Posted: Jan 09, 2018
John Lazorack III's 1988 Chrysler Conquest
John Lazorack III's 1988 Chrysler Conquest has proven itself to be the Alpha in the world of Starions and Conquests, qualifying for the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational five times. Watch his interview and learn more about his incredible car
John Lazorack III may call his 1988 Chrysler Conquest a "ridiculous monster," but we think it's just perfect for OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series and the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI). Take a car that has a small, but passionate group of enthusiasts and go absolutely crazy with it, leaving virtually no part or panel untouched. Lazorack's Starquest first caught our attention in a tuner car shootout and even though it had a domestic (LSX) powerplant, they let him compete anyway. We invited him to the 2013 OUSCI and the hook was basically sunk there. John's Conquest finished 26th overall and when the qualifying series was announced for the 2014 season, we knew we'd see him again.
What we didn't anticipate was how much he would change and modify his car in the subsequent years. The improvement has been obvious and steady over the years. A qualifying effort at Auto Club Speedway in 2014 led to another appearance at the OUSCI,, where John's unconventional Chrysler moved up to a 24th place finish.
When the qualifying series revamped classes for the 2015 season, John's Conquest went into the Holley EFI GTL Class for lightweight cars under 3,200 pounds, even though it could've easily run in the GTV Class for pre-1990 vehicles with a little added ballast. The Holley EFI GTL Class proved to be a gauntlet, but John was up for the challenge. At the season-opener at Thunderhill, he finished eighth in his class, but he had two more qualifying events to run. John moved up to a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a strong finish at Auto Club Speedway helped him to a fourth-place finish in the Holley EFI GTL Class. His third appearance at the 2015 OUSCI showed improvement again, with his first top-20 overall finish in 19th place.
The 2016 season was a transitional year for Lazorack, as he started out in the Holley EFI GTL Class, but moved over to the GTV Class by the end of the year. The Vegas stop netted him a sixth-place finish in his class and he followed that up later in the year with another sixth-place finish at bucket-list track, Circuit of the Americas, which netted him an invite to his fourth OUSCI. While another strong finish later in the year would've clinched a top-five finishing position for Lazorack in the Holley EFI GTL Class, he opted instead to add ballast and start from scratch in the GTV Class for his final event of the regular season. John was an immediate contender in the GTV Class, capturing a podium spot behind Jake Rozelle's '69 Camaro and Mike Maier's '66 Mustang. While Danny Popp continued to add to his list of OUSCI victories in 2016, John's Conquest moved up again to a 12th place overall finish.
When the 2017 season began, Lazorack announced his presence immediately with a GTV Class win at the season-opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With his fifth OUSCI invite locked up, John could've coasted for the rest of the year and re-emerged for SEMA and the OUSCI in late-October. Instead, he opted to attend another local qualifying event at Auto Club Speedway, where he once again topped the GTV class and suddenly found himself in contention for the regular season GTV Class championship. With assistance from one of his sponsors (Falken Tires), John made it to the regular season finale at Road America, where he squared off with the Camaros of Larry Woo and Brian Hobaugh, which were also in the GTV Championship chase.
Lazorack's Chrysler topped Hobaugh's 73 Camaro, but Larry Woo's '68 Camaro won the day at Road America. However, John captured enough points that he was able to hold off Woo by just 13 points for the GTV regular season championship. If Lazorack's past OUSCI performances were any benchmark for the quality of the 2017 OUSCI field, it was easily the toughest and deepest in the event's history. While John had made a continual climb in the final standings in each of his first four OUSCIs, he finished 17th in the 2017 event, five positions back of his 2016 finish. Any top-20 finish in the OUSCI is still impressive, especially as the fields get tougher with each passing year.
We don't know when or where we'll see John's Conquest in 2018, but we know it will be an improved version of what we last saw and he'll be contending for a win in whatever class he runs in. If you'd like to see these events in person, check out the 2018 schedule here.