Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational Article

2013 OUSCI Preview- Dennis Prunty's 1981 Pontiac Trans Am
October 21, 2013 at 2:59 PM
by Jim McIlvaine

West Bend Dyno has been a regular stop each year along the way during OPTIMA's search for the Ultimate Street Car. This year, Brad Reikkoff and the crew there decided it was time to step off the sideline and get into the game with this beautiful 1981 Pontiac Trans Am-  a car that has been in Reikkoff's family for decades. We know that dates Brad a bit, but this was actually his daily driver in high school.

With the knowledge Reikkoff's team accumulated over the years of watching Faceoff and OUSCI competitors roll through their facility, they knew if they wanted to get into the field with an F-body, they'd have to really step up in a big way. While there have been a lot of F-bodies in the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and K&N Filters, the inclusion of so many have made it more difficult for those that follow. What have you done that hasn't already been done better by a past competitor? Is your story better, your power, your attention to detail?

For Reikkoff, it may be all of the above and then some. While his Trans Am doesn't quite approach the outright insanity of Polly Blytt's 253-mph TA, with 950 horsepower and 938 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, it enters the conversation. An LS3-based 415 cubic-inch engine is responsible for those numbers, but not by itself. A 3.3-litre Lysholm TVS supercharger with OEM electronic fuel-injection helps push it over the top. The short block has been upgraded with all kinds of go-fast parts to help handle the boost- rods and a crankshaft from Callies, MAHLE pistons and CNC-ported LS9 heads.

Stainless Works headers and Borla mufflers handle the post-combustion plumbing and a Centerforce clutch sends all the power through a T56 transmission and into a Ford nine-inch rearend outfitted with 3.73 gears, a center section from Strange and Moser axles. While this car sounds like it was built to go fast in a straight line, the crew at West Bend Dyno definitely made sure it could handle the curves without the assistance of loose dirt from Hazzard County.

With a front subframe and four-link in the rear from Heidt's the car has been set up to handle all that power and distribute it in all the right ways. AFCO Shocks have also been thrown into the mix, along with a strong set of Wilwood brakes for stopping duty. Reikkoff took things a step further in the build, putting the car on a serious carbon fiber diet with lightweight doors and fenders helping equalize the distribution of the weight that is left in the car, while helping offset the additional pounds from the custom roll cage.

All of that is well and good, but without a driver to get the most out of it, a car like this is likely to only have a good showing in the Detroit Speed Road Rally and Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge before calling it a day. Fortunately for Brad, one of his employees and the builder of record for his car is Dennis Prunty, an amateur Wisconsin circle track racer, who proved in this year's Faceoff, that he is more than capable of turning the wheel in both directions.

Prunty may be familiar to bullring racing fans, but his name is a relatively-new one in Pro-Touring circles. Folks have taken notice quickly though. Prunty notched a top-10 finish in the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge at Road America, edging out Pro-Touring icon, Bret Voelkel for the seventh spot. From there, he went over to the Ridetech autocross and somehow managed to take out the entire field, including one of the best autocrossers in the country, 2011 OUSCI champ, Danny Popp.

Prunty (or the Trans Am) stumbled somewhat in the Wilwood Speed/Stop Challenge, but his performance in the other two events was more than enough to make everyone take notice and gave Prunty and eighth-place overall finish in the event. After receiving the invite to SEMA and Pahrump, Brad and the West Bend crew decided to go for broke with the car, which is how it ended up with so many of the parts we've already mentioned.

On the one hand, it's scary to think of what Prunty did before they made the car even lighter and faster. On the other hand, making those changes has thrown some variables into the equation. We spotted the car on Facebook headed to the paint booth just a few days ago, so we know it will be pristine for SEMA. However, that also means it has been taken apart and put back together without events to properly shake it down and identify any issues that may arise.

Did Reikkoff push the needle too close to race car and too far away from street car for the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge judges? Did his late-season upgrades cost him the consistency of a known performer? Did he make just the right changes that will allow Dennis Prunty to unseat Mark Stielow? We'll find out in Pahrump and we want you to be there. Buy your OUSCI tickets today!

