Top Dragster Driver
by Meaghan Henderson
I’m your normal seventeen year old girl in that I enjoy listening to my iPod, texting on my phone, hanging out with my friends, playing soccer and gymnastics. I’m a member of the National Honor Society and enjoy giving back to my community. There is one more activity that I love to do that some people may not consider normal for a teenage girl and that is driving my Top Dragster in the quarter mile in seven seconds at 175 mph.
I can remember traveling with my family to different race tracks, as my dad drove a top alcohol dragster. My dad decided to quit racing due to the escalating cost and with two young children it just seemed to be the right time. When I was eleven I had some friends that were racing Junior Dragsters and it looked like it would be fun to try. Junior Dragsters are smaller race cars designed for children between the ages of 8 and 17 years old. These junior drag race cars are set up to run on 1/8 mile tracks in 7.90 seconds and slower depending on the age of the driver and at speeds up to 85 mph. I asked my dad if I could race a junior dragster, so we went over to our friend’s house to see what it was like to sit in a dragster. My first experience did not last too long as it was just a little intimidating sitting in the dragster with the engine running. We went to a couple of local races to watch and that rekindled my interest in driving. So after several months of asking to race, my dad found a used junior dragster that he purchased for my Christmas present. The next year I started my racing career. Over the last couple of years my accomplishments include several runner-ups, a win, and a quarterfinalist at the Western Conference Finals in Denver, Colorado. I am hoping to win a Wally in July at the Western Conference Finals this year to top off my junior dragster career. This will be my last year competing in the junior dragsters while also competing in my Top Dragster at the same time.
To drive a dragster at an NHRA sanctioned track you must be sixteen years old and obtain a license to drive in that category. When I turned sixteen I went to the Frank Holly School of Drag Racing to obtain my NHRA license. We purchased a beautiful 2002 Undercover Dragster in January of 2009 that I have been competing in for the last year. I started out slowly, working on getting a feel for how the dragster reacts to different situations. The thrill that I got from driving my junior dragster was no match for the adrenaline rush I got the first time I stood on the throttle of my new car and ran a quarter mile pass in seven seconds at 175 mph. The statement really is true, “I feel the need, the need for speed”. It really is an addiction. The highlight of my career so far came last Labor Day weekend when I won my first big race and became the youngest driver to win a Pacific Street Car Association race. This year is starting off well as I am tied for 6th place in the HP Wicked Horsepower Series at The Strip at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I will compete at the Pacific Street Car Association races held at The Strip at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the Bracket Nationals held Thanksgiving Weekend at The Strip at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I will also compete in as many NHRA Division Seven Series races as I can in hopes of competing in and winning the World Finals at the end of the year.
The goals I have set for myself include graduating from High school, entering college and graduating with a degree in Marketing, continuing racing, and using my marketing degree to market myself into a professional racing career.
Drag racing is a great family sport. My dad is my crew chief, my mom is the team manger, and my brother drives his own junior dragster and is my assistant crew chief on my Top Dragster, until he turns sixteen and can drive his own. I would like to thank my parents along with Vogue Marine Center, Fauset Racing, and Visions Race Cars for their help and continued support in my racing career. If any Company that is reading this article would like to become a partner, contact me at 702- 293-3126.