Rachel Meyer scored her first national event victory in her NTK Sensors Top Alcohol Dragster at the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals while teammate Julie Nataas qualified in the top half and went to the quarterfinal round of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
“Going into my first national event of the 2021 season, I was nervous.” Rachel said. “I felt like I have big shoes to fill following my sister’s back-to-back championships as well as having some amazing sponsors I want to keep happy.”
At the end of qualifying, Julie Nataas led the team as the No. 4 qualifier with a 5.21 ET at 271 mph, and Rachel wasn’t far behind in the No. 5 spot with a 5.22 ET at 278 mph.
First round, Nataas crossed the finish line with a 5.246 ET at 274 mph to take out No. 12 qualifier James Stevens’ 5.30 ET. Meyer followed a few pairs later with an identical 5.246 ET at 277 mph to turn on the win light against Dan Mercier. The girls were set up to run each other for the second round of eliminations, with lane choice going to Meyer who had the faster speed.
It was a Randy Meyer Racing take-all to the semifinals as Meyer and Nataas staged up against each other at Gainesville Raceway. Julie had the starting line advantage over Rachel by .028-seconds but as she went immediately into tire smoke, Rachel showed the entire category that she was a force to be reckoned with as she crossed the finish line first with a 5.180, 273 mph.
In the semifinals, Rachel had a first-time matchup against Karen Stalba. With the track temperature hitting almost 120 degrees, Rachel got the starting line advantage over Stalba and never trailed for the victory. Meyer clocked in with a 5.257, 278 mph while Stalba had trouble and lost traction.
In the final round, Rachel had another first-time matchup against Jackie Fricke. Once again, Rachel had the starting line advantage over her competition and her 5.227, 277 mph blistered by Fricke’s 5.29 ET for the win. In her second ever national event final, Rachel adds national event winner to her already impressive racing resume.
“I was nervous every round. I was off my game on my lights and I really didn’t want to lose on a hole shot. We were running consistently in the 20’s every round, as well as all our competitors, so it was a though field all weekend. I want to thank JJ and Kris for the awesome work on the car as well a Julie for helping with fuel. Thanks to Rich, Roy, and Dale for help between round when we didn’t have much time and especially my dad for giving me a great, consistent car all weekend and to my mom and sister for the constant support.” Rachel said.
Watch the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series 2021 GatorNationals on FS2 Thursday, March 25 at 8/7pm CT