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Final Round Appearance for Julie Nataas, Randy Meyer Racing at 2023 U.S. Nationals

The Randy Meyer Racing (RMR) Top Alcohol Dragster team raced to a runner-up finish at the 2023 Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals and left Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park claiming back the Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster National Championship Points lead with drivers Julie Nataas and Hunter Green.

Nataas entered eliminations as the No. 3 qualifier with a 5.247-second pass at 374.61 mph and Green as the No. 4 qualifier with a 5.263 ET at 274.89 mph. Nataas matched up against Jasmine Salinas in the first round on Sunday. Nataas would have the win before leaving the starting line with Salinas going red by .116 seconds. Unfortunately, Green was knocked out in the first round, losing to Karen Stalba on a holeshot.

Nataas won the first round with a 5.274-second run at 274.78 mph to earn lane choice over Tony Stewart in the second round. Nataas and the OTG dragster left the starting line first and steadily pulled away to run the team’s best pass of the weekend at 5.206 seconds and 283.73 mph to defeat Stewart, who also ran his best of the weekend at 5.259 at 270.97. Her win, along with Shawn Cowie’s first-round loss, would put RMR and Nataas back in the national championship points lead.

In the semifinals on Monday afternoon, Nataas took on John Paul Gutierrez. Gutierrez would leave the line first, but Nataas would chase him down with a 5.249-second pass at 283.61 mph, bettering Gutierrez’s 5.318 at 270.86.

In only the second all-female U.S. Nationals Top Alcohol Dragster final round, Nataas faced off against Madison Payne. It was the first time Nataas had seen Payne in a final round but the fourth time the pair had raced against each other. Nataas had a disappointing redlight start of .211 seconds to hand Payne the victory. For the record, Nataas crossed the finish line at 5.566-seconds and 219.08 mph while Payne smoked the tires and slowed to a 10.073 pass at 85.76 for the win.

“My foot left before my head wanted to in the finals. It’s one of those things you can’t explain. It just happens,” said Nataas who has reached the U.S. Nationals final round for two consecutive years. “I wish we could have gotten the extra points for winning, but we did leave with the points lead after a really important win over Tony Stewart second round I’m sure we are going to have a lot more of those races before the season is over. It’s exciting.”

RMR will continue their championship campaign at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals in Reading, PA, with the Aussie Fiona Crisp and newcomer Mike Lewis after competing at the NHRA Lucas Oil Division 5 drag race in Earlville, IA, with Fiona Crisp in the OTG nitro machine.

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