MEGAN MEYER'S TAD CHAMPIONSHIP WAS SPECIAL, HISTORIC
Megan Meyer made history during the 2019 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. She became the first female Top Alcohol Dragster pilot to win the championship.
Also, she is just the fourth female to win a championship in the history of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
“It’s pretty cool that my best friend Mia [Tedesco] is also a champion,” Meyer said. “She was the third female to win a championship in the Lucas Oil Series. But to be the first female to do this, it’s pretty special. The Top Alcohol Dragster class has been around for a while now. I would have figured that it would have happened sooner than that. It’s so cool to be able to say that it’s me now. When I was racing Jr. Dragster, there weren’t many females in the Alcohol class, but we did have drivers, like Kate and Diana Harker, who I really looked up to. I hope that I can encourage and motivate younger female drivers to get into Jr. Dragsters to never give up and to keep working towards it.”
The Spring Hill, Kansas native won her first national event of the season at the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, in March. She defeated Mike Bucher in the final round to win the Wally.
“It was pretty cool, as I had never won the Gatornationals before this year,” she said. “I’ve won the Regional, but I wasn’t able to break through and win the national event until this year. It was really cool. It is a race that our team has always done really well at and we’ve won there with Justin Ashley. It was really cool for it to be my turn. It was my very first national event that I did four years prior. I made it to the finals at that race, but just fell short to Rich [McPhillips].
To be able to repeat that and get the win this year was awesome. It was the best way to start the year off with a win. It eventually led to us having a points lead and ultimately a championship. To be able to win it in the 50th year was really cool. It was awesome to see the legends race that they had. They also had every single class there so that made it extra special. It was a wonderful weekend, and we couldn’t have asked for a better time there.”
The race began a stretch with three wins in a row that she won after collecting 64 points in the first Divisional of the year at the “Baby Gators.” She also won the Divisional at the Texas Motorplex on April 7th. One week later, she won the national event at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented By Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park when she defeated Troy Coughlin Jr.
“It was really cool to be able to do that,” Meyer said. “It’s really cool to say that we’ve been to the finals at every single race except one, which was Topeka, between all of our drivers. The Dallas race was the last one to count for the JEGS All-Stars this year. It was me and my sister Rachel racing together. She was currently third place in points and they only take first or second for the JEGS All-Stars. Her ultimate goal is to race in the All-Stars, because to her, that’s the best drag race there is. She was also there when our dad was able to win it in 2014. To her, that race is so special. She was right on the end of making it and was able to compete for the Central Region. She was able to make it into the final round against me at the Dallas Regional -- and even though I had won and she got runner-up -- with that, she had enough points to jump into second place and push out Dean Dubbins.
“It was special to win that race and knowing that me and my sister were making the JEGS All-Stars. It was the first-time that two sisters were able to race in the All-Stars. Then, to go onto Houston, I had never really had much luck at Houston, but my dad had won there many times. It was really cool to be able to win there this year. My best memory of racing there was facing my best friend Mia Tedesco in either 2015 of 2016 there. We raced in Houston and I think it was the semifinals. We smoked the tired and pedaled it, then smoked the tires again, before pedaled it again. I had to sit and wait for it to calm down. I was finally able to chase her down, but she made it across the finish line first. That race established our friendship. We’ve been best friends since then.”
Meyer would then go without a win until July when she won the Divisional at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas. She followed that up the next weekend in August with a Divisional win at Tulsa Raceway Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Her next win of the season would be life-changing. She won the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
She defeated Coughlin Jr. in the final round, as the Delaware, Ohio native went red. This automatically gave Meyer the win.
“It is a great title to have,” she said. “For people to say that you’re an Indy winner, that’s special. It is the biggest race of the year. To say you’ve won Indy, it’s really cool. My dad has been trying for years to win that race but hadn’t won it before. My first year there, we had made it to the final round, but we fell short to Josh Hart I believe. For us, there is a lot of pressure at that event, because my dad is originally from Indiana. We have a lot of family that comes out to the race to cheer us on. We can get distracted easily -- and that’s exactly what happened when we raced at the Topeka Nationals, and we lost the first round. We got distracted, and we weren’t focused on the tune-up. We fell short in qualifying and being eliminated in the first round. We did not want that to happen again, but at the same time, we do want to enjoy that time with our family, friends, and sponsors who support us. Getting rained out, that sucks. Almost every race we have won this year, it has rained, so maybe that was a good thing.
