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Bellemeur Goes to the Semi Finals - Runs 5.849 at 254.57



The Goodguys, 9th Pomona Nitro Nationals was everything the ill-fated March Meet wasn't. Mother Nature gave three days of ideal racing temps and Sean Bellemeur and the High Speed Motorsports team took full advantage of it. The track would take everything you could throw at it and Bellemeur and crew threw a lot. Sean qualified # 3 with a 5.894 at 254.57 MPH (new personal best) and advanced to the semi finals before falling victim to mid-track tire smoke. The team ran in the five second zone 5 of 6 runs and carded speeds over 250 twice. Without question, the HSMS car is one of the top 5 in the country and will be a major contender for the VRA Top Fuel World Championship.

Photos and full story below.



Friday - 1st Qualifying Session


To set up the HSMS team's first qualifying attempt you need some background. Sean Bellemeur and Adam Sorokin are two of the "young lions" in Top Fuel. Several weeks ago they came up with a tried and true (ala Snake-Mongoose) rivalry promotion. After ink on the Web, SoCal newspaper articles and LA Television interviews, the Goodguys ran with it and arranged for a two-out-of-three match race to coincide with the three qualifying sessions. Here High Speed Motorsports crew member and ex-Top Fuel driver, Walt Stevens touts one of the many fliers promoting the "rivalry".


Sean Bellemeur and Adam Sorokin - obviously fierce enemies.



Sean Bellemeur in the High Speed Motorsports/Plaza Hotel entry and Adam Sorokin in the RB Entertainment/Champion Speed Shop fueler.






To enhance the show both cars backed up from their burnout together.



This was the first round of a two out of three match race between the 'Next Generation' in drag racing. The pair decided they wanted to race for bragging rights and the first hit (and hole shot) went to Sorokin.






You can't see it clearly but at this point both cars are having serious tire problems. See close-ups below.


This was a classic drag race. At the lights the MOV was .003 and neither driver knew who won. It was Sorokin with a stellar 5.958 @ 250.83 and Bellemeur with a quicker 5.953 @ 242.76.

"Adam and I have already talked about a rematch... stay tuned. It was a lot of fun going out there and having to race for than just the ET in qualifying. One thing I love about drag racing is knowing that you have to kick it up a notch when against a team like Adam, Bobby, and the RB team. The pair of 5.95's we threw on the board 1st qualifying run was awesome. Adam smoked me on the tree and he got the nod. They said the margin of victory was .003 or about 5 inches.. man that was fun... just like my dad used to talk about when he'd match race guys... that was a special weekend and to be beside Adam on his first 250 trip down the 1/4... it was an honor to be next to him. Thanks for the great times guys!"
Sean Bellemeur



Brett Johansen and Walt Stevens examine the very badly chunked tires off of the High Speed Motorsports top fueler.

According to Stevens, "Apparently a couple of the 12-inch M&H Nostalgia Spec Racing slicks used on two nitro dragsters chunked at over 250 mph on their first pass, and there were five cars in the field over the 250 mark. Figures it must be quite a different perspective for a Top Fuel driver piloting a front-engine dragster to be dodging rubber while sitting between a spinning pair of slicks at speed.

These are the tires off the Plaza Hotel top fuel car, 2nd run on them. It looks like it all started in the burn out. If you look at the video you can see hot spots on the tire. Just before the first round with Adam and Sean on Friday Sean said he chick it at 1000 feet, The car was shaking and did not know if the engine was starting to come apart." See photos below.






Between qualifying sessions Brett Johansen mounted new tires and Tom Shelar prepared a spare cylinder head.




Friday - 2nd Qualifying Session


The final pair in session two was also the second round of the Sean Bellemeur vs Adam Sorokin match race.




As always, Walt Stevens backs Bellemeur back from his burnout.


Final adjustments made to both cars.


This time the starting line advantage went to Bellemeur.







Bellemeur rallied a great leave into a very impressive 5.849 @ 254.57 which covered Sorokin's game 6.002 @ 237.55. That made it one round apiece.




Typical pit scene between runs.




Saturday - 3rd Qualifying Session


Next to last pair in session three featured Sean Bellemeur and Adam Sorokin for the rubber match of their "Punchout in Pomona".








Both teams were geared up for this one - bragging rights you know. Here the crew cleans the tires as Crew Chief Brett Johansen makes his final tweaks to the engine.



Sorokin cut a nice .050 light but it was second to Bellemeur's very nice .036. By 330 feet Bellemeur had built a little bit more of a lead and Sorokin began to have his hands full of race car.





By the 600' mark Sorokin was so close to the wall there was a cloud of dust as he skimmed along side it. He literally fought it for about 600 feet before finally lifting shortly after this shot. Note: injectors still wide open and the car is so close to the wall paint chips are flying off it. He REALLY wanted to beat Bellemeur. But discretion was the better part of valor and he finally lifted...before taking off any shiny stuff. Bellemeur won with a 5.964 at 241.80 and has bragging rights until the next match up... maybe at Seattle.


