Reigning NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world champion Megan Meyer supplanted the longest-standing national record for an active eliminator in drag racing Saturday at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, as she clocked the long-awaited first 5.0-second run in the history of the class.
Meyer, who announced her pending retirement in the days leading up to the sport’s most prestigious drag race, was racing JEGS Allstars champion Jackie Fricke in the second round of eliminations when she stunned the drag racing world with an out-of-nowhere 5.097 at 278.81 mph. Meyer’s magical run came after sunset in 2,776-feet of density altitude, at 79 degrees and 93 degrees of track temperature.
Just to ensure her run was no fluke, Meyer returned in the semifinals on Sunday morning and bettered her mark (and technically backed it up, though no longer an official requirement) with a 5.090 at 280.54 mph in less fitting conditions — 3,106 feet of density altitude and a track temperature of 100 degrees.
All the way back on April 1, 2007, during the semifinal round of eliminations at the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, Bill Reichert stormed to a 5.103-second lap at 281.54 mph, and backed it up within 1-percent for a new national record in the finale with a 5.153. Semi-ironically, Reichert defeated Meyer’s father and crew chief, Randy Meyer, in eliminations that day in Baytown, Texas.
Three years prior, at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona, Mitch Myers had placed the category on the cups of the 5.0’s with 5.118- and 5.109-second laps.
But in the years since Myers’s and Reichert’s runs, the A/Fuel Dragster combination was adjusted from 97- to 95-percent nitromethane, leading to an unprecedented run of 13 years — 4,906 days — with Reichert’s name in the record books. Some wondered if it would ever be broken, or if rulemakers may dash the opportunity yet again.
An impressive point that’s often overlooked is the fact that A/Fuel Dragsters are naturally-aspirated, and at 5.09-seconds, they are of course the quickest non-boosted racing machines in the world.
Meyer was .912-second to 60-feet, 2.332 to the 330-foot mark, 3.397 at 234.78 mph to the 1/8-mile, and 4.303 to 1,000-feet on her 5.097-second run, and .925, 2.348, 3.407 at 236.59 mph, and 4.306 on her way to the 5.090.
Putting a fitting cap on a career weekend, Meyer used a 5.14 in the final to defeat Josh Hart, scoring her second U.S. Nationals victory in a row.