a third driver that quite possibly wants the title of the Ultimate Street Car more than any other competitor.  AIRAID driver Jordan Priestley and his 2016 Camaro have had a very busy race season, not only competing in the Optima Series, but in NASA, NMCA West and several other events across the country.  Though based out of Utah, Priestley has traveled from coast to coast on more than one occasion.


Priestley’s support team includes his wife and daughter, who have been traveling to several of the race events throughout this season

Priestley spent the first half of the season sorting out the newly purchased Camaro and making small upgrades before each event.  Priestley’s first event out in the 2016 Camaro was back in February at Thunderhill Raceway.  With a completely stock Camaro, Priestley did exceptionally well, placing third overall in the GT Class.  In addition to his third place win, Priestly was also racing his 2011 Camaro SS, in which he placed second overall in the GT Class.  With a second and third place win at the first event for the season, Priestly long term plan for the 2016 Camaro was just getting started.

During the Optima Las Vegas Motor Speedway event Priestly placed second once again, just behind driver Ken Thwaits.  Since Thwaits already received his OUSCI invite at the Thunderhill, Priestley was automatically awarded the invite though placing second.  Securing an invite meant that Priestly could focus on the Camaro for the rest of the season, continuing the modification process and dialing it in before November’s big event.


Jordan Priestley is trying to claim his first win of the season at an Optima event in his 2016 Camaro

Though Hobaugh typically competes in a GTV or GTS class in the Optima series, the final event will not divide competitors into a class structure.  OUSCI is the battle to see who will be the ultimate street car regardless the make and model.  All three AIRAID drivers will be competing against each other at OUSCI for the overall win.  Brian Hobaugh, who was once declared the overall winner at OUSCI, has what it takes to win the title once again.  Ken Thwaits has a team dedicated to helping him achieve his goal of becoming the Ultimate Street Car at OUSCI.  Jordan Priestley’s vast amount of seat time in 2016 Camaro is irreplaceable as he continues to dial-in his new ride for the big event.  All three drivers will be attending the Pikes Peak event with the hopes of winning their class, but also to get seat time before November.  Though winning their class at Pikes Peak International Raceway is the ideal way to end the weekend, all three drivers have the same end goal of being declared the “Ultimate Street Car.”

For more info on any of the AIRAID drivers sign up for the AIRAID Newsletter.  We will continue to watch all three AIRAID drivers throughout the next four months as they prepare their cars and mental state for one of the most competitive races of the season, the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational.


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