Ken Thwaits competes in the 2017 Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway // Photo courtesy of Optima
By BROOKE WANSER
Ken Thwaits, the owner of Franklin-based Showtime Motorsports, won the Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car in Las Vegas this weekend.
Driving a 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution RS, Thwaits was victorious in his fourth year competing in the race. He won by expertly completing five elements: an engineering and design content, autocross, speed stop, road course and road rally.
Out of 100 participants, Thwaits took first in the speed stop and autocross, and third in the design component, receiving a total of 488 points out of a possible 500. He beat the second place competitor by three points.
“I was very driven and very determined,” he said, “especially after taking second place last year.”
Thwaits estimates he has driven the car in about 20 events, in which it had never won a race until now. At last year’s grand finale competition, the engine exploded.
“We had car problems all year long,” he said. “It’s like solving a rubix cube, you fix things better every time you fail.”
The race took place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the annual Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association convention.
Thwaits began his racing career as a teenager in southern California, before moving to Phoenix and founding Precision Dynamics International, an automotive consulting service, from his garage. The business is now located in Franklin, next door to Showtime Motorsports.
Thwaits arrived home early Monday morning after winning the competition on Sunday. He is still responding to congratulations from friends.
“My thumbs are numb,” he jokingly said.