Billy Meyer began his racing career at the age of nine in go-karts and as a teen-ager burst onto the auto racing scene making a name for himself as a Funny Car driver. Bill was the youngest person to earn their Funny Car license at the age of 16. According to those from that era, he drove like someone on a mission. He was young and wanted to win. Such status defined many of his driving decisions like leaving home in 1972, six weeks after high-school graduation, to pursue a full-time racing career. That fall, Meyer won the sport’s most prestigious independent Funny Car race, the 1972 Manufacturers Funny Car Championship at Irvine, Ca.
Meyer went to his first NHRA final round at age 20 and did so as the No. 1 qualifier in the biggest event in the sport at the Labor Day U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN. That same year, he won his first IHRA Winston National event at Bristol, TN. Meyer won an NHRA event for the first time at age 23 and for the last time at age 33 when he retired to spend more time with family and devote more time to his diverse businesses.
Billy raced in 112 NHRA races, and went to the finals 22 times, for a final round appearance percentage of 20%. He earned 12 NHRA National Event victories, for a winning percentage of 55%. In his last competitive event, he won the NHRA Winston Finals, prior to his retirement.
He finished in the top 10 of the NHRA Winston Series Championship 10 out of 11 seasons in which he competed, in the top three six times, and was a three-time Winston series runner-up.
Billy raced in 52 IHRA events, and went to the finals 13 times, for a final round appearance percentage of 25%, and earned eight IHRA National Event victories, for a winning percentage of 61%. In 1980, he won the IHRA Winston Funny Car Championship.
Billy Meyer worked as his own crew chief for all but the last 6 months of his career and was the first Funny Car owner to win races with two different drivers in a single season.
Meyer partnered with Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds in the Budweiser Rocket Car which was the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier in October 1979; traveling 739.666 m.p.h. at Edwards Air Force Base.
In 1986, Meyer built The Texas Motorplex which was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility constructed and was the first NHRA “super track”. Some of the fastest passes have been recorded at his Texas Motorplex and it continues to be a favorite of the fans and drivers for the all-concrete race surface. The AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals frequently yields national records.
Meyer won the Car Craft Magazine Person of the Year in 1987 and the Racers for Christ Person of the Year in 1988. In 1991, he authored the Boy Scouts of America Automotive Mechanics Merit badge.
Meyer was selected to be one of the top 50 drivers of all time in 1998. More recently, he received the 2017 Drag Racing Edge Magazine’s Peak Performer Award.
Today, Billy Meyer enjoys spending time with his wife of 40 years Deborah, their two adult children and their spouses, six grandchildren, and his friends. He continues to work owning and managing the Texas Motorplex. His other businesses include aviation, technology, and real estate. In his personal time, he enjoys serving at his church and striving to inspire the next generation. His personal drive to compete is now fulfilled on the golf course instead of the race track, as he enjoys playing with friends and family
Although a visionary Billy Meyer is three decades removed from the driver’s seat of a fuel Funny Car. His legacy remains as a driver, drag strip innovator, and one-time sanctioning body owner/president. He built the premier facility, changed the course of drag racing, enhancing spectator and sponsor amenities. Billy set the standard for which all other tracks have followed. All of these professional and personal accomplishments have cemented Billy Meyer’s legacy in Drag Racing history. Billy helped to make the sport bigger and better than anyone dreamed.