Story continues below this advertisement
For the fourth time since 2004, the Nitro Thunder Nostalgia Top Fuel team, headed by Jack Harris, with son Brett Harris driving, has taken the NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel World Championship. That first championship back in 2004 saw Jack doing the driving. From then on it has been Brett at the wheel and taking titles in 2006, 2009, and 2011.This is also the fifth time the team has won the California Hot Rod Reunion. Jack has done that three times and this year it was Brett’s second title.
The 2011 season started off very solid for Brett at the March Meet final round appearance. As the summer was nearing its apex, the Posse starting picking it up. The teams scored a popular win at the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals outside of Eagle, Idaho. This win was a bit of a shocker, due to the fact that their opponent in the final round, Tony Bartone, had pretty much had everybody’s attention with a 5.57 run in qualifying and then followed it up with a 5.69 in eliminations, which is very impressive at the high desert track in Eagle, Idaho, in August.
However there were at least fifteen people on the grounds that night who thought that “Big Red” had more than just a chance to win the final, all of whom were dressed in the red shirts of Lucas Oil, one of the main sponsors of the Utah Posse.
“I was able to get into that zone at Boise” Harris said.
When you have a team like this who has been together for so long, everybody knows their job and is very capable of doing it. For Harris, having this is a level of confidence in the team is instrumental to his success. “I can mentally focus on the starting line and just driving ‘cause I know the car is up to the task. “
This confidence is what took the Posse to their first win of the year at the Nightfires over Tony Bartone. “This wasn’t our first rodeo at Firebird; we have a ton of notes from there,” Harris said. The team was impressed with what Bartone and Boggs had done there, but were confident in their own abilities as well.
Harris knew he had to run his own race and get the car from A-B leave, on time and let the chips fall where they may. As it worked out, Bartone never got to the Christmas tree before his mount started to shake the tires and he was forced to pedal the car, to no avail, and so the Posse took the win, putting them in good shape for the championship at the California Hot Rod Reunion.
The team had one more stop before the Reunion, the always popular Governor’s Cup at Sacramento Raceway. A strong field of dragsters showed up for the event. That was paced by Jim Murphy,. with the Posse third.
When the time came for the California Hot Rod Reunion, the team rolled into the famous Fomoso Raceway, full of confidence.
The car count at the Reunion was respectable as a full field of long cars made the trip to “The Patch”. Harris was excited to have a full field, and after the first qualifying session he said his confidence was once again with him. Even after Bartone and Boggs threw down another one of those huge numbers in qualifying, it really didn’t bother Harris.