Conrad repeats; Lister wins third championship
Josh Conrad scored back to back NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series National Championships in D/Gas clinching the 2011 title this past weekend while Lindsey Lister grabbed her third championship in four years in the Nostalgia III class. The pair led a group of eight champions that were crowned at the Nostalgia Fall Championship event at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
Josh Conrad, D/Gas champion
Linsey Lister, Nostalgia III champion
Dale Taros, Nostalgia I champion
Conrad, Bakersfield, Calif., was the first to secure his championship needing only to qualify for the final event of the year. The defending champion from 2010 posted three wins this year including the historic March Meet at Famoso, along with wins in Las Vegas and Sacramento. Ed Carey, La Jolla, Calif., followed in second winning the opening round at Speedworld Dragstrip in Wittmann, Ariz.
Lister of Orange, Calif., also secured her championship early in the day with a first round win over Ron Kolb, then continued to work her way through eliminations advancing to the final before falling to Ryan Tietz, Riverside, Calif., in a 27 roadster. Lister piloted her 72 front-engine dragster to four final rounds this year with a win in Sacramento, finishing with a 54 point lead over Tietz who finished in second place with a pair of wins. Lister was the series champion back in its inaugural year in 2008 then again in 2009.
Dale Taros joined in on the celebration taking home the 2011 NHRA Wally Championship Trophy in the Nostalgia I class amassing 294 points in his 99 dragster with a pair of wins. Taros started the 2011 season with a win in Wittmann then won in Sacramento back in July. Taros and Lister had extra to celebrate as the two are teammates traveling the circuit and working together throughout the year. Tony Wimer, Redlands, Calif., jumped into the No. 2 spot with a win this weekend over Gabe Wood, Bakersfield, Calif.
Cecil Molina Jr. and Chris Beanes were also able to celebrate their championships following first round wins. Both also advanced to the finals with Molina cashing in for the win. This is Molinas second Nostalgia II Championship as he also won back in 2008. The Fresno, Calif., racer finished with more than a 100-point lead along with a pair of wins in his 32 roadster. Beanes driving the Beanes Family Motorsports A/Gas 51 Henry J advanced to the final round in 4 of 5 events this year cashing in on two of them with wins in Wittmann and in Las Vegas. Jay Huckleberrry and Dick Kreiger finished in a tie for second in Nostalgia II while Al White finished the year with a pair of wins in A/Gas and a second place finish.
Brian Rogers ran the table in the B/Gas category winning both the championship and the event this past weekend. Rogers was in a close points battle with John Saliani who he beat in round 2 then went on to win the event for his second win of the year in three final round appearances. Rogers, Rowland Heights, Calif., wheeled a 67 Nova to defeat Jim Teague, the 2009 Heritage Series Champion, in the final round. Saliani held on for second in the points standings.
C/Gas saw one of the tightest points chases with Justin Shears, Mission Viejo, Calif., posting a runner up finish for the Nostalgia Fall Championship event giving him the points championship over Andrea Searcey-Whiteside, Woodlake, Calif. Coming in to the event, there were seven racers with a mathematical chance at the championship, but Shears was not about to let his lead slip away and increased his lead in advancing to the final round before falling to Michael Boss, Reedley, Calif.
Dan Barrie grabbed the final championship for the weekend in the Hot Rod class with his 62 Chevy II tuned by his father, Don. Barrie, Lake Forest, Calif., started off the season with a win at the first event and never looked back. Barrie finished with 258 points followed by Steve Tremper in second at 236 with one event win as well.
The NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series continues this coming weekend where they will crown champions in the remaining five categories at the California Hot Rod Reunion presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California back at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Championship will be decided in Nostalgia Top Fuel, Nostalgia Funny Car, A/Fuel, Jr. Fuel, and 7.0 Pro.