We Have a Winner!
Local teenager Whitney Meggs makes Charger Division racing history.
Imagine driving in just your sixth Charger Division car race. Now imagine you are a 16-year-old girl racing against men of all ages. And on a track in Myrtle Beach where some of the all-time greats have competed, including Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr., Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Ned Jarrett, Elliot Sadler and many others. Imagine you have the fastest qualifying time and start the race on the pole. And then in an exciting finish, you cross the finish line first to get the checkered flag!
Sounds hard to believe, doesn’t it? But Whitney Meggs of Riegelwood actually did it. The junior at North Brunswick High School became the first female to ever win a Charger Division race at the Myrtle Beach Speedway on August 2, 2020.
After starting on the pole, Meggs dropped back to second place for most of the race. She then made a daring pass with only two laps to go to claim her first place trophy and a place in victory lane.
When I ask Meggs to describe how that moment felt, she says, “It felt like everything we had worked for all year had finally paid off!”
It turns out that for Meggs the race was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, at least in this location — shortly thereafter the Myrtle Beach Speedway closed permanently. “I am proud to say that I am part of the history of a track with so much history behind it,” she says.
Growing up in Riegelwood with her parents, Chris and Gina Meggs, Meggs was always around racing as her father and grandfather, Bobby Meggs, raced go karts. Meggs had other hobbies before she even thought of racing. She was destined to become an outdoorswoman. The family always had horses, and she began riding horseback when she was 4. Then she got hooked on fishing as her father took her with him on their fishing boat. At 6 years old, she discovered something she really loved — hunting.
“I remember the thrill of going out with my dad and grandpa, hunting either for deer or for ducks,” she says. “Now every year I can’t wait until each season comes in.”
Meggs also played school softball with her twin sister, Laney, right up until this year. As the years passed, she spent more and more time watching races at the local dirt tracks. It got to be a weekly thing. After seeing her younger brother, Alex, race and have some success, Meggs decided it was time for her to start a new hobby. She joined the same racing series as Alex, driving the Bandolero cars, designed as entry-level cars for drivers as young as 8 years old.
“I picked #22 because that was my dad’s racing number,” she says.
Her crew chief, Kendall Sellers of AK Performance Racing of Kannapolis, describes her start in racing: “I’ll never forget the competitive side she possessed from day one driving the Bandolero, although some of it may have been led on by a sibling rivalry against her younger brother, Alex.”
As Meggs progressed through the Bandolero ranks, Sellers decided it was time for her to move up to the next level.
“She made the move to full-bodied, late-model stock cars over this past winter,” Sellers says. “She had never driven one of those cars before — or even a car with a manual transmission!”
It was then Meggs began competing at the Myrtle Beach Speedway, a place that Sellers and his team were very familiar with. She began to show her true talent, as she fiercely competed against veteran drivers.
“She was never afraid of any obstacle that faced her in this male-dominated sport,” Meggs says. “She stepped up to the challenge of racing people with more experience.”
On August 2, it all came together. Pole position. Good tires. Good start. Crew, family and friends watched as the race unfolded and Meggs stayed at the front of the pack.
“Once Whitney’s car is on the track my eyes never leave it,” Gina, says. “I try to mentally help it around the track!”
When Meggs crossed the finish line first, the tears of joy were evident everywhere in the pit. But there was no one prouder of her than her parents. Even the other drivers and pit crew members were quick to give their congratulations for her accomplishment. Everyone had smiles on their faces for the ride home that evening!
Meggs finished second overall in points for the 2020 season.
“I have a very knowledgeable and experienced pit crew and have to give them so much credit for my success,” she says.
As she drives around the county nowadays in her Ford F150, listening to her favorite country artist Morgan Wallen, Meggs dreams of the future and what might be: “Racing!” But just in case that doesn’t work out, she already has a backup plan. When she graduates from high school in 2022 she will have already earned her Certified Nursing Assistant degree through Brunswick Community College. Nothing like a 16-year-old who already has a career planned and a backup career to boot!
Maybe one day we will be watching her racing on Sundays. We can all dream with her. Bravo, Whitney Meggs, and best of luck!