This past weekend’s Dodge Power Broker’s NHRA U.S. Nationals was one of the biggest weekends yet for the Randy Meyer Racing team as Julie Nataas pulled a double-up as she took the top prize in the JEGS AllStars and the regular event. Teammate Hunter Green inked a quarterfinal finish at the event as well in his newly branded Bond-Coat scheme.
“Coming in to the weekend I was confident in me and my team that we could do really good at both the Jegs Allstars and U.S. Nationals as the car has been running good lately,” said Julie. “I think we all went through a lot of different emotions as the weekend went by. There were highs, lows and back to highs.”
Before the JEGS AllStars kicked off, the competitors had two rounds of qualifying to set the order for the elimination ladder. Julie came into the JEGS AllStars as the No. 3 qualifier with a 5.306-second pass at 273.66 mph and the defending AllStars champion from 2021.
In first round of the AllStars, the Randy Meyer-tuned dragster took on James Stevens. Knowing all the racers in the competition would bring their best tune-ups to the stage, Julie clocked in with a career best 5.151, 283.19 to defeat Stevens’ 5.356, 266.74; this run would also count towards her qualifying effort and landed her in the No. 1 spot.
Second round, Julie used a 5.185, 279.90 to defeat Casey Grisel’s 5.358, 270.70 and advance to the final round of the Jegs AllStars for the second year in a row.
For the final round of the AllStars, Julie staged up against multi-time Top Alcohol Dragster champion Joey Severance. Julie started the race off strong with a starting line advantage over Joey Severance but then the race got real exciting. Severance lost traction and Julie started to shake but with a quick pedal job a parachute escaped slowing her down. But she reached the finish line first for the win with a 5.586, 239.57. However, at the finish line, Julie’s dragster bowed and almost the entire body of her OTG dragster blew off.
The team is still unsure of what caused the body to bend and break at the finish line, but we are glad Julie got the car stopped safely. With her old 2021 body in tow overnight, it was time for eliminations for the 68th U.S. Nationals for Julie Nataas and Hunter Green. Julie Nataas was No. 1 qualifier with her 5.151, 283.19 and Hunter was qualified No. 6 with a stout 5.302, 269.35.
“It was both a disappointing and awesome moment when we blew the body off the car and won the Jegs Allstars all at once. I couldn’t believe what had just happened and my mind went straight to the U.S. Nationals race the next day: ‘Are we going to be able to race? Can we find a new body? Do we have a wing? Is anything else broke? Can someone drive up an old body from the shop?’
Thank you to Megan and her husband Adam for helping out and making sure my old body from last year was delivered on time for first round! Without their help I would be able to double up in Indy.
I’m usually not sick to my stomach before a round on race day, but I was after the Jegs Allstars. I wanted to throw up before every single round on Sunday and Monday of the U.S. Nationals. Not because I was scared of being in the race car, but I was nervous to mess it up for my crew that worked so hard to get my car back together for race day. It’s also the U.S. Nationals; it’s huge” Julie claimed.
First round, Julie continued her domination from the day before with a win over Steve Collier as she clocked in at the top end with a 5.204, 279.44 to his troubled 15.929, 69.02. Hunter ran a career best 5.285, 270.75 to defeat Mick Steele’s 5.376, 267.06.
Second round, Julie crossed the finish line with the win with a 5.192, 280.14 to defeat Tom Fox Jr.’s perfect reaction time and 5.395, 266.79. Hunter Green bettered his career best 5.250, 270.48 against Shawn Cowie but red lit at the launch and gave the win to Cowie.
In the semifinals, Julie faced up against Joey Severance for the second time in the same weekend. She continued her domination with a solid 5.240, 278.75 to turn on the win light against Severance’s tire-shaking 16.780, 40.34. This win would advance her to her 13th career national event final round and her fourth of the season.
In the finals, Julie remained consistent with a 5.237, 277.15 to take out heavy hitter Mike Coughlin’s 5.342, 241.28; this win inked her second national event win of the season and her fourth of her career. This was the first time a No. 1 qualifier won the Top Alcohol Dragster category at the U.S. Nationals since Ashley Force-Hood in 2004.
“It was a huge reliefs and an unbelievable moment for me when I saw the win light in my lane in the final. It felt like I could breathe again. I’m proud of everything this team has accomplished this weekend. Thank you to OTG, Right Trailers, Lucas Oil and NGK for making weekends like this happened,” said Julie.