Drag Illustrated Issue 173, December 2021 - Page 38

Unstoppable

Sean Bellemeur goes back-to-back in MWDRS Top Alcohol Funny Car , adds NHRA world championship By Josh Hachat

Based on his tremendous track record in Top Alcohol Funny Car , Sean Bellemeur winning a world championship might not exactly be breaking news . But doing it in two series certainly is , marking another tremendous accomplishment for one of the sport ’ s great teams and drivers .

Bellemeur laid claim to the world title in both the NHRA and the Mid-West Drag Racing Series , capping off another incredible year with a huge hot streak to end the season . Driving for team owner Tony Bartone and with standout tuner Steve Boggs calling the shots , Bellemeur has been nearly unstoppable in recent seasons , but 2021 will truly go down as a special one for the California native .
The NHRA championship is his third , while he ’ s now laid claim to both world titles in the MWDRS since the series brought in Top Alcohol Funny Car in 2020 . He ’ s been the marquee force in the eighth-mile series and Bellemeur has enjoyed every bit of the new experience .
“ Everybody at the MWDRS have been gold to us ,” Bellemeur says . “ They ’ ve treated us like family . We ’ re talking about doing match races and things like that ( against the Pro Mod cars ), and it ’ s been a really good time . We traveled to the part of the country that ’ s door car mania and I ’ ve been really surprised by the reception . I ’ ve had a lot of fun doing it .”
Last year marked the first time Bellemeur had raced in the eighth mile since his days of racing Jr . Dragster , but he ’ s embraced the new atmosphere , visiting a number of tracks for the first time as Top Alcohol Funny Car continues to progress in the Mid-West Drag Racing Series .
Bellemeur loves the treatment of the racers and the class becoming the star of the show , two factors he believes will only lead to growth as far as racer participation .
“ We ’ re in the early stages of it . It ’ s only going to get bigger and better ,” Bellemeur professes . “ It ’ s really cool and it ’ s exciting race . The tracks are prepped really well and it has been so much fun . Being able to stir it up and mix it up , it ’ s a new fresh feeling and that ’ s been really cool .”
In claiming the 2021 championship in the Mid- West Drag Racing Series , Bellemeur won four events , including the opener at Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris , Texas , and the Great Bend Nationals in August .
That marked his first trip to SRCA Dragstrip and the standout raved about the facility and a phenomenal racetrack . He followed that up with wins at two of the final three races to ward off the likes of Annie Whiteley , Chris Marshall and Bill Bernard , including the finale in Ferris .
“ I am Tony Bartone ’ s driver . Tony and Steve Boggs treat me so well , and we have a mojo that just something there works . That ’ s had a lot to do with the success we ’ ve had ,” Bellemeur says .
Bellemeur has also praised the feel of the Mid- West Drag Racing Series and how well the Top Alcohol Funny Car class has been accepted at every event .
Seeing the category has been a new experience for a number of fans at the different tracks , but Bellemeur has done his best to put on a show , noting the unique nature of trying to manhandle a Top Alcohol Funny Car . He loves the challenge of leaving the starting line and keeping it straight , along with everything else that has to happen to make a run in the 3.50s in the eighth mile .
“ It is the ultimate assault on the senses being in the car . You get two of those things at 7,000 RPM on the starting line , it ’ s rocking the ground ,” Bellemeur says .
It ’ s also been a definite fan-favorite and Bellemeur has been blown away by the reception , from not only the fans but also with the MWDRS . The new schedule for 2022 includes trips to Memphis and St . Louis , along with a return to Great Bend and the usual stops in Tulsa , Martin and Ferris , and Bellemeur is already excited .
He ’ s noticed more and more people talking about the Mid-West Drag Racing Series and he ’ s confident that will lead to an even bigger year for Top Alcohol Funny Car in the series .
“ These tracks we ’ re going to , it reminds me of being a little kid and watching my dad match race ,” Bellemeur adds . “ That sort of exposure is so refreshing for us . I wish we had three more races this year . This is a fresh , new thing for us and it keeps us going .
“ The Mid-West Drag Racing Series is gaining steam and has gained a lot of ground in the past year ,” he continues . “ The respect level we get is second to none and it ’ s great to see some new racetracks . They ’ ve got plenty of sponsor backing and they just do it the right way , and their presentation of it all is just great .” DI
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RICK BELDEN AND COLE ROKOSKY
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