Joey Haas will realize a dream at the U.S. Nationals Sept. 4-6 in Indianapolis.
The longtime alcohol Funny Car and Nostalgia driver will make his Top Fuel debut at Lucas Oil Raceway driving a dragster owned by Terry Totten.
“I’m over the top with excitement,” said Haas, 29. “Any race would be huge, but this is that much bigger because it is Indy. We are going to try and keep them honest.”
His crew will be made up of Mark Howard, Scott Fritz, Pete Dove, Joe Haas, Joey’s father, and Joe Pryor.
Haas said his Top Fuel debut has been in the works for a while.
“What we did is he (Terry) got a hold of me last year and Mark Howard, one of his crew guys, put together a Funny Car,” Haas said. “There are two cars they are going to run out of their stable. He said maybe I could drive his Top Fuel car. I said of course, that’s something I would like to work toward. In the spring, we went down to the test session in Phoenix and I got one good run in out of the way. We fought some cold track issues. We ran the Phoenix race with Terry driving and then I went 3.95 (seconds) at 292 (mph) on the Monday session (Feb. 24) after Phoenix.”
The plan was for Haas to go to another test session April 6 after the NHRA national event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
That didn’t happen because the COVID-19 pandemic halted racing.
“We were trying to figure out when the next race would be and when the next test session would be,” Haas said. “All of the Friday test sessions at Indy no licensing was allowed. You could only test if you were entered in the race. I was on the backburner there for a while. In the meantime, Terry drove the (dragster) at Indy 1, Indy 2 and Indy 3. The car has been deadly consistent. We went 3.95s like it was a bracket car.
“After Indy 3, there was a private test session (Aug. 10). We serviced the car on Sunday (Aug. 9) and went out there at noon (Aug. 10) and made another 3.95 run and I got my (Top Fuel) license.”
This been a journey for Haas to get to this point in his racing career.
“My dad (Joe) drove the Stardust Funny Car for Justin Grant from 2007-2009,” Joey said. “That’s how we got started. My dad drove some other stuff and then my dad drove Tom Motry’s Drastic Plastic Fuel Altered. My dad still holds the record with at 5.28 (seconds) in that altered. In the meantime, I had an alcohol Funny Car and I ran it in the Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit match racing in the Midwest. It was 7.0-second car. I ran some Funny Car Chaos stuff. I crewed with Jim Young with Nostalgia Top Fuel for some Heritage stuff. Then, Motry, with the Drastic Plastic, gave me a chance to get licensed and I went 5.43 in his altered on a license run. That was about four or five years ago.”
Since then, Joey was campaigning his alcohol Funny Car and then at the start of last year he started driving Steve McClain’s front-engine Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster in the Hot Rod Heritage Series.
“I recently sold my alcohol car this spring because I was getting pretty busy doing everything else and I want to move up,” Joey said.
Joey doesn’t have any definite racing plans after the U.S. Nationals.
“I don’t know where the future is headed from here,” he said. “Hopefully more things work out with Terry onto next year.”
Joey acknowledged he would not be able to be competing at the U.S. Nationals without the help of sponsors, which include the following:
The Russell Ballew family that owns Speedy Drinks in Bartlesville Okla. Former NHRA Mello Series nitro Funny Car driver and Nostalgia driver John Hale and his “Best of Texas BBQ Sauce” and Chip Lofton of Strutmasters.
And, the Barn at Murphey Farm in Pleasant View, Tenn, Red Line Oil and Boninfante Friction.
The Barn at Murphey Farm is a wedding center and event center run by Joey and his wife, Elizabeth.
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