Julie Nataas is the 2023 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster National Champion. She drove the Randy Meyer Racing (RMR) Oslo Tapet & Gulvelegg (OTG) dragster to a huge round win in the semifinals of the NHRA Texas FallNationals and earned enough points to clinch the championship.
Going into the round, Nataas was unaware of the championship implications when she lined up next to Shawn Cowie. The RMR team once again gave her a great car, and she pulled off a holeshot win against Cowie. Nataas ran 5.141 seconds at 279.02 mph to Cowie’s 5.126 at 281.39, but her 0.025 starting line advantage was enough to hold him off.
Nataas had raced to victory in the JEGS Allstars event the day before, making it her third consecutive year earning the JEGS Allstars TAD title.
When Nataas emerged from the cockpit of her OTG dragster and received the news that she had indeed won the championship, she was overcome with emotion and fell to her knees. She continued to embrace the wave of excitement and relief that her 2023 season goal of winning the championship was accomplished.
As her team pulled away to begin servicing the car for the final round of the FallNationals, Nataas stayed behind and accepted the LODRS Championship trophy. She mentioned afterward, “I didn’t know I could win the championship with this round. It’s so surreal.”
When asked about how her entire life has led to this moment, Nataas responded, “I think everything I’ve done has led up to this. My dad getting me a Jr. Dragster at nine years old, going drag racing on the weekends, and after school during the weekdays going go-kart racing so I could be the best driver in one of these cars. He’s here every weekend with me.”
Nataas completed the hat trick, winning the FallNationals running a weekend best of 5.129 at 279.76, while Kirk Wolf had trouble early in the run and clicked off. The opportunity to win three titles in one weekend doesn’t come often in NHRA competition.
“It’s been a wild weekend. A weekend I could only dream of. It’s going to be the most memorable weekend of my career. My dad decided to go to Dallas last minute, and I’m so glad he did and was here with me for this incredible weekend.”
In 2022, Nataas sat in the number 18 position after qualifying was completed and did not compete in the 16-car field at the FallNationals. Nataas and RMR have been on a mission this season and have capitalized at the right time to earn the championship. They came into the FallNationals fresh off a National event win in Charlotte, North Carolina, three weeks ago.
Nataas will continue her season as planned, with her next stop in Las Vegas for the NHRA Nevada Nationals and finish her 2023 campaign at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, California. The 2023 NHRA Awards Banquet will be held on Monday after the final day of racing in Pomona, Nataas will be in attendance to formally accept the championship award.