BEHIND THE WHEEL BLOG
Meghan's Online Driver Journal
FEBRUARY 12, 2005 -  Excited About My First Speedweeks

Hi guys (and girls of course)!  I am just days away from going to Orlando, Florida, and I can barely contain my excitement!
JANUARY 17, 2005 -  FIRST BLOG - Welcome to My Site

Hi guys!  Welcome to my new website.  I hope you are having a good start to the new year!  I know I am.  I haven’t been racing for a while, but my family and I will be getting back into the flow of things shortly.  Just recently I went to watch a race at LMS on the road course with my Dad.  Although I will not be racing the road course this year, I will be racing again at the 1/5th mile track at LMS on Saturday, February 4th.  I will also be racing on February 17th and 18th at the Orlando Speedworld in Florida. This will be my first time racing out of state so I am very excited!  Thanks for checking in! I will keep you posted on how things go.  - Meghan




I will be leaving Thursday morning with my friends, the Stroupes, and meeting my dad later that night.  I will make it in time to race that night as well as Friday and Saturday.  Another fun aspect of going down there is being able to visit my dad.  He left Wednesday, February 11th, for Speedweeks and is coming home Monday, February 20th.  My mom, brother, sister and I all miss him a lot here at home so I am looking forward to seeing him soon.
  
Right now, my only goal while I will be at Orlando is to try hard and have fun, knowing there will be people racing there from all over the country.  I think that is what’s truly important in racing.  That’s why I do it anyway.  I will tell you how I do once I get back.  Wish me luck!

Meghan has only raced in North Carolina and is looking forward to her first out-of-state racing experience.
FEBRUARY 26, 2005 - Orlando Trip and My First Win!

First off, I had a great time in Florida racing at Orlando Speedworld (FL).  It was a hard track to drive, since it was big and so flat.  I tried my best and had fun. 
It was a great experience!  I got to hang out with my dad, Uncle Matt and my friends.  I want to say a big thank you to the Stroupe family for all their help.  We had lots of late nights at the track having dinner at midnight at I-HOP, but it was lots of fun.

Now on to my really exciting news….

I won my first heat race and feature event yesterday in the Bandolero Beginner Bandit race at the 1/5-mile track at LMS. It was such a great feeling to be the first to cross the finish line with the checkered flag waving over my head. I was so happy I screamed inside the car. It was so cool to pull into victory lane and have my family running toward me.

Unfortunately my Dad couldn’t be there, but I had his voice in my head leading me to a victory. At the track with me I had my proud Uncle Matt, my mom, my sister (Kaitlyn), my brother (Blaise), and the Stroupes. I want to say thanks to all of them. I couldn’t have done it without them there.

I also got a hat that I didn’t take off all day, and a plaque, that I kept close to me all day, at victory lane.   I also want to thank all of you that go to this site for giving me support!
                                                                                                             
Bye!
Telling Dad about the win on the phone.
Click pics for to see larger image
MARCH 28, 2005 - My Atlanta Experience!

Hey guys! I just got back home from Atlanta, Georgia, where I raced their ¼-mile track.  This is basically the Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s ¼-mile twin, except for the fact that it doesn’t have the bumps on the back straightaway (which was nice, of course).
My day started out by getting up at 5:30 a.m. so we could get to the track in time for my Dad’s Speed Channel meeting.  We were the first ones there, but once the trailers started pouring into the pits, the fun began.  Since it was still morning and the race wasn’t until 6 p.m., I spent my time touring the pit area.  I hung out with my Mom and Dad, sister and brother, my Aunt Kathie and cousin Kaitlyn, my Uncle Guy, and the Stroupes.

Racing at Atlanta was different especially since it was a Nextel Cup weekend.  Cup drivers Carl Edwards and David Stremme came over and wished me luck.  Humpy Wheeler also came over to say hi. That was pretty cool!
I shocked myself by passing people three wide on the outside.  Sure it may not sound like a whole lot to someone who has raced for years, but it was to me.  I spun once in the middle of the race, which hurt me being that it didn’t draw a caution.  I got going again and was running with the leaders and I surprisingly kept up with them for the rest of the race.  My teammate, Nick Stroupe, finished 3rd.  In the end I finished 17th, but I had so much fun, I felt like a winner.  My dad was really proud of me, saying that I ran better than he had ever seen me before.  I shocked my Mom enough that she called me wild woman all night.

After the race we went with the Stroupes to a restaurant called “Bugaboo Creek.”  It was a nice restaurant, but I was so exhausted I could barely enjoy it.  It was midnight by the time we got back to the hotel.  I crashed into our room and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  I may have felt as dead as a log, but I still dreamed of the fun I had had that day. Saturday was a blast!
Racing on Cup weekend was a lot of fun.
APRIL 19th - SPRING BREAK AND LESSONS LEARNED AT CONCORD

Hey everyone!  A few weeks ago I raced at Concord and never got a chance to write about it in a blog.  With Spring break here, I’ve been pretty busy visiting family and working as a secretary in my dad’s office, but finally have time to write!

