Like father like son. TA/FC standouts Sean Bellemeur and his dad Gregg, have been racing together since Sean was a toddler, but Gregg was hammering the quarter long before Sean made the scene.
It didn’t take Gregg long to progress from a spectator at the historic SoCal San Gabe track. By ’68 he’d transformed his streeter ’55 Chevy into a C/Gasser. Two years later he was wheeling an injected big-block (soon blown, later replaced by a 392 Hemi) 92-inch wb Fiat Topolino AA/A. He says the evil-handling little animal nicknamed “Easy Rider” was almost square—wide as it was long.
In ’72 he and partner Jack Burr purchased Gary Hazen’s Panic! AA/FA, plugging in their Hemi, now on alcohol. It was soon running at record times with their combo. Competing in NHRA’s new Pro Comp Elim, Gregg says the 103-inch wb AA/FA was almost as wicked as the Fiat, but with NHRA’s blessing, they tacked on 8 inches, set the Hemi back and tamed the beast. In ’73 on alcohol they won Tucson Dragway’s famous Fuel Altered Nationals and followed it up with win at OCIR’s 16-car AA/FA show.
In ’75 Gregg and Jack teamed up with Kent Rogers on the Double A Bad Guys TAD in Pro Comp. They ran the dragster for six seasons and then Gregg retired from the driver’s seat. In ’83 they joined forces with Tom Lemon and driver Tom Bristow, and later Gary Scelzi.
Son Sean, always close at hand, was itching to drive, so at 13 Gregg and wife Nancy stuck him in a Jr. Dragster. He took to racing immediately and for three years, with dad tuning, tore up the competition. In 2000, a trip to the Good Guys Vintage Drags at Bakersfield launched the two into the big leagues. Good friend and master fabricator Davie Uyehara welded up a front-motor A/F dragster for Sean. Running a unique late-model Hemi and mandatory small fuel pump combo, Gregg tuned Sean to the Good Guys A/F title in 2001 (winning or RU every race) and ’02, running up in ’03. They also won the Hot Rod Reunion and March Meet.
Looking for a greater challenge, in ’04 Gregg and Sean stepped into TA/FC. The family team, racing on a limited budget and facing a steep learning curve, has continually progressed. Gregg proclaims, “I have a tenth in the car just by having Sean in the seat.” They raced together from ’04 through ’07, until Sean’s skills were sought out by Ron Meer Motorsports. Gregg soldiered on with Russ Parker in the seat. The family team was back together in 2009.
In 2010 Sean’s relationship with Tom Shelar the SoCal Dealer for Mastercam, industry leader in CAD/CAM software (he successfully drove Shelar’s High Speed Motorsports’ Nostalgia T/F) brought Mastercam to their TA/FC. Michael Cordani’s FireIce signed the Bellemeurs up for ’13 and had planned to continue the relationship this year. Cordani’s unfortunate passing has altered their plans. With Mastercam onboard, but funding primarily coming from Gregg’s West Valley Sales, specializing in electronics product distribution and sales representation, they will continue on, racing mainly west of the Rockies.
Gregg’s tuning acumen and Sean’s driving got them to #14 out of 50 TA/FCs nationally in ’13 while only competing at nine events, with some serious funding, only the skies the limit!
Gregg would like to thank Todd Swinford for his help and Randy Anderson for tuning assistance.
Yet Another Big-Time Award (actually two) for John Force
The American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association announced John as a member of the All-America First Team for the sixteenth time.
Force is also the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy winner for the driver having the most overall votes. This is the fifth such award for Force. No other motorsports professional has won more than three times.
The Art World’s Loss—Drag Racing’s Gain
Steve Gibbs, friend to racers during his 25-year tenure as NHRA’s Director of Competition, now Vice President-Director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum and key player in the Museum’s Hot Rod Reunions and wildly popular Cacklefests also possesses serious artistic skills. Fortunately for us, Steve elected to pursue drag racing instead of art. He recently came upon some of his early works and was kind enough to share with us.
Ed Pink the “Old Master” is Back in Biz—and Wants You Wearin’ His Colors!
Hall of Fame engine builder Ed Pink is embarking on a new chapter in his storied career, collaborating with long-time friend Bob Brandt (Don Prudhomme’s fabled crew chief) to launch Ed Pink’s Garage in Newbury Park, California. The facility is devoted to doing special projects that range from building and installing unique engines in street rods and muscle cars to performing R&D work.
Now Pink has a line of apparel available! To order, or just check things out, go to: Edpinksgarage.com.
The Great Wall of Fontana
Ace race photog Roger Rohrdanz recently visited the long quiet Fontana, California, Auto Club Dragway located at the Auto Club Speedway. Shuttered due to noise issues, it’s now scheduled to reopen this season, thanks to the newly constructed sound barrier wall. SoCal racers and fans, rejoice, and give a big thanks to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Stay posted for the race schedule.
And One More Time—PDRA: A New Pro Mod Organization!
The Professional Drag Racers Association, founded by racers Jason and Mitchell Scruggs, Gene Hector, Roger Henson and Tommy Franklin, is attempting to create a solid foundation for eighth-mile Pro Mod-style drag racing. Schedule: April 4 and 5 Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, NC; May 9 and 10 South Georgia Motorsports Park, Valdosta, GA; May 23 and 24 Memphis International Raceway, Memphis, TN; June 27 and 28 U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, Martin, MI; July 25 and 26 Virginia Motorsports Park, Richmond, VA; Aug. 15 and 16 Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park in Tulsa, OK; Sept. 5 and 6 Rockingham Dragway; Oct. 10 and 11 Virginia Motorsports Park.
You Can Almost Hear the Thunder and Smell the Nitro!
Remember the bitchin’ muscle car stamps the U.S. Postal Service issued last year? Tom Fritz, the artist who created them, also does drag race images. Be sure to check out his website, Fritzart.com.
Taking Artistic License
Oil on canvas; 27 x 48 inches
© Tom Fritz 2003
Automotive Fine Arts Society Best In Show, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 2003.
Fritz states, “My depiction of Don Prudhomme in the Greer Black Prudhomme dragster. Besides capturing the gut-twisting drama of the moment, my real challenge in this painting was describing the sparkle of spinning spokes without relying on visual clichés.”
Prints are available.
Strange Quiz Question:
Who is the driver?
Who are the car owners?
Drag Racer March Quiz Answer
Owner/driver: Gary Densham
Name of car: Teacher’s Pet