Hot off a semi-final round appearance at the Belle Rose regional, Julie Nataas and the Randy Meyer Racing Team competed at Gainesville Raceway for both NHRA events; the Baby Gators and GatorNationals. Julie qualified fourth out of 16 for the 8-car field running a 5.263 ET at 277.49 mph and defeated Jeff Veale in the opening round of eliminations running a 5.266, 276.69. Matt Sackman joined the team for the Baby Gators and qualified seventh, but was taken out by Will Smith in first round.
Julie went on to run a 5.266, 276,69 in second round for the win against Jeff Chatterson’s 5.346, 274.44 and moved onto the final round against Smith. Smith had the upper hand again and took out the second Randy Meyer Racing dragster running a 5.232, 276.63 against Julie’s 5.284, 268.38.
In what was the most bizarre racing weekend in recent NHRA memory, Julie Nataas was able to wait out the storm (literally) and race to another final round in her OTG dragster for Randy Meyer Racing at the 53rd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.
Coming into raceday , Julie was leading the way for the entire Top Alcohol Dragster category in the No. 1 qualifying spot with a 5.177-second pass at 275.84 mph. In her first round matchup against Jeff Veale, Julie used a 5.223 ET at 271.68 mph to defeat Veale’s troubled 11.580, 59.13.
Second round, competitor Corey Michalek went red and gave the automatic win to Nataas. Julie took advantage of the free run and went straight down the groove with a solid 5.211, 270.75.
In the semifinals, Julie staged up against Matthew Cummings. At the hit, Julie grabbed the starting line advantage over Cummings with a .038-second reaction time to his .052 but what solidified her spot in the final round at the Gatornationals was her blistering 5.146, 279.90 to defeat Cummings’ 5.407, 271.57; this run would also give Julie lane choice over Jasmine Salinas in the final round.
Called for the night and postponing the final round until Monday due to cold temperatures at Gainesville Raceway, the team knew they needed to carry their Sunday momentum to the next day for their final against Salinas.
In the final round, Julie and Jasmine left together but Julie overpowered the track and went straight up in smoke as she passed the tree. Salinas powered to a 5.598, 271.02 and turned on the win light.