Concord’s ¼-mile track is a very interesting track to run.  The high banking may make it easier to turn, but it also means you have to nail the corners just right.  I have to say that turns three and four are the easiest to master.  I can speed around those easy, but turns one and two are another story!  You have to stay high until the last minute, then crank the wheel down and hit the white line in the middle of the corner.  That allows you to stay low and gradually rise higher on the straightaway.  If the driver does this all right, then he or she can pass other cars off of turn two when their opponent drifts high.  This is a lot to remember in a few split seconds!
Concord is known to have a lot of wrecks as well.  With quite a bit of passing going on, it’s easy to crash into another car.  There are spins, rubbing, and even flips on occasion!  But its competitive nature causes all of this and makes it even more fun and challenging to run!  As many people say, “Rubbing is racing!”

Well, let’s get on with how the night went, shall we?  I have to say I wasn’t having the greatest day.  I almost wasn’t going to go.  It’s not that I didn’t want to go (I had tons of fun and was really fast the day before in practice, so I was really excited to race), but I had gotten something similar to strep the night before.  Even though I wasn’t feeling well, I convinced my mom to let me venture off to Concord Motorsport Park!
I have to admit that I was regretting that decision after practice!  I spun and backed into the wall on the first lap getting off turn two.  I hit hard and could feel the car’s back-end lift up and then crash back down.  I learned from my Uncle Matt that because of the curved barriers, the car was not as damaged as bad it could have been.  One of my bars that hold the bumper and body onto the car broke away from the frame.  No additional damage was done to anything, but the back body was torn off.  I thought that it was my fault, so I was pretty mad. It turned out that the gas cap was left open and gas splashed on the wheels causing me spin.  Mike Stroupe and the gang did a quick welding job and I was back out on the track in no time!
I didn't have the best start to my raceday at Concord.
That first blow had knocked the confidence right out of me. For the next two times on the track I was very cautious and as slow as molasses! This caused me to start next to last in the feature!

By the time the feature race rolled around, I was feeling a little better.  No matter how much queasiness was left inside of me, I forced myself to suck it up and get back to the way I ran in testing the day before!  By the end of the race I was back to speed and I had definitely had fun.  Although I wasn’t fully back to my full potential, I passed a few cars and finished 10th.  It was worth it to go out there and have fun!
It's hard to stay confident after a crash but support from my family and friends helped me a lot.
I want to say thank you to my Uncle Matt for taking me to the track (since my dad was working in Martinsville, VA, during the day and wouldn’t be able to get me there in time), the Stroupes for bringing my car and working on it, my dad for giving me confidence and working hard with me at practice the night before, and my mom, sister, and brother for simply being there and sharing a smile when I needed one! 

It was a tough day to get through, being sick and having a practice crash, but overcoming both made it a very memorable day.

June 12th - IT'S SUMMER TIME!!!

Yes!  It’s finally summertime and for me that only means one thing…..SUMMER SHOOTOUT!  Now this isn’t the first time I have raced at LMS since the last shootout.  I got to race there twice about two weeks ago during the big NASCAR race weekend.  I raced once on Thursday (pole night) and the second time on Saturday (before the Busch race). 
My first time out on the track was for practice.  I felt so great!  I think I was doing the best that I had ever done at Lowe’s.  They even aired parts of the practice on Speed Channel.  I totally thought that I could get a good finish.  Well, race time rolled around and even though my family and friends said that I did great, the race didn’t turn out like I expected it to.  I got freight-trained!  Now, for those of you that don’t know what that means, it’s when one person gets under you and all the other cars think it’s there free ticket to Top Spot USA.  In other words, you get the shove to the outside and can’t get back down to the preferred groove (the inside) because of all the cars sneaking into the spot underneath you.  I ended up getting back down, but I went from 4th to 10th by the end of the race.  I was disappointed and angry with myself, but my dad said that it’s almost a good thing that I was mad because it shows that I know that I can do better!
It was fun racing on such a big stage and in front of so many fans!
On Saturday, I did a lot better in my opinion!  I started 10th and drove my way up to 7th.  Now that may not be the best finish in the world for someone who has been racing all their life, but it is the best that I have ever gotten.  It felt so good to actually be battling with people who were a few laps ahead of me last year!
Before either of these races took place, I made a couple of appearances earlier that week!  The first one was at a kid’s concert at Tom Johnson’s Camping Center.  I had so many cute, little kids coming up to me asking for an autograph, wanting to sit in the car, and telling me that they wanted to be a racecar driver when they grow up.  That was really cool!

The second appearance that I made was at my sponsor Rosario’s Pizzeria.  I parked my car in front of the pizzeria and once again got little kids coming up asking the same types of questions.  This time, I also had adults come up to me asking me how the car works and if I enjoy what I do.  I even had a lot of my friends and family out there to support me!  We had a great time and finished the evening with a great meal there!

This was one exciting week and I’m glad to have been a big part of it!  Thanks to all of the people who were there for me when they could have spent there time other ways.  It means a lot to have all of you guys there for me!