Randy Meyer Racing (RMR) earned the ultimate trifecta at the NHRA Texas FallNationals; they became the 2023 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster (TAD) National Champion one round before winning the FallNationals, took home the Jegs AllStars title, and earned their 100th NHRA win with driver Julie Nataas.
In 2022, Nataas sat in the number 18 position after qualifying was completed and did not compete in the 16-car field at the FallNationals. Nataas and RMR have been on a mission this season and have capitalized at the right time to earn the championship. They came into the FallNationals fresh off a National event win and the points lead in Charlotte, North Carolina three weeks ago. RMR also came into the FallNationals campaigning all 3 TADs; the other two driven by Hunter Green and Matt Sackman since Sackman earned a spot in the prestigious Jegs AllStars 8-car field. Nataas qualified second with a 5.219 seconds at 274.24 mph and Sackman sat 8th with his best time of 5.376 seconds at 273.27 mph.
Competition in the TAD class has been extremely tight during the regular NHRA season and the JEGS Allstars field of eight was no exception. During the first elimination round, Sackman was taken out by number one qualifier Mike Coughlin, and Nataas ran 5.221 seconds at 278.17 mph to defeat Jackie Fricke’s 5.243 at 278.38. The first-round performance missed lane choice for the semifinals by 0.052 of a second, Nataas and the OTG dragster had some ground to make up to take on Shawn Cowie. They rose to the challenge and put together a 5.159 at 280.51 along with Nataas’ 0.037 reaction time to clench a holeshot victory over Cowie’s 5.155 at 278.86. The 5.159 was still not enough to earn lane choice in the final as Coughlin ran 5.152. Ultimately, the OTG team proved to be the most consistent car in the field and posted a 5.185 at 279.90 for the win in the final against Coughlin’s 5.276 at 273.24.
Winning the 2023 JEGS Allstars could provided the momentum Nataas and the RMR team needed to finish the FallNationals strong and claim the TAD National Championship. She qualified fourth in the 18-car field alongside teammates Sackman, 14th, and Green, fifth. All three drivers got the win light in the opening round; Green earned a lucky round win as his opponent hit the wall and disqualified himself while Green was coasting to the finish line after smoking the tires, and Nataas lined up against Joey Severance and ran 5.162 at 279.61 to his 5.207 at 264.35 to move on. Sackman defeated Matthew Cummings with a nearly perfect reaction time of 0.008 and an improved pass of 5.313 at 272.60, however, the GUNK dragster did a massive wheel-stand from the launch to about 330′ and slammed down causing a concern with the chassis that ended his FallNationals run. Nataas was scheduled to run Sackman in the second round, so she made the bye run and clicked it off early for the round win. Green was eliminated by Kirk Wolf in the quarterfinals.
Going into the semifinal round, Nataas was unaware of the championship implications when she lined up next to Shawn Cowie. The RMR team once again gave her a great car and she pulled off a holeshot win against Cowie. Nataas ran 5.141 seconds at 279.02 mph to Cowie’s 5.126 at 281.39 but her 0.025 starting line advantage was enough to hold him off. When Nataas emerged from the cockpit of her OTG dragster and received the news that she had indeed won the championship she was overcome with emotion and fell to her knees. She continued to embrace the wave of excitement and relief that her 2023 season goal of winning the championship was accomplished.
As her team pulled away from the top end to begin servicing the car for the final round of the FallNationals, Nataas stayed behind and accepted the LODRS Championship trophy. She mentioned afterward “I didn’t know I could win the championship with this round. It’s so surreal.”
Nataas completed the hat trick, winning the FallNationals and RMR’s 100th NHRA victory running a weekend best of 5.129 at 279.76 while Wolf had trouble early in the run and clicked off. The opportunity to win three titles in one weekend doesn’t come often in NHRA competition.
“It’s been a wild weekend. A weekend I could only dream of. It’s going to be the most memorable weekend of my career. My dad decided to go to Dallas last minute and I’m so glad he did and was here with me for this incredible weekend.”
This is the RMR team’s 4th NHRA World Championship within the last 5 years; Megan Meyer won in 2019 and 2020, and Rachel Meyer won in 2021, while competitor and multi-time champion Joey Severance claimed the 2022 title. Nataas will continue her season as planned with her next stop in Las Vegas for the NHRA Nevada Nationals and finish her 2023 campaign with RMR at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, California.