DI Best of 2020: Top Alcohol Funny Car Joins Mid-West Drag Racing Series
Top Alcohol Funny Car, a class considered by many in the sport to be one of the hardest types of cars to drive, got to shine in a new spotlight this year when Keith Haney’s Mid-West Pro Mod Series announced it would add the class to its lineup this season. The class would race in the series’ eighth-mile format, but it would race for more money than NHRA pays to win at national events or regional races. The base winner’s purse was set at $10,000, though the winner walked away with more in most cases.
Two-time NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car world champion Sean Bellemeur swept the first two races in his Steve Boggs-tuned Camaro. Pacific Northwest driver Chris Marshall won the Martin event, worth double points, then Texas’ Bryan Brown won the season finale at Tulsa.
Eighteen different drivers raced in the Mid-West Top Alcohol Funny Car program over the course of four events. The payouts, co-headlining status and competition drew in marquee names like Bellemeur, Marshall, Shane Westerfield and Annie Whiteley. Two-time NHRA world champion and former nitro Funny Car driver Jonnie Lindberg made it to two races. Plus, two-time NHRA Pro Mod world champion Stevie “Fast” Jackson made his Top Alcohol Funny Car debut in Annie Whiteley’s Camaro at the Summer Speed Spectacular in St. Louis, even making it to final round to face Bellemeur.
The Top Alcohol Funny Car class was added to the Mid-West Drag Racing Series lineup with title sponsorship from Jim and Annie Whiteley’s J&A Service. After joining the Mid-West series at four races this year, the class will compete at all eight races on the 2021 schedule for a $20,000 season championship bonus.
The new spotlight on the class was a huge hit for drivers, teams, fans, tracks and the Mid-West Drag Racing Series alike. Drivers had great things to say about the program, leading one to believe more entries will fill the pits in 2021.
“It felt so great to be respected as one of the big guys,” Bellemeur said after winning the first MWDRS TAFC race, which paid $20,000 to the winner. “I hadn’t been this excited for a race in a long time. The reception we’ve received from the (MWDRS) has been nothing but positive. The opportunity to go have fun and then you throw a big pile of cash on top of it, it was amazing. The buzz was great and there was just a bunch of bad hot rods.”
This feature is a part of Drag Illustrated’s “Best of 2020” series, where we’ll take a look back at some of the biggest runs, best moments and most memorable happenings from the 2020 season.