On TV Thur, Oct. 31, 2013 - Faceoff at Road Americal

OPTIMA® Batteries Faceoff at Road America Qualifying Event Episode Premieres Thursday, October 31 with more high intensity performance vehicles and nail-biting action 

Oct. 17, 2013 (MILWAUKEE) – OPTIMA® Batteries, the global leader in high-performance automotive and marine AGM batteries and chargers, is proud to announce the premiere of the OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car series to air on Thursday, October 31 at 6 p.m. EDT and 9 p.m. EDT on MAV TV.
In the premiere, viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the action during the OPTIMA Faceoff at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. This regional qualifying event introduces a diverse range of performance vehicles and the stories behind the passionate drivers as they compete on one of the most historic race tracks in America.
“This episode captures the passion of the automotive community with a great cast of entertaining characters. If you’re looking for fast beautiful cars, then this is your show,” said Cam Douglass director of product development and marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. “This series has grown so much over the past few years – many thanks to our sponsors and loyal enthusiasts – and we look forward to sharing the excitement of OPTIMA’s Faceoff at Road America Qualifying Event with viewers at home.”
The fun begins as all of the Faceoff participants drive more than 60 miles through Wisconsin’s scenic Kettle Moraine State Park to the Road America facility in the Detroit Speed Road Rally. Later in the weekend, all 71 Faceoff participants get on the track to test their cars and driving skills through the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge, Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed Stop Challenge, Ridetech Street Challenge Autocross and the Lingenfelter Performance Engineering Design Challenge.
Participants traveled from all over the country to showcase their vehicle’s performance potential - making this year the most diverse yet. During the episode, four participants are awarded with invitations to OPTIMA’s Ultimate Street Car Invitational event, held after the SEMA show in Pahrump, NV. Viewers can watch (and Tweet along using the hashtag #OUSCI) to see which participants are selected based not only on their vehicle’s performance, but also the spirit and attitude they showed over the course of the weekend.
Get in on the Action
The Faceoff at Road America is a Regional Qualifier event leading up to OPTIMA’s Ultimate Street Car Invitational, to be held in Pahrump, NV, after the SEMA show in early November. Fans can purchase tickets to the sixth annual OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Tickets are $30 per person and include a free event t-shirt. The event will take place at Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, a state-of-the-art racing facility in Pahrump, Nevada on Saturday, November 9, 2013.
The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational is presented by Royal Purple Synthetic Oil and K&N Filters. This year’s event sponsors are BFGoodrich Tires, Detroit Speed and Engineering, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, Ridetech and Wilwood Disc Brakes. And finally, associate sponsors include Magnaflow Performance Exhaust, The Roadster Shop, Centerforce Performance Clutch, MAC Tools and Jet-Hot Coatings.
For more information on the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, please visit
About OPTIMA® Batteries
OPTIMA® YELLOWTOP®, REDTOP® and BLUETOP® batteries are available through leading battery distributors globally. When looking for OPTIMA Batteries consumers should look for the unique, colored-top and SIX PACK™ design which OPTIMA is known throughout the world. In 2012, OPTIMA added to its product line with the innovative OPTIMA® Chargers Digital 1200 Battery Charger for all automotive and marine batteries. To find out more information or purchase OPTIMA products consumers may visit Consumers can also call  1-888-8OPTIMA  ( 1-888-867-8462 ) for additional information.
About Johnson Controls Power SolutionsJohnson Controls Power Solutions is the global leader in lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for Start-Stop, hybrid and electric vehicles. Our 50 manufacturing, recycling and distribution centers supply more than one-third of the world's lead-acid batteries to major automakers and aftermarket retailers. Through our innovations we are building the advanced battery industry for hybrid and electric vehicles.  We were the first company in the world to produce lithium-ion batteries for mass-production hybrid vehicles. Our commitment to sustainability is evidenced by our world-class technology, manufacturing and recycling capabilities.
About Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 168,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2013, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #14 company in its annual "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list. For additional information, please visit

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Road to Vegas...Bird gets Make-Over

The Road to Vegas

Just under a month from now, Dennis, along with Brad Riekkoff, the staff of West Bend Dyno Tuning, family and friends will be headed to Nevada for the 2013 Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational.  
Below is a little photo array of some of the changes being made to "The Bird" before She Flies!

OPTIMA Batteries 
Ultimate Street Car Invitational 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (PST) Pahrump, NV

Tickets are only $30, but as of Oct. 10th, there are only 511 tickets remaining!  So if you plan to attend, get your tickets soon!  Click here for ticket information.
If you'd like to follow the progress on "The Bird",  please visit West Bend Dyno Tuning's Road to Vegas Facebook page by clicking here.

Dimples is going to the Scrap Yard!

Sadly, after many good years of racing, the orange #42 car, affectionately nick-named "Dimples" ran her last race, at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, during the ARCA Midwest Tour Oktoberfest 100, on Sunday, October 6th.
After taking a hard hit into a wall, Dimples is not repairable.
Dennis was close to winning Rookie of the Year, but was runner up, due to the wreck.
Congratulations to James Swan for winning the 2013 Rookie of the Year in the ARCAMT.

                                                    RIP  DIMPLES