“The beauty of Top Alcohol Funny Car is that the class is very driver dependent – you have to drive it right. It will show on the scoreboard when you don’t.” – Sean Bellemeur
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #183, the Sportsman Special Issue, in July/August of 2023. Photographs by Tara Bowker, Joe McHugh, Rick Belden, and NHRA]ALL-STAR SIGHTING: NHRA Pro Stock wheelman Dallas Glenn signs hero cards for Route 66 Raceway fans during a special autograph session ahead of the first-ever NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout, where Glenn was the No. 1 seed.
FATHERLY ADVICE: Past NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Hector Arana leans in to give his son, Hector Arana Jr., some guidance before he makes a qualifying pass at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals near Charlotte.
GROUND-POUNDING POWER: Carolina Panthers offensive linemen Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen are taken aback by the multi-sensory experience that is standing on the starting line when four nitro-powered Top Fuel machines take off during the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
FLEXIN’ FOWLER: PDRA Elite Top Sportsman driver Jamie Fowler flexes for the camera in the staging lanes at GALOT Motorsports Park. Fowler recently made the move up to the Elite field with a ‘69 Camaro previously campaigned by Chris Rini in Pro Nitrous.
MOTORIN’ ON: Pennsylvania’s Shawn Nardi prepares his Mike Bos-built “Motorin’” Jr. Dragster for qualifying at the PDRA East Coast Nationals, where he dropped a tight first-round race with Pro Jr. Dragster points leader Brayden Davis.
SILENT KILLER: Outlaw racing veteran Ken Quartuccio steps out of his ProCharged “Serial Killer” ‘69 Camaro after making a pass at GALOT Motorsports Park. He went to the semifinals at the first two PDRA races of the season, then scored his first-ever Pro Boost win at Maryland to take over the points lead going into the second half of the year.
THE ZOMBIE: Longtime outlaw dragster pilot Jody Stroud is feeling good after making a sub-3-second pass in his blown alcohol dragster known as “The Zombie.” He currently holds both ends of the PDRA Elite Top Dragster national record.
HELPING HAND: Past PDRA Elite Top Sportsman world champion Buddy Perkinson packs his parachutes with a little assistance from his young son, Ryan. The Virginia native has qualified No. 1 at three of the first four races of the PDRA season.
THE CHAMP: Kirk Williams, the defending Funny Car Chaos season champion, warms up his Williams Brothers Racing “200 Proof” Top Alcohol Funny Car at Eddyville Raceway Park’s “Chaos in the Cornfield.”
BACK AT THE TRACK: Ken Singleton, one of the original stars of the Funny Car Chaos series, is clearly glad to be back at the track after surviving a brutal fire in his methanol-burning Funny Car early in the 2022 season. The three-time series champion is still recovering, but he’s been a fixture at the FCC races this season.
DROUGHT OVER: With rain storms closing in, Deric Kramer celebrates his Pro Stock victory at the top end of zMAX Dragway. The Four-Wide Nationals win was Kramer’s first victory since the Charlotte fall race in 2019.
NITRO FLAPJACKS: Chicagoland’s own TJ Zizzo serves up pancakes for race fans and hospitality guests to start off a full day of racing at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance. Zizzo raced to a semifinal finish in the debut of his new DSR-built Rust-Oleum Top Fuel dragster.
FUNNY CAR FRIENDS: Crew chief Del Worsham and NHRA Funny Car star Alexis DeJoria pose for a quick photo in their DC Motorsports pit area. The two have an extensive history, as DeJoria licensed in Worsham’s Funny Car before making her debut in 2011.
GATHERING OF THE GREATS: Multi-talented motorsports icon Tony Stewart (center) chats on the sidelines with past NHRA Funny Car world champion “Fast” Jack Beckman (left) and Chicago-based drag racing legend Chris “The Greek” Karamesines at the Route 66 Nationals. Karamesines retired from driving after the 2020 season, handing over the reins to granddaughter Krista Baldwin.
CLIMBING THE LADDER: Jerry Don Tucker, who earned his fast doorslammer stripes in NHRA Top Sportsman, tows his new NHRA Pro Stock entry to the staging lanes at the Four-Wide Nationals. He’s quickly made an impression, winning rounds on holeshots and reaching the semis at Chicago.