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The latest update as of February 25, 2022


Will "lightning strike thrice" or will there be a "changing of the guard" at the top of the points standings in Top Alcohol Dragster in 2022? After a three year run at the top of the Top Alcohol Dragster standings, the Randy Meyer Racing juggernaut will be facing some even tougher competition than they've faced since they started their championship run. Megan Meyer won the title in 2019 and 2020, then stepped aside in favour of younger sister Rachel Meyer, who grabbed the crown in 2021. This year, it's Julie Nataas advancing from the #2 car to the primary car, in search of the fourth consecutive title for the Meyer team, and her first in the category.

There are some serious challengers to that supremacy however, starting with the quickest car of the 2021 season, that of the McPhillips Racing team, as they cranked out an awesome 5.101 - 282.42 at the season ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona. That run was with Rich McPhillips Jr. driving, but with the usual driver, Matt Cummings at the wheel, an almost as good 5.123 - 280.54 was recorded two months earlier at Charlotte. Between those two drivers, six wins and three runnerup finishes were carded at national events, plus and additional win and three more runnerups at regional races. Collectively, they could have seriously challenged Rachel Meyer for the season championship.

At the second to last race of the season, at Las Vegas, a third driver climbed into the McPhillips dragster, and Mike Coughlin, (yes, THAT Coughlin family) ripped off low e.t. of the first two qualifying sessions at 5.242 - 271.95, before falling to #4 in the final order. Although he lost in the first round of eliminations, the team showed that they could quickly get a handle on the tuneup in their first time racing in relatively thin Las Vegas air.

This year, it appears that driving duties will be shared by Coughlin and Cummings, and with them racing at the season opening Winternationals, plus this weekend at Belle Rose, LA, the McPhillips team looks to be planning on fighting for the top rung on the dragster ladder. UPDATE: While watching the NHRA.tv broadcast from the South Central regional event at Belle Rose, LA, the announcer let it be known that the McPhillips team will be running a total of 27 races in 2022. Whew. That's quite an ambitious - and that's putting it lightly - schedule for the "green gang". And for a change of pace, Matt Cummings is driving this weekend at his first regional event ever after exclusively competing at national events during his Top Alcohol career.

Another A/Fuel team that has spent the winter fine-tuning their equipment and prepping for the season are the John Finke owned and Jackie Fricke driven car from the East Coast. They came within just a car length of taking the 2021 championship, falling to Rachel Meyer in the final round of eliminations at the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals in a winner-take-all battle for the season title. Far from being depressed over that heart-breaking loss, the Finke & Fricke team are coming back this year, more determined than ever to finish #1 in the class for the first time, and break the domination exhibited by the Randy Meyer team over the past three years.

There was an interesting article posted on Competition Plus earlier this week detailing their plans and aspirations for 2022. To read it, go to For Fricke and Fink, Fun Comes First in The Pits.

More to come tomorrow, including what about the #3 finisher in 2021, Shawn Cowie. He didn't appear at Pomona, and so far, he's not on the entry list for the Gatornationals, so just what are his team's plans for continuing the fight against the injected nitro cars, with his blown alcohol combination. We're still digging to find out just what their plan is for this year. That's it for now, but we'll be back tomorrow with some more news on what's happening at Wild Horse Pass (NHRA Arizona Nationals) and No Problem Raceway (Nitro on The Bayou), and fill in some of the details in our coverage of the PRO Nitro Spring Training test session.