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From the Sand Trap to the Final Round, Standout Weekend for Randy Meyer Racing

Melanie Johnson photos

Randy Meyer Racing (RMR) had a whirlwind of a weekend at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals that included a trip to the sand trap, earning first and second qualifying positions, and two final round finishes. 

Friday evening, the RMR Bond-Coat Top Alcohol Dragster experienced a malfunction that prevented the parachutes from deploying and driver Hunter Green was unable to slow the car to prevent a jaunt into the sand trap. The car carried enough speed to meet the net at the back of the trap and suffered damaged to the front wing and nose of the body. Luckily, Green stepped away unscathed and the chassis of the dragster was intact. 

Julie Nataas, pilot of the RMR Oslo Tapet & Gulvbelegg (OTG) Top Alcohol Dragster, didn’t have a triumphant outing either during Friday’s two qualifying sessions. Nataas shook the tires at the step on both runs.

After analyzing the car and the data from Green’s run, team owner and crew chief Randy Meyer was able to provide the following details about the incident, “one of the cables got in a bind, and the parachutes didn’t open. The parachute lever got caught in the brake handle, so he [Green] didn’t have enough brakes to stop the car before going through the sand.”

Despite the sand trap event and tire smoke on Friday evening, the team rallied to repair the Bond-Coat dragster and tune up the OTG dragster. When Green and Nataas returned to the track Saturday afternoon, they ran side-by-side 5.21 second passes. Nataas with the slight advantage, ran a 5.210 and moved to the top qualifying position, while Green recorded a 5.217 and ended up fourth after a competitive session. Later that day, during the final qualifying session, Green bumped his teammate down to second after he blistered the track with a 5.188 and secured the pole position. 

The first round of eliminations was held Saturday evening, and after a successful day of qualifying, both drivers advanced to the semifinal. During four-wide competition, the winner and runner-up of each quad advances to the next round. Green won his quad with a 5.230 at 275.67 mph and Nataas runnered-up in her quad with a 5.263 at 277.83 mph. 

Competition resumed on Sunday with warmer conditions than the previous days, but there was still partial cloud cover throughout the day. Nataas and Green both advanced to the final round as winners of their respective semifinal quads. Nataas ran 5.201 at 278.29, her best E.T. of the weekend. Green slowed to a 5.292 at 270.64, but it was enough to win the quad and move on. 

Unfortunately, the final didn’t result in a win for RMR. Nataas finished runner-up with a 5.289 at 267.48 mph to Mike Coughlin’s 5.280 at 268.65 mph. 

Nataas is confident that this weekend was a turning point for the team, “we put a new motor in the car this weekend and after running it, I feel like we got our car back. We might have been behind in the final round by a little but we’re running like we should.”

Green ran low E.T. of the final quad with a 5.266 at 268.81 but fouled with a red-light start.

“This weekend was a crazy one full of ups and downs. I’m disappointed in myself, just hate that I let my guys down after they worked so hard to fix the car after going into the sand. We have a fast and consistent car, and we were the only car to run in the teens this weekend. I have ten races left this year and the championship is still up for grabs with the car and team I have behind me,” Green commented on the tumultuous weekend. 

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Although the team experienced a rough start to the weekend, Meyer was pleased with the overall performance and outcome at the four-wide event. “We had a really good weekend here. Unfortunately, we tore up some engine parts and car parts on Friday, but we worked hard to overcome that.” 

RMR is headed to Indianapolis Raceway Park next weekend for the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Cleetus and Cars regional, and Meyer has a positive outlook. “We’re leaving here with two really good cars and two drivers that did a great job. We just came up a little bit short, but it’s the best weekend we’ve had so far this year. To qualify one and two, we haven’t done that in a long time. I think as it gets warmer out, we typically like those conditions and we’ll hopefully run a little better.”

Nataas will return to the seat of the RMR OTG dragster next weekend, May 3-4, at the NHRA LORDS regional at IRP. Green will rejoin the circuit next month at the NHRA LORDS regional at his home track, Texas Motorplex in Dallas.

This story was originally published on April 30, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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