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Jacob McNeal makes jump to Top Fuel team ownership, more races in 2024

Top Fuel driver Jacob McNeal will begin his NHRA Rookie of the Year campaign driving the Poseidon Oilfield Services Top Fuel dragster at the historic NHRA Gatornationals, the first of eight races on his docket.
07 Dec 2023
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Jacob McNeal

Top Fuel driver Jacob McNeal will begin his NHRA Rookie of the Year campaign driving the Poseidon Oilfield Services Top Fuel dragster at the historic NHRA Gatornationals, March 8-10, 2024, at Gainesville Raceway. 

McNeal, who raced four races in 2023 driving Scott Palmer’s Top Fuel dragster recently purchased the Top Fuel operation of Buddy Hull and will have veteran crew chief Mike Guger making the tuning calls during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season. 

The Poseidon Oilfield Services Top Fuel dragster will compete in Gainesville, at the Las Vegas NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, the Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, the Gerber Collison & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Chicago, the NHRA Virginia Nationals, the Stampede of Speed, and NHRA Texas FallNationals and Nevada. Additionally, McNeal has plans to compete at the yet-to-be-announced NHRA national event in July and the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals.

“This is a huge step for me, and I could not be more excited,” said McNeal from the NHRA stage at the PRI show in Indianapolis. “I have to thank Scott Palmer and Buddy Hull for all their encouragement and support. This has been a dream since I started racing Jr. Dragsters and bracket cars. I have always owned my race cars, and when the opportunity came to buy Buddy’s race car, I jumped on it and to also be able to work with Mike Guger is awesome. I have been lucky to have great mentors and supporters going back to Fred Spell Jr. when I was just getting started.”

McNeal began racing in the Jr. Dragster ranks and then moved up to bracket cars. He won the Race of Champions (Division 4 E.T. Finals) in 2012, which was his first big-car event, and the hook was set. Following that success, McNeal made it his mission to learn how to race behind the wheel of a bracket dragster. 

To fund his dream, he worked in the oilfields saving money to pour into his racing career, eventually moving to A/Fuel dragster racing for Randy Meyer. He licensed in Del Worsham’s dragster in 2022 and last year hooked up with Palmer for four national events, including a quarterfinal finish in Chicago, where he qualifier No. 13 and upset Justin Ashley in the first round before losing to eventual runner-up Josh Hart in the second round.

McNeal has relied on the tutelage of Palmer and Hull as he makes this commitment to pursue an eventual full-time Top Fuel career. The opportunity presented itself with Hulls’ move to Funny Car racing for NHRA legend Jim Dunn.

“This all came together so fast, and it just worked out perfectly,” said Hull, who will be making his Funny Car debut at the NHRA Gatornationals in 2024. “I knew Jacob was a great guy and racer, so when I knew my plans were changing for 2024, we started talking, and it just worked out. I really believe there is a plan for everything, and I am so excited for Jacob and also for Mike Guger. I never want to leave anyone in a bind, and Jacob will be able to pick up right where we left off in Top Fuel, with a car that is running quick and making solid runs. I really feel a calling to help grow the sport of NHRA Drag Racing, and that is why I am so excited to keep a quality Top Fuel dragster out there and give a great new driver a chance.”

In addition to Poseidon Oilfield Services, McNeal also owns Poseidon Trucking based out of East Texas. The young Texan is looking forward to finding additional sponsorships for his new team and racing for the 2024 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

“I want to chase that rookie of the year award, and I think racing almost half the season we can have a good shot,” said McNeal. “I am talking with a lot of people and companies at PRI and in the offseason about coming on board with our program. I want to build a professional team that even though we might not be at every race, when we show up, we are ready to win, and we look and act like we belong. These next few months will be busy, but I can’t wait to get to the Gatornationals.”

McNeal and the Poseidon Oilfield Services Top Fuel dragster will be on track starting March 8-10 at Gainesville Raceway for the NHRA Gatornationals.