NHRA rising stars Travis Shumake and Julie Nataas raced the Randy Meyer owned and tuned Top Alcohol Dragsters to the No. 3 and No. 6 qualifying positions at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals. Last weekend Shumake raced to the semifinals and the New York City resident was looking to continue his successful progression in his third national event as part of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
Two qualifying runs on Friday saw Shumake improve his Sheetz Top Alcohol Dragster, which also enjoys support from Envision Rise, with each pass and he posted his career quickest and fastest run of 5.213 seconds at 274.39 mph to secure the third quickest time. Julie’s quickest pass during qualifying was a 5.240 ET at 274.16 mph for the sixth spot out of 21 Top Alcohol Dragster competitors.
“That final qualifying run was amazing for this Sheetz dragster with Envision Rise onboard,” said Shumake. “That was a career best run and I feel really good going into the first round. I am all about getting experience and showing off this Sheetz dragster.”
Heading into the first round of eliminations Shumake, the second generation drag racer who is the son of Funny Car standout driver Tripp Shumake, was confident and relaxed. Racing No. 14 qualifier Dan Mercier in the opening round for the first time Shumake pulled the Sheetz dragster up to the starting line. Following burnouts to clean and heat the Goodyear slicks Shumake rolled into the staging beams. When the tree flashed Mercier was first off the line but Shumake was quickly making up ground on the driver from Canada. As the finish line closed in Shumake was reeling in Mercier, but he ran out of track before the noses of their respective dragsters crossed the finish line a quarter of a mile after they took off. Mercier’s winning time of 5.274 seconds at 276.13 mph was an improvement over his qualifying effort. Shumake fell off slightly posting a run time of 5.276 seconds at 273.83 mph.
Julie faced off against Jasmine Salinas, both females are former California residents now living in Indiana. This time Julie got the better reaction time for the starting line advantage, but Jasmine covered the gap quickly by the 330′ mark and pulled ahead for the win running her best pass of the weekend.
“We definitely had a great dragster this weekend and I would have loved to have raced to the winner’s circle,” said Shumake. “We made improvements every run in qualifying and that was a solid run in the first round. We just ran out of race track. We spent a lot of times with fans this weekend and the Sheetz Freaks were a lot of fun to hang out with.”