Shields becomes first Southern Nevadan to win NHRA crown

Duane Shields brought Southern Nevada its first NHRA world championship last weekend when he clinched the Top Alcohol Dragster title in Pomona, Calif.

His 14-year journey to win the most prestigious NHRA Sportsman award ended Sunday in the season’s final event. Shields won the championship sitting on the starting line in the semifinal round when his nearest challenger, Joey Severance, lost in the run ahead of him.

“It was overwhelming when I knew I won it, but I needed to focus quickly to win my race,” Shields said. “I really wanted to win at Pomona.”

Shields, 48, lost his final race of the year but laughed about not wanting to be greedy.

He has been reflective since earning the championship.

The Boulder City resident had plenty of time to think about his father, who died three years ago. Lee Shields, one of Southern Nevada’s first drag racers, was a mainstay with his son’s team. Another avid supporter, Laurie Nason, a supervisor for Shields’ Shortline Market stores, died of cancer in September.

“Losing two people who were very close to me and our team helped put racing in its proper perspective,” Shields said.

■ DRAG RACING — Nearly 300 racecars will compete in the Street Car Supernationals today through Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s dragstrip. The featured 240 mph Pro Street category, which has cars similar to NHRA Pro Mods, will pay the winner $20,000.

Racing is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

■ GO-KARTS — The SKUSA Supernationals XV continues today through Sunday outside the Rio, featuring top go-kart racers from around the world. The featured races are slated for 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

■ ENDUROCROSS — The AMA EnduroCross Series races at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on an off-road course constructed at Orleans Arena.

■ CHAMPIONS WEEK — The third annual NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas will start with the Fanfest on Fremont Street at 2 p.m. Nov. 30, with the top 12 Sprint Cup drivers joining former “The Newlywed Game” host Bob Eubanks in a special game show open to the public.

Jeff Wolf is a freelance reporter. He can be reached at (702) 406-8165 or nitrorodeo@gmail.com.

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