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Day Motor Sports driver profile: Megan Dodson striving for progress in Factory Stock

ROCKPORT, Texas — Among the many young racers around the great state of Texas, there are a few rare exceptions you may think that just don’t fit the mold. When you take a look at classy athletes like Caitlin Leonard and Jennie Barber, you might think they would be more at home on the tennis courts. 

For 22-year-old-Megan Dodson, the world of short track racing is where she feels happiest. The former tennis player fell ‘out of love’ with that sport, and now spends her weekends on the dirt ovals. In 2021, she earned a pair of top-fives (one was taken away, sadly) and has learned a ton about the sport.  

This year, after a successful stint in Karts in Robstown, she’s diving back into Factory Stock for another round of learning. She’s a student of the sport, and soaks up knowledge every time she suits up. 

“My father and I are doing this together, and we’re out there learning together,” Dodson said. “He raced when he was younger, and we’re just having a lot of fun now that it’s my turn. I really do enjoy the Factory Stock class, because I get to race against the best of the best. 

“I feel like every time I go out on the track, I learn something new. It’s all about getting experience.”

Dodson is a second generation racer with a neat story, and she had a different start in racing than most.

“It’s kind of weird how it happened,” Dodson said. “I grew up playing tennis, and we were traveling all over Texas chasing points. My dream was to go play tennis at the collegiate level. I played my first year, and did pretty well both academically and on the courts. But then, I lost interest in the sport.

“My family and their friends were looking for a new hobby. My cousin built a Kart track, and he had about 20 cars out there just having a blast. About six months later, we found out about the track over in Corpus (L87). We went out there the summer after my freshman year, and I was completely hooked.”

During the month of February, Dodson participated in Owen Pittman’s new South Texas Arena Racing Series (STARS) program in Robstown. She did well, and says it got her fired up to go big-car racing. 

“I wasn’t going to do Karts this past winter, Dad and I were just going to get the car ready for this year,” Dodson said. “But when I saw that Owen’s deal was indoors in an arena, I just had to try it. I put the Kart together, but this was different. Using a Spec engine and different tires had a learning curve.

“I’m super grateful that I got to do it, and I definitely learned a lot. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve been working at being more consistent behind the wheel. I think no matter what you’re driving, you need to stay focused. I think running that Kart last month will give me a slight advantage now.”

It’s no secret the level of competition in Factory Stock is about as stiff as it gets in Texas short track racing. Yet Dodson goes where the top drivers are, knowing it’s how she’ll get better. 

“It’s a big challenge to find speed in the car every week and try to run with guys like Memphis Villarreal, Neil Kemp, or Dalton Faulkner,” she said. “But I know if I want to get better, I have to compete against the best and learn how it’s done. I don’t shy away from a challenge, and I’m not at all intimidated.”

Dodson has one big advantage over other newcomers in the sport, and it’s her relentless work ethic.

“I think Megan probably works on her own car more than most guys do,” said South Texas racing icon Tanner Whitmire. “I help her out whenever I can, and I’m proud to do it. She works hard to learn, to get experience and she has fun while she’s doing it. She’ll make more gains this year, and is a smart racer.”

Along with her immense raw natural talent behind the wheel, Dodson also has a few key people in her corner who ensure her racing program stays on track. 

“I need to thank my parents, Troy and Charlene Dodson; for all they do for my racing program. I also want to thank Austin Nesloney and Tanner Whitmire. I couldn’t do this without their support. I also need to thank my valued partners, including Busters Propane, Rose Truck Sales, Tow Boat U.S. Port Aransas/Corpus Christi, Sames Ford and WRT. They make it possible for me to compete at this level, and I’m honored to represent them all season.”

With the Karting program now in the books and weekly tracks opening their gates for a new season, Dodson has some clear goals and plans set in stone. And you can bet she’ll be smiling all season long. 

“We plan to travel a bit more, like heading over to Louisiana to run some of the bigger shows,” she concluded. “Last year, we went up to Boyd Speedway to compete in a $1,200-to-win event there. We learned so much just by getting out of our own element, and going somewhere new like that. 

“The more traveling we can do, getting to race against different people, the more I can learn. There are a ton of good racers in Arkansas, in Louisiana, and of course all across Texas. So that’s the plan for this season, to get me some more seat time and find some more speed. I’m having fun and learning a ton.”  

By Phil Whipple, RaceON.com Staff Writer