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What happens when you’re both lucky and good? Just ask Top Sportsman winner Don Meziere

Top Sportsman racer Don Meziere opened the new season by winning his sixth NHRA national event title at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com, but it was far from easy
23 Feb 2022
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
The Sports Report
Don Meziere

Don Meziere has now won six NHRA national events including three at Auto Club Pomona Raceway and none of them have come easily. In 2014, Meziere won his first national event in Super Comp, but he had to beat Steve Casner in the final by .015-second in order to do it.

In 2016, Meziere won a pair of Top Sportsman titles in Las Vegas and Sonoma and both times, he had to face Ed Olpin Sr. in the final round. Meziere cut a .006 light in the first final and a .007 in the second, leaving next to nothing on the table for his opponent.

Meziere’s latest win at the 2022 Pomona season opener came as a result of a similar performance as he used a .009 light to get the best of former Comp standout Jeff Gillette, but he’s also quick to admit that good fortune also played a role in the outcome.

“I’d rather be lucky than good, and this is one of those weekends where it took a little bit of both,” said Meziere during his postrace winner’s interview. “I can’t even believe I’m standing here quite honestly. There has been a lot of adversity.”

Meziere was referring specifically to the second round of eliminations, where he once again had to face Olpin, who also has multiple national event wins, including a double at the 2017 Winternationals. Olpin left first, .017 to .035, and took the finish line stripe, but paid a price with a .001-second breakout. Meziere broke a rear end during the run and coasted across the finish line.

With the help of a few friends and dedicated crew members, Meziere had his six second Chevy Cobalt ready for his quarterfinal race against Mike Lucas, which he won with a consistent 6.75 on his 6.74 dial.

“We broke a ring and pinion in the second round, and I really even don’t know how my win light came on,” Meziere said. “It’s just one of those fortunate things. We were able to get it fixed up for the third round and with the help of Monte and Tanya Green Mallory Reis and her husband, Dom. They worked so hard. My nephew, Donald, and Steve Barber, who is always my righthand man. He’s always there to do whatever I ask him to do. He's all in on this and I appreciate all of them very much.”

Given the amount of work it took to make it to the late rounds, Meziere was thrilled to see that he had a bye run into Sunday’s final round. He finished the job with a tidy .009 light and a 6.77 on his 6.72 dial to defeat Gillette, who was celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first national event win at the 1992 Winternationals.

Meziere, who operated Meziere Enterprises, a leading supplier of drag racing electronics, was thrilled to kick off the new season with a victory, but he was also quick to acknowledge a few others, including friend and fellow Top Sportsman driver Doug Bracey, who was injured in an accident during qualifying.

“Before the opportunity gets away, I want to tell Doug Bracey that we’re thinking about you. Get well soon,” said Meziere. “I also want to thank my wife, she’s always a super supporter.”