“Racing at Indy is so cool. We also raced the final very late at night. A lot of people had left that time, so we weren’t able to celebrate with everyone that we wanted to. It was so cool to be able to race there with my sister, as it was her first-time racing at Indy. We actually had to run each other again in the semi-final and I was able to beat her. We just had the faster car. It’s so cool to be able to check that one off of our list. We had been racing there for years. We had never won, but to say that we finally did, it was such a great feeling, especially to get that weight lifted off of us. Maybe there’s some added pressure when we show up next year.”
After a runner-up finish at Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, to Coughlin, she then clinched the championship at the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. She clinched the championship with her semifinal win.
“We did really well in qualifying and again in eliminations,” Meyer said. “In the back of our minds, we knew it was crucial to keep going to get more points. Other people would then come up to us with different scenarios, like if Shawn [Cowie] does this or if TJ [Troy Coughlin Jr.] does this. If you do this, you can win, but if they do this, they have a chance to win it. Everyone had their own opinions and scenarios that they had come up with. They kept bugging us with them. It was a huge distraction. We tried to treat it like any other race, and we came here to win, so let’s win. There was even the possibility that if we had made it to the finals and oiled down the track, they would take points away from us.
“There was even talks about letting TJ go down the track by himself and not running the final race. Even if we had done that, we would have still won the championship. We don’t want that, because we know that we could win this race. We know we’re not going to oil down the track, so why would we not compete? We only had like 35-40 minutes between the semifinal and final, which wasn’t enough to change the rod bearings on the car, which is what we normally do between rounds. We did the normal maintenance and put fans on the motor and clutch in an attempt to cool it down.”
She defeated Coughlin Jr. to win the Wally at the race in North Carolina.
“We didn’t have enough time to change out all the parts that we normally change,” she said. “We were all shocked when we saw the 5.14 on the scoreboard because the motor was so hot, we didn’t know we could run that fast. My dad stepped it up on the tune-up, and he knew exactly what he was doing because we have data from Charlotte. Even if we had to burn it down, we were going to give it our best run, because it was our last chance to get more points and win the championship. We did it, then to be able to win the race -- and Amanda [Busick] told me it was the quickest side-by-side race in Top Alcohol Dragster history. That was so cool to be able to do that.
“Rich, TJ, and their whole team, they had really stepped it up over the last half of the year. We knew that they were going to give it their all, too. We knew we couldn’t go easy on them because they were running in the teens when we were just starting to get into the teens. We knew that we had to step it up to race against them. Fortunately, we got the win.”
Several days later, after making the trek from North Carolina to Texas, Meyer ended the season on a high note with a win at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. She defeated Buddy Dominique to win the Wally.
“That’s the best way to end the season,” Meyer said. “We couldn’t ask for a better way to end our year. We were able to win a race after winning the championship. It’s so cool. We ended the season with two wins in a row. Dallas wasn’t a race that I hadn’t won before this year. It was even cooler to get that win off of my list. My dad had won there previously before. Now, I have my own Cowboy hat, which is really cool. We ran fast enough to be able to get the win. It’s a weight lifted off of our shoulders to get the championship, then to extend our points lead with this win. We have such a great feeling going into next year.”
Meyer’s championship season was extra special, as it happened on her father’s 40th year in drag racing.
“It has been the best year by far that we’ve ever had,” she said. “It’s also pretty cool to be able to win the championship on my dad’s 40th racing anniversary. He got started back in 1979 with his brother. From that, when he was building cars out of the junkyard, to now when we have the best Top Alcohol Dragster program out there, it’s so cool to see that transition. I got to see the steps along the way that he’s had to make to get to this point. We’re grateful that we have really good crew guys on our team who have been with us for a long time. They work well with each other and work well with my family.”
Long before he drove his way to a national event victory, or six world championships, or even a popular face in the Funny Car division, Scotty Cannon was a kid with a dream. Here's his story. #DragRacingNews #dragracing - https://t.co/H7lPfmP0v1 pic.twitter.com/6dQGJPoAZF— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) December 3, 2019