Final Top Fuel Qualifying
1. Brett Harris -  5.828 @ 260.26
2. Brad Thompson  - 5.841 @ 248.80
3. Sean Bellemeur  -  5.849 @ 254.57
4. Jason Richey  - 5.881 @ 259.16
5. Denver Schutz  - 5.914 @ 244.16
6. Jim Murphy  -  5.917 @ 249.30
7. Mendy Fry  -  5.919 @ 243.99
8. Adam Sorokin  -  5.958 250.83
9.   Terry Cox  -  5.980 @ 240.38
10. Rick McGee  -  5.982 @ 248.02
11. Pete Kaiser -  6.013 @ 250.97
12. Rick White  - 6.040 242.54
13. Brendan Murry -  6.054 @ 240.29
14. Bill Dunlap  - 6.176 @ 230.88
15. Shannon Stewart  - 6.180 @ 213.30
16. Rick Rogers  -  6.464 @ 229.86



Top Fuel Round One - Saturday


In round one of eliminations Bellemeur was paired with Bill Dunlap.





Both cars left together and this was an even race until about half track. At that point Dunlap's engine started eating pistons and he was forced to lift. Bellemeur moved on with a sterling 5.897 at 252.95.











Everybody doing their job between rounds.







11:00 am. Another perfect day for racing and Sean Bellemeur in the High Speed Motorsports car was was in the third pair out. He was paired with a tough customer, four time World Champion, Jim Murphy.




As the High Speed Motorsports crew readied Bellemeur for staging a dejected WW2 Racing team had were pushing Murphy back to the pits.


To quote Murphy, "I just found my 578th way to lose a race." Blaming only himself, the car did not get re-fueled between rounds. It was a first in his nearly 40 years of racing.


Bellemeur took advantage of the single with a 5.905 at 240.81 and would move on to the semi-finals.


After the burnout the crew goes through its normal routine prior to Sean staging.







The calm before the storm. The High Speed Motorsports car sits in the staging lanes with its next opponent, the orange car of Brad Thompson.




As he usually does with anyone he races, Bellemeur put a .04 holeshot on Thompson at the hit and the orange car was playing big time catch-up.




To every ones surprise Bellemeur's car struck the tires about the 330' mark. Try as he did, Sean couldn't get the car to hook back up but even if he had its really doubtful he could have caught Thompson's 5.883 250.13.




In spite of the loss, the entire HSMS team felt they had a great weekend and learned more about the car for future races.



Bellemeur Tops Sorokin in Pomona Shootout

No one could have guessed that the match racing battle between Adam Sorokin and Sean Bellemeur could create such great racing. At the Goodguys Pomona Nitro Nationals, the two squared off in a best 2 of 3-match race during Top Fuel qualifying. The first race saw one of the closest races in recent memory for Nostalgia Top Fuel cars. Sorokin took a slight starting line advantage and used that to steal one away from Bellemeur and the HighSpeed Motorsports team. Adam's 5.958 ousted Sean's 5.953. Margin of victory was .003 seconds or about 5 inches. That pass was a landmark run for Sorokin as he piloted the Bob McLennan/Champion Speed Shop tuned, Bryan Van Dyke owned Top Fueler to his first ever 250 mile per hour run; something only a handful of drivers have done. Nonetheless it was Team Van Dyke/ Sorokin 1 and HighSpeed/ Bellemeur 0.

With fan and racer interest growing, the two squared off again for the second qualifying run and round two of the match race. There was much anticipation as these two were separated by a mere 5 inches the run prior. As the sun set over the historic Pomona Raceway, the two young guns of Nostalgia Top Fuel took center stage. Both cars were thundering, both teams had one goal… WIN! Sorokin could lock up the match race with a victory, Bellemeur knew he had to win to stay alive and force a third race. When the lights dropped they were off faster than before but this time Bellemeur had the advantage. Both cars were streaking down the track almost in harmonious fashion. Then trouble! Sorokin had an engine failure and fell back while Bellemeur ran away with his career best numbers. 5.84 seconds at 254 mph and more importantly a win light. Now the focus is back on Sorokin. As he is trying to get his machine stopped, he feels a couple blasts of heat, and he can see some flames licking around the cowling of the dragster. He knows that the engine is hurt. Adam did a great job of getting the car stopped and avoiding further damage. One of the challenges of driving these 3000 horsepower, nitro-breathing machines is dealing with the elements that come with them. Fire is one of them and fortunately this time wasn't a serious incident.

The stage was set perfectly for the third and final race between Adam and Sean. Both cars proved to have HUGE horsepower. The drivers showed their talents and the teams were prepared. Both drivers and teams had received incredible amounts of media and fan attention going into the last round. As the last pair in qualifying, they lined up for the final time and took to the race track. As the lights turned green both drivers were presented with struggles that had not surfaced until this run. For Bellemeur, tire shake proved that the car was gonna be a little sketchy out of the gate, but everything was well in the end. For Sorokin, the car wanted to go anywhere but straight. It was like the retaining wall was a magnet to Adam's car and it kept pulling him closer and closer until finally he made a split second decision to abort the run as it probably saved him from disaster. The end result was Sean taking the win with a 5.96 second run and a 2 to 1 victory in the match race, but a less experienced driver than Adam may have crashed his unwilling car.

Both Adam and Sean have vowed for a rematch. With an overwhelming amount of support from fellow racers, fans, and even legends of the sport, it's events like these that prove what this great sport is all about. Both AdamSorokin and Sean Bellemeur have been fortunate enough to be involved with great teams, and their off track friendship make this rivalry even more intriguing. When will we see these two squaring off again? Stay tuned because the next showdown is coming!

See all six HSMS runs on video! Pomona Videos



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