As the quickest bracket racing (handicap) machines racing on the 1/4-mile anywhere in the country run 6.10-seconds and slower (Top Dragster and Top Sportsman), and are often clustered in that six-second range, it’s not often you get to witness a very quick car race a much quicker car.
Earlier this month, YouTube sensation Garrett Mitchell — better known to most as Cleetus McFarland — took his traveling roadshow to the Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park for the now-annual Cleetus And Cars, a two-day celebration of horsepower, tiresmoke, and bumper-rubbing. And in a unique, first-time partnership that paid dividends for all involved, Mitchell and company teamed with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to contest a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series regional in concert with the other festivities, putting Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car racers front and center before a pretty mammoth crowd of young, enthusiastic fans.
Before things officially kicked off, Mitchell, in his “Mullet” Chevrolet El Camino, and friend James Taal, driving the manually-shifted, Ford 7.3-liter Godzilla-powered Fox body Mustang known as “McFlurry,” bit off a little more than they could chew when they arranged match races with the A/Fuel Dragster of Jeff Chatterson, and three-time Top Alcohol Funny Car national champion Sean Bellemeur, respectively.
Taal, in “McFlurry” made what by almost any standard, is a flying lap of 7.75 at 175 mph, but couldn’t be heard, nor even seen in the same frame as Bellemeurs’ Bartone Brothers Funny Car, which hit the 1/4-mile shortly after Taal crossed the 1/8-mile, slowing to 247 mph and a 5.50 elapsed time.
Chatterson, for his part, made it a point to put on an even drag race with Mitchell and “Mullet,” giving the 6.4-second-capable street car about a second headstart before letting his A/Fueler rip. But once Mitchell spun the tires, Chatterson was long gone, running 5.30 at 270 mph to an off-pace 7.38 at 203 mph.