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Julie Nataas Finds NHRA Top Alcohol Championship Fails to Open Path To Pro Ranks

julie nataas nhra top alcohol dragster
Champ Nataas Finds Blocked Path to NHRA Top FuelNHRA/National Dragster
  • Twenty-time NHRA winner is in her last year with Randy Meyer Racing.

  • Nataas ‘deserves a shot, for sure,’ Tony Stewart says.

  • Norweigan-born driver says she looks forward to “going somewhere else and developing as a driver.”


Reigning NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster champion Julie Nataas said she doesn’t feel like she has “been passed over yet” for a chance to step up to the professional ranks. “I haven’t looked at it that way,” the Norwegian-born third-generation drag racer said.

However, she conceded that “I don't think a championship will really get you a ride anytime soon. No one really cares. Yes, you had a championship, and I can say that I do and it's part of who I am now. But it doesn't really give you anything bigger or greater just because you won the championship.

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“People notice,” Nataas said, “but it doesn't give you anything extra. It’s not like, ‘Oh, you win a championship and now you're going Top Fuel racing. It’s more about the money than anything else. Of course, if you have the talent, it definitely helps a lot.”

The Randy Meyer Racing headliner, with 20 victories for the team that has produced series crowns in four of the past five years, is in her sixth and final season with the Kansas-headquartered outfit. And team owner Meyer said, is to advance the careers of Nataas and her teammate Hunter Green (son of Funny Car racer Chad Green): “Our goal is to help Julie and Hunter “win more races and championships before they move on to the nitro ranks.”

julie nataas nhra
Julie Nataas won the 2023 NHRA Top Alcohol championship, topping runner-up Tony Stewart along the way.NHRA/National Dragster

She said, “He knows I want to drive a Top Fuel car, and he's all positive about it. So there's no bad feelings between us. I've had a great—more than a couple—years here. I mean, I've been here since ’17, so it's just about me growing and going somewhere else and developing as a driver and all that good stuff that we want to do.”

Nataas has been vocal for many years about her desire to follow in dad Thomas Nataas’ and grandfather Albin Nataas’ footsteps. Thomas Nataas raced a Pro Mod, Funny Car, and Top Fuel Dragster in the FIA European Championship and in the U.S. in NHRA’s Top Fuel class.

“I am ready to move up,” she said. “I've been here for a long time, and I think it's time for me for a new challenge, a change. Clearly, everyone knows that I want to go Top Fuel racing, so I feel like at some point I have to say, ‘Enough is enough, and it's time to step up.’”