Rabener sweeps, Turley bags second Hot Rod Heritage championship
Mike Rabener won both the event and the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship at the Auto Club Famoso Raceway Nostalgia Fall Championship/Saturday Night Nitro while Roger Turley scored this second series championship in Nostalgia Eliminator III. NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Group 2 classes wrapped up their season and celebrated both event and series championships in the winner’s circle celebration.
Rabener’s win in D/Gas clinched him the championship over 3-time series champion Ed Carey who finished second in the points. Rabener, Paso Robles, Calif., knocked out Don Fournier with a 10.639 second lap at 125 mph in his ’67 Camaro. The win, combined with a runner up finish at Rocky Mountain Raceways gave him the championship by 22 points.
Turley, Wales, Utah, had one win in two final rounds on the way to his NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship having won the series in 2013 as well. His semifinal appearance this weekend kept him out in front of former NHRA Lucas Oil Series Champion Ed DeStaute who held on to second in the points. Turley lost in the semis of NE III to event winner Wes Morris of Boise, Idaho, who finished the season with a win and a runner up as he took out former series champion Lindsey Lister who broke out by a hundredth of a second.
In the Saturday Night Nitro action, California Hustler driver Cory Lee didn’t take long to find the groove in his recently acquired ride. Solid runs all weekend culminated into a 5.893 at 249.30 mph to take the Funny Car win. James Generalao Jr. wiggled the Fueled Altered “Impatient” to a 6.101, 227.61 pass to edge out Dan Hix’s 6.169. The Top Fuel guys have been tuning the diggers up getting ready for the CHRR. Bill Dunlap cracked off a 5.633 in qualifying with Jim Murphy just a tick behind at 5.699. Murphy couldn’t make the finals, so Rick White filled in. Dunlap took the win with a holeshot. .048 RT to White’s .159. Dunlap ran a stout 5.75 at 240.34 mph to White’s storming 5.734 at 247.88 mph.
Joining Turley with Nostalgia Eliminator Championships were Jason Barta and Gary Ryan in NE I and NE II respectively. Barta, Bakersfield, Calif., opened the season with a pair of wins at the famed March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway and the Nostalgia Reunion at Sacramento Raceway, and never relinquished the lead losing this weekend in round two to event winner Joey Trotsky. Trotsky, Ventura, Calif., outran Denise Gilbert with a 7.606 on the 7.60 index for the event win. Gregory Means finished second in NE I points advancing to two final rounds on the year.
Ryan out of South San Francisco went to two final rounds with a win in Sacramento to build his points lead in NE II to 240 which held of Robert Johnson, Visalia, Calif., who landed in second with one win. Todd Fernandez, Tulare, Calif., took home the event trophy with a lap of 8.613 at 154 mph.
In A/Gas it was Keith Morovich taking the championship with a pair of wins combined with a pair of first-round loses. The Bakersfield, Calif., racer opened the season with a win at the March Meet, then won again at the Rocky Mountain Raceways event. Ray Padgett held on to second with a pair of runner up finishes in the middle of the season. The 2010 B/Gas Heritage Champion, Steve Faller, ran his ’63 Corvette to the event win in A/Gas with a 7.651-second, 174.12-mph pass over Casey Treur and his ’33 Willys.
The Hot Rod Championship came down to the wire with Joshua Wagner, Wasco, Calif., holding the top spot going in to the weekend with Larry Cordone and Randy Aguiar close behind. Wagner, who won the season opening March Meet won his first round match-up which knocked Aguiar, Tulare, Calif., out of championship contention. Wagner lost in round two and could only watch as Cordone continued to move on before losing to Meghan Gorman in the semifinals giving Wagner his first championship. Aguiar took the event win, taking out Gorman in the final and moving up to the number two spot in points.
Doug Carter and Jim Finn took the championships in B/Gas and C/Gas respectively. Carter advanced to the semifinals in Sacramento along with a runner-up finish in Salt Lake to lead the points coming into the weekend. He, and second place finisher Doug Hampton, lost in round two to give Carter the championship and take the trophy back to Henderson, Nev. Doug Araiza, Santa Paula, Calif., was better at both ends of the track in defeating Roy Castagnetto with 8.603 (8.60 index) at 156 mph for the Nostalgia Fall Championship event trophy.
Finn, Rancho Cordova, Calif., combined a win, a runner-up and a semifinal to clinch his first NHRA Heritage Series Championship. The win came in Salt Lake after a runner-up finish in Sacramento, then the semifinal this past weekend in Bakersfield. Brian Smith held on for second with a third round loss this weekend to event winner Mike Munoz, Ventura, Calif., who downed local racer Chris Kurtis of Bakersfield.
NOSTALGIA ELIMINATOR I: Joey Trotsky (near lane), Ventura, Calif., ’32 roadster, 7.606, 177.88 def. Denise Gilbert, Fresno, Calif., ’37 roadster, 7.582, 178.71
NOSTALGIA ELIMINATOR II: Todd Fernandez, Tulare, Calif., ’32 roadster, 8.613, 154.62 def. Terri Scaduto, San Pedro, Calif., ’01 Dragster, no time
NOSTALGIA ELIMINATOR III: Wes Morris, Boise, Idaho, ’95 Altered, 9.615, 133.22 def. Lindsey Lister, San Pedro, Calif., ’72 dragster, 9.590, 135.46
A/GAS: Steve Faller (far lane), Lake Havasu City, Ariz., ’63 Corvette, 7.651, 174.12 def. Casey Treur, Santa Maria, Calif., ’33 Willys, 7.655, 174.89
B/GAS: Doug Araiza (far lane), Santa Paula, Calif., ’69 Camaro, 8.603, 156.95 def. Roy Castagnetto, Elk Grove, Calif., ’65 Chevelle, 8.570, 160.79
C/GAS: Mike Munoz(near lane), Ventura, Calif., ’65 Oldsmobile, 9.628, 137.00 def. Chris Kurtis, Bakersfield, Calif., ’68 Nova, 9.677, 137.92
D/GAS: Mike Rabener (far lane), Paso Robles, Calif., ’67 Camaro, 10.639, 125.09 def. Don Fournier, Sunnyvale, Calif., ’48 Anglia, 10.652, 127.01
HOT ROD: Randy Aguiar, Tulare, Calif., ’67 Malibu, 9.949, 132.83 def. Meghan Gorman, Bakersfield, Calif., ’73 Nova, 10.498, 128.66 (Tim Marshall photos)