The track and weather conditions made it tough for the Randy Meyer Racing Team to continue their success from the 2017 season to 2018, but were able to walk away with a third place finish at both Regional races between 3 of their drivers.
The first event of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series’ Central Region was held in Belle Rose, Louisiana the first weekend of March – a race that was typically held a month later. With a stout field the team pushed their two Top Alcohol Dragsters to power down the track as the quickest and fastest, and were able to do so with Megan Meyer’s NGK Spark Plugs race car. Unfortunately, tuning problems with Julie Nataas’s dragster caused her to qualify eighth, a first round set up for both girls to compete against each other.
Although this is not the ideal match for the opening round of eliminations for the team, the girls had a hard-fought race and the victory went to Megan as Julie had a -.002 red light. Megan went on to lose to Jackie Fricke in the following round due to tire shake on the track, despite the low E.T. she ran.
“I didn’t experience smoking the tires until my fifth race in an Alcohol Dragster, which was in Pomona earlier this year,” Julie said. “In Louisiana I learned a lot again; smoking the tires two out of the tree qualifying passes, getting used to it and know how to recover from it. In the final session, the car was going fast but was shaking to the point where I couldn’t see the finish line, so after half track I stepped off the gas and pulled the parachutes. We wanted a clean plass down the race track so that I didn’t have to race my teammate first round, but I was pretty upset that we didn’t qualify better. After losing two races on a holeshot last year, I wanted to cut a light against Megan but tried too hard and the red light start ended it for me in Louisiana. I look forward to coming back next year and try again.”
Directly following the event, the team headed to Florida after taking a pit stop in New Orleans. With two promising test runs on Thursday for Justin Ashley, the team was confident going into race day. Unfortunately, weather conditions changed and both A/Fuel cars struggled to get down the track.
PC: Robert Grice – Extreme Photography
With delays on Friday, the field lost their third qualifying session, one that was much needed for the team. Unfortunately, Megan was not able to get down the track in a clean pass and ended as the ninth qualifier, unable to make the 8-car field. In her two attempts the car shook the tires, causing her to let off the throttle to recover and losing important elapsed time. Justin was able to make it in and sit in the seventh position going into first round against Josh Hart. Josh and Justin had a great race, but Justin walked away with the win with a 5.25 E.T. at 270 mph. However, Justin was defeated by Duane Shields in the semi-finals as his car immediately had tire smoke.
“This was an effective weekend,” said Justin. “The competition was great, and the entire Randy Meyer Racing Team worked tirelessly to give me a fast race car. I’m happy to be back in the seat and very much looking forward to the upcoming season.”
“I was very emotional Friday night and all day Saturday,” Megan claimed. “It has been almost 2 years since I didn’t qualify for a race, and it’s very hard when it’s at an event you have already won. To be honest, I didn’t take it well. I know my car and my team is better than that. I was happy with the test pass we made after the race on Saturday, at least we were able to de-tune it enough to get down the track. I have to remember that sometimes you can move mountains, but sometimes you are required to climb them. This is what strengthens us. I’m looking forward to trying again next weekend.”
Justin and Megan will return to their cars this weekend for the NHRA Gatornationals. The duo will get two qualifying attempts on Friday, followed by a third Saturday morning. First round of eliminations will be held Sunday afternoon for the class, and conclude on Sunday. The race will air on FS2 March 29th, and FS1 March 30th.