Indianapolis: Jay Meyer wrap up

Meyer suffers disappointing first round loss in Indy CLERMONT, Ind. - Just one year ago, NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster driver Jay Meyer was on top of the racing world, hot off of a victory at the biggest event in drag racing, the U.S. Nationals at...

Meyer suffers disappointing first round loss in Indy

CLERMONT, Ind. - Just one year ago, NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster driver Jay Meyer was on top of the racing world, hot off of a victory at the biggest event in drag racing, the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. This year, just days after this year's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Meyer reflects on a very humbling weekend, where the Meyer Racing Team just couldn't seem to get things going their way.

The race, which spans over five days, started pretty well for the Meyer team on Thursday. Meyer ran an elapsed time of 5.59 seconds to place them in the field second. The rest of the race went down hill from there.

Torrential rains hit the Indianapolis area, dropping more than 4" of rain in a very short period of time Thursday night. The next morning, the team awoke to over 12'' of standing water in their pit area. To further put a dampener on the day, Meyer was involved in a freak starting line accident during that day's session with his opponent, Dave Hirata's tow vehicle. He was forced to shut off on the line following the collision, and was not able to make the run.

Things appeared to be brightening up for the Meyer team in the final qualifying session Friday. Meyer stepped up to a 5.500 at 254.33 mph to qualify him fourth. His first round opponent was to be the No. 13 qualifier Bill McCornack, who qualified with a 5.623 at 251.44 mph.

In his first round race, Meyer's misfortunes took a final turn for the weekend. McCornack took a .441 to .483 starting line advantage over Meyer (.400 is perfect). Meyer had overcame that lead by half track and appeared to be pulling away for the win, but had his high gear shifter stick, letting McCornack come back around for a holeshot win. McCornack's 5.595 at 249.95 mph was enough to hold off Meyer's off-pace 5.562 at 249.67 mph.

"We just got off on the wrong foot," said Meyer. "We always had the wrong gear [transmission] at the wrong time. We had 12'' of water in our pit one morning, then we lost the run where I backed into Hirata''s tow car. In that qualifying run, I got crossed up, and I never realized that at Indy, the tow vehicles have to cross over the burnout box to get to the return road. It didn't smoke the tires in the burnout, so I wanted to hurry up and get back in the water box and do another burnout so I wouldn't hold Dave up. The tow car was crossing over at that time, and I hit it. The rest of the weekend just turned out to be a disaster from there. The whole weekend we were just off."

"Then in the first round I was a little late at the tree," continued Meyer. "My .483 wasn't that bad, but he had a .441. I think we would have been ok and won, but the shifter stuck in high gear, he came back by, and beat us by .007 of a second."

Despite the bad weekend, Meyer still plans to pursue winning the National Championship.

"We still have five races that we can count," explained Meyer. "We still have to win two more, and win Noble [Okla., Division 4 race]. We picked up all of our marbles and came home, and we'll go back out and play another day. You can't win them all. We've been very fortunate all year. We've won several races, and got lucky with that 'gift' that Bowler gave us in Scribner. I would have liked to make a better showing, but that's drag racing. I've always said in drag racing, it's not what you do when you're up, but when you do when you're down is what makes you or breaks you. So, if the breaks don't go your way, you don't cry in your beer about it, you just go on to the next race, put it behind you and just forget about it."

"We got a hell of a team, and we're not going to let this get us down," Meyer added. "My crew chief Stacy McLemore, assistant crew chief Jim Morrison, Bruce Meyer, Stu Herbst, Dixie Meyer and Larry Reep are a great team. I have to thank my tuning consultant Tom Conway, my sponsors InsideFMRacing.com, Valvoline and Warner Machine. Without these people we couldn't be doing what we're doing."

-JMR

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Reep , Bill McCornack
Tags NHRA-FM-NC