Hagans Racing Backs 12-Year-Old Meghan Dillner in Bandoleros
Racing 101 Comes to New York-native in a LMS Summer Shootout & More
The future of the racing is in the youth of today. After all, how many times have you heard the phrase “driver development” on a race broadcast? Just like many of the elite NASCAR teams of today, Hagans Racing is continuing its driver development program, but with a new twist. Similar to what Evernham Motorsports has done by signing Erin Crocker; Hagans Racing is supporting its own female talent behind the wheel, 12-year-old Meghan Dillner.
“We are all about developing young drivers and winning races with them,” says team owner Matt Hagans. Joey Miller has done an outstanding job in one of our ARCA cars this year and we feel like we have certainly helped in his development this year by giving him the guidance and equipment he needs to get the job done. And we plan to do more of that with other talented young drivers as years go by.
“I wanted to help Meghan because she has a passion for racing. She just plain wanted to do it and that’s pretty neat when a kid her age has that much gumption to do something without her parents pushing her.”
One of her parents is well-known TV race commentator for SPEED Channel, Bob Dillner.
“She came to me a couple years ago and asked me if she could race and I said, ‘No,” explained Dillner, whose company also operates the popular short track website, Speed51.com. “She is really dedicated to this and I think it’s really cool to watch her. But she knows grades are what come first, and without good grades, she will not race.”
Meghan is currently a seventh grade honor roll student in middle school in North Carolina.
“I know I need to keep doing what I’m doing in school so I can keep racing,” explains Meghan, who also plays basketball and a clarinet in the school band. “I just think it’s neat to be part of Hagans Racing because they have such a good ARCA team. Joey Miller is second in points with their team and it’s really cool to think that I’m sort of a teammate to him.”
The young Dillner just completed her first nine races behind the wheel of a Bandolero racecar. She used the Hardee’s Summer Shootout at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway to get her first experience behind the wheel.
“It’s really cool to be able to control something; there’s just a special feeling I get when I’m in my racecar,” said Meghan, who qualified in the A-Main in five of the nine nights. “It’s fun because I’m only 12 and I’m driving a racecar and a lot of other kids my age don’t have that chance. I know I’m very lucky.
Meghan is interviewed by The Discovery Channel in the garage area for the Summer Shootout Series at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
“I sat in the grandstands with my Uncle Matt the past couple of years and watched the shootout and all the young kids like Brandon McReynolds and Casey LaJoie. Now I’m out on the same track as them. I was just starting to get used to everything when the shootout ended. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m learning every time I go out there. I’m learning the points I need to hit on the racetrack and where to get on the gas and where to lift off. Now I just want to drive as much as I can to get better and better.”
And, of course, part of the mystique surrounding racing for Meghan is partly due to the fact that females like Erin Crocker and Danica Patrick (IRL) have been successful this year.
“I read about Danica and what she did in the Indy 500 in Sports Illustrated and I’ve watched Erin in the ARCA RE/MAX races on SPEED Channel,” said Meghan. “It’s nice to see that other girls have taken such a big stand in racing. Erin has been finishing in the top five in ARCA races against all the boys and that proves that girls can be just as good as boys if they put their mind to it. They inspire me to do what I do.”
Dillner will carry the Eagle Creek Aviation theme on her Bandolero car anytime she sits behind the wheel. Her other sponsors include Rosarios Pizzeria of Concord, NC and the Joie of Seating (racing seat manufacturers, www.joieofseating.com).
Hagans Racing is currently exploring driver development opportunities for 2006 as the team plans to expand its ARCA effort. For more information on Joey Miller, Matt Hagans and Hagans Racing, please contact Mike Twist at (207) 590-1786 and be sure to visit www.hagansracing.com . Also, be on the lookout for the brand new meghandillner.com coming soon as well.