INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 04, 2023) – Julie Nataas and her Randy Meyer Racing (RMR) Oslo Tapet & Gulvelegg (OTG) Top Alcohol Dragster team raced to a runner-up finish at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals and leave Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park with the Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster National Championship Points lead.
In only the second an 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 have 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 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.”
Nataas entered eliminations as the No. 3 qualifier with a 5.247-second pass at 374.61 mph. She would match-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. Nataas stayed consistent 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 their 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 Nataas and the OTG team 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.
Nataas and her RMR OTG Top Alcohol Dragster team continue their championship campaign at the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte Sept. 22-24.