The 2019 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals held at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota hosted Megan Meyer and teammate Julie Nataas driving for the Randy Meyer Racing Team in the Top Alcohol Dragster category. Megan and her NGK Spark Plugs Dragster with support from former racer John Haley of John Haley #1 Roofer of Minnesota, ultimately lost to the current points leader Shawn Cowie in the final round, but she is still a contender for the National Championship with four races left this season.
Megan posted 5.28, 5.43 and 5.31 elapsed times in qualifying and was positioned in the fifth spot, while Julie’s best pass of 5.29 ET solidified her in the sixth spot. Megan took down Krista Baldwin in the opening round of eliminations, unfortunately Julie in the Dot’s Pretzels/Menards Racing Dragster lost by just a few feet to Shawn Cowie in first round, running a 5.335 ET to Shawn’s 5.330 ET. Megan went on to defeat the defending National champion, Joey Severance in the second round running a 5.28 ET.
The third round of eliminations, held on Sunday, matched Megan up against the top qualifier, Chris Demke. The team gave it their all and ran low of the event, a 5.20 ET at 277 mph.
“We found a loose ground wire Sunday morning and that small change, plus the cooler weather, was why we were able to get the car to finally pick up speed and not drop holes,” said Randy Meyer.
Shawn advanced through the rounds on his side of the ladder to meet Megan in the finals for the first time. Megan got the jump on the starting line; however, it was on the wrong side of the green light and she fouled-out. Shawn went on to run a quick 5.25 ET while Megan aborted the run after seeing red.
“This is the second time I’ve red-light against Shawn in eliminations,” Megan claimed. “I know the next time we face up, it will not happen again. There is a lot of pressure in the Top Alcohol pits right now between us two for the Championship chase, and it’s hard to not constantly think about it every day. Unfortunately, I got inside my own head right before I staged and got too anxious, I was devastated at first, but before I got out of the car I reminded myself that I’ve red-light plenty of times before – I remember a season of racing Juniors where I couldn’t get out of the red-zone, and it quickly calmed me down and I brushed it off. I am really upset that I let down my team though, they gave me a great race car on Sunday. We predicted that we would have ran between a 5.19 – 5.22 ET that run based on the early numbers, so we know that we have a car that can outrun Shawn and his crew chief Norm Grimes. It’s going to be a very tough battle to gain as many points as possible as we finish the season.”
Megan extends her second-place points position in the NHRA National standings and has four more events to count towards the National Championship. Megan will compete next at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, followed by the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, and the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals near Dallas to complete her 2019 season. Julie is racing at this weekend’s Lucas Oil Regional race in Bowling Green KY to continue her Regional points lead.
The Sportsman coverage of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will air on FS2, Saturday, August 31st at 11:30 AM ET.