BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Kin Bates, Cecil Molina Jr. and Brian Rogers all doubled up this past weekend taking home the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship along with the Nostalgia Fall Championship event win at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
Bates covered the field in A/Fuel for his third win of the year in five final rounds having locked up his 5th championship prior to this weekend's event. The Anderson, Calif. racer beat Darrell Waters in the final to go along with his wins at Speedworld and in Las Vegas. Les Davenport secured the number 2 spot with a pair of wins.
Molina and Rogers both defended their heritage series titles from 2011. Molina, out of Fresno, Calif., did it on a pair of wins in 2012 while Rogers grabbed four wins in a row close out the season. Molina was tied with Bob Johnson coming in to the event, with Dwight Garland Jr. also within striking distance. Molina took things in to his own hands winning the event over Jim Van Gordon, Alta Loma, Calif., and the championship. Johnson finished second in points.
Rogers form Mira Loma, Calif., continued his dominance in B/Gas qualifying No. 1 and beating Leonard Perry in the final. Casey Treur and Doug Araiza finished the season tied for second with Treur securing 2nd place on the tie-breaker.
Don Enriquez clinched his Jr. Fuel championship on Saturday having only to make a qualifying run while Tony Wimer had the Nostalgia Eliminator I wrapped up back in July when he won the Nostalgia Reunion at Sacramento Raceway. Enriquez started his championship run with four straight final rounds to build his points lead. Bud Hammer held on for second in Jr. Fuel. Wimer won in Las Vegas to go along with this Sacramento win, as Jimmy Morosan finished in second, 66 points back.
Both Enriquez and Wimer fell early this weekend as JD Zink and Alan Hull and took home the event Wallys. Zink beat Enriquez in round 1 then ran down former NE III Champion Tim Beeman for the win in Jr. Fuel. Hull beat Wimer in round 1, Morosan in round 2, local racer Jason Barta (Bakersfield, Calif.) in the semis and them Hans Jakob in the Nostalgia Eliminator I final.
7.0 Eliminator came down to the wire with Richard High and Booby Cottrell chasing Paul Peterson who lost to High in round 2. High, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Cottrell, Whittier, Calif., both advanced to the final which gave High the championship by just four points. Cottrell soften the disappointment by beating High in the final to take the event win and finish second in points.
Dean Hall, Ed Carey and Paul Comeau each lost in their final rounds this weekend but took home the bigger prize in the 2012 Heritage Championship. Hall's Final round secured him the A/Gas Championship ahead of Ray Padgett while Bakersfield resident Keith Morovich took the win with a ..013 second reaction time and a 7.606 run on the 7.60 index in his '67 Chevy II.
Carey finally closed the deal in D/Gas finishing second in the points chase three times in the last four years. Chris Kurtis had a chance to catch Carey but lost in round 1 while Carey moved on, advancing to the finals against Steve Barta. Barta won on a double breakout but Carey took home the Championship. Kurtis finished a solid second in the point's battle.
It does not get any closer than the chase for the Hot Rod Championship as Paul Comeau and Kurt Kaemeale finished tied at 302 points apiece. Kaemeale won the event to catch Comeau, but the Vancouver, Wash., racer won on the first tie breaker of number of round wins for the season at 14 to Kaemeale's 13.
The final two championships begin decided this past weekend were C/Gas and Nostalgia Eliminator III. C/Gas came down to the final round with Wayne Hoover needing to beat Wes Anderson to overtake Michael Williams. With Williams looking on from the starting line it was Anderson taking out Hoover and Williams taking the championship. The two were dead even off the line but Anderson was better at the strip running 9.611 at 140.07 for his first win, and first Wally Trophy. Hoover finished second in the points, 21 behind.
Rich Harrison locked up the Nostalgia Eliminator III championship when reigning champion Lindsey Lister lost in her semifinal match up to event winner Ernie McAllister. Harrison had a win in three final rounds to rack up 277 points and the championship. McAllister beat John Cassie to join Anderson as a first time winner with a lap of 9.605 at 137.32 mph. Lister finished in second with a win and a runner up to start the season.
The final two NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Championships will be decided in two weeks at the California Hot Rod Reunion presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Adam Sorokin leads the Nostalgia Top Fuel chase by 61 points over Rick Williamson and Jim Young another 22 in back of him. Nostalgia Funny Car shows 2011 champion Jason Rupert on top with 444 points followed by John Hale with 377 and Kris Krabill at 321.
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