A former European Junior Dragster racer, Julie Nataas, made her United States racing debut at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series South Central Division event in Noble, Oklahoma. Julie competed with teammate Rachel Meyer of the Randy Meyer Racing Team in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. Both ladies proved that they could run with the guys and ran the quickest and fastest passes of the weekend.
Julie, daughter of Top Fuel driver Thomas Nataas, made her first competition qualifying pass and immediately jumped to the top spot with a 5.44 E.T. at 270 mph. However, Rachel did not make the first session due to work, and only had two chances to qualify in the 8-car field. Julie followed up her run on Saturday with a solid 5.23 E.T. at 277 mph, and Rachel made the field in the final session, clinching the second spot with a 5.32 E.T. at 261 mph.
“Well, I was pretty nervous for Saturdays qualifying since there were 17 cars trying to get in,” said Rachel. “My first hit on Saturday I felt the car shake and went to peddle, and I yelled to myself get your foot back on the gas you HAVE to qualify for this race. It your last race of the season, make it a good one. With that pass I was qualified ninth and was not in the show yet. I only had one more chance to get in, and after my burnout on the last qualifier; the starting line guy was about to shut us off for having a fuel leak. My dad grabbed the rag out of the starting line guy’s pocket and wrapped it around the fuel pump. My nerves didn’t go away until after my crew had come down the return road to pick me up telling me I just ran a 5.32 and I knew I was in the show!”
Rachel took out former champion Chris Demke in first round running a 5.27 E.T. at 271 mph, while Julie defeated James Thompson with a 5.21 E.T. at 277 mph. Both girls ran the quickest and fastest runs of the event in the opening round of eliminations. Unfortunately, they were both defeated in the semi-finals due to motor complications.
“In the semis I got out of the grove around the 330’ causing the car to shake and drop 2 cylinders. By that point I knew there was no chance for me to catch him,” said Rachel.
“I didn’t really expect much for my first race as I had only been down the racetrack in an A/Fuel dragster four times,” Julie claimed. “I was excited that I would get more seat time so that I could learn and experience new things about driving the dragster, but I never thought that I would end up as the number one qualifier. My race in Noble definitely boosted my confidence after getting more seat time, being the number one qualifier, and winning first round of eliminations.
“As a young girl I always dreamt of driving in the bigger classes in drag racing, and I asked my dad how I could become one of the best drivers out there. The first thing was to go through the ranks. Going from Junior Dragsters, Super Comp and Top Dragster was gradually going to get me there and make me grow as a driver. Not only have I been driving dragsters through my career, but, I have also been circuit racing, and I think the combination of the different race cars that I have handled will help me compete in Top Alcohol Dragster.”
Julie will compete in her first National event at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals this weekend with Megan Meyer. This will be Megan’s final race of the 2017 season, as she will try to clinch her top 3 National ranks finish.
The FallNationals will air on Thursday, October 26th at 9-10pm ET on FS2 with multiple re-air dates on FS2 and FS1.
A highly respected member of the NHRA Drag Racing family, Randy Meyer has had a successful career spanning over 35 years of drag racing as driver, team owner, and crew chief from AHRA Pro-Comp to IHRA Top Fuel and NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster. Randy Meyer is a multiple World Champion in the sport of drag racing. Together the team has won over 40 races and holds 9 Championships.
The Randy Meyer Racing Team is proudly supported by: Meyer Truck Center, Weld Wheels, Technician.Academy, Lucas Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Gunk Cleaners, Mahle-Clevite Rings and Bearings, Burnyzz Speed Shop, DuctSox, Epic Motorsports Marketing, Realty Warehouse, Racepak Data, ARP Bolts and Studs, Pitsco Education, Aeroquip, ProThings Apparel, Quik-Latch, Boninfante, Taylor Cable, QSI Buildings, and Up In Smoke BBQ Sauce.