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Not Much Success for Alcohol Racers at Indy

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    Will Smith in the Hirata Motorsports A/FD qualified No. 11 and won round one before slowing by two tenths in the second frame. He is shown at the Indy LODRS event in August. / Photo by Fred Noer

TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER and TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR – Few rounds were won by North Central Region alcohol racers at the U.S. Nationals, with all but one racer in both categories eliminated by the second round.

Julie Nataas advanced the furthest, going to the semifinals in Top Alcohol Dragster. She qualified No. 10 in a Randy Meyer Racing dragster with a 5.342 at 260.76. Nineteen racers attempted to make the 16-car field.

In the first round, Nataas’ machine picked up significantly, turning a 5.235 at 272.56 to defeat teammate Rachel Meyer, whose No. 7 qualifying dragster ran a 5.295 at 269.03. She was first off the line at .047, but Nataas was only .005 behind.

Nataas was uncontested in round two. Matt Cummings’ Division 2 car, which qualified No. 2 with a 5.206 at 276.86, developed a fluid leak after his burnout, and his car was shut off. Nataas recorded a 5.215 at 270.86, her best pass of the event.

In the semifinals, Nataas’ dragster ran only 5.502 at 267.37 due to misfiring cylinders, causing her to lose to Josh Hart in his A/FD, which qualified third at 5.219 at 280.02. He turned a 5.268 at 274.50 for the win.

Megan Meyer Steamrolls the Competition

In the run for the Wally, Hart was opposite defending national and U.S. Nationals champion Megan Meyer. Coming off a national-record ET pass of 5.090 at 280.54 in her semifinal win over Shawn Cowie, Meyer had a .101 light to Hart’s .037. Her car made up the difference with a 5.148 at 271.13 to Hart’s 5.226 at 277.89.

Will Smith, who qualified No. 11 at 5.347 at 272.06, won over another North Central Region racer, Krista Baldwin, in the first round on a .034 to .116 holeshot. His Hirata Motorsports dragster went 5.339 at 271.52 to her 5.306 at 270.86.

In the second round, Smith was put out by Hart, who turned a 5.207 at 279.38. Smith dropped off to a 5.502 at 267.37.

Jared Dreher, Corey Michalek, and Robin Samsel of the region qualified in the last three spots in the field. All three racers lost in the first round. Mick Steele missed the show.

In Top Alcohol Funny Car, three region racers lost in the second round – Jonnie Lindberg, Chip Beverett, and Andy Bohl. The other region racers in the 16-car field, Chris Foster and Tony Bogolo, lost in round one. Ray Drew, Rob Pfeister, and Phil Esz failed to qualify.

Lindberg Wins Pedaling Contest Over Top Qualifier Bellemeur

Lindberg qualified his 2016 Camaro No. 16 with a 5.687 at 263.05 and faced No. 1 qualifier Sean Bellemeur in the first round. Lindberg won with a 5.740 at 266.16 after a .039 light. Bellemeur, who qualified with a 5.491 at 267.32, dropped off to a 5.731 at 263.46 after a .049 light. Lindberg’s Camaro won by .001 or about six inches after both cars had traction problems.

Beverett matched his 5.543 qualifying time (for No. 6) to best Aryan Rochon of the East Region. His Camaro ran 5.596, which improved from his 5.624 qualifier for No. 11 in the field.

After his round-one win, Beverett faced Doug Gordon from California in the second round and lost. Gordon had a 5.507 to qualify third and boosted that to 5.488 at 269.13 to upend Beverett, whose Camaro turned a 5.555 at 266.53.

Bohl was at his first NHRA race since crashing at the 2019 Chicago national event. He qualified his 2020 Camaro No. 12 at 5.636 at 259.81 and defeated Bob McCosh of the Central Region in round one when his car smoked the tires.

The second round match-up between Bohl and D.J. Cox Jr. of the East Region had to be run twice because of a mix-up by NHRA officials. Bohl’s and Cox’s cars ran the same speed at 266.48, but Cox had the best time at 5.537 to Bohl’s 5.556.