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Teen dreams of becoming Top Fuel racer

It’s safe to say that racing is no longer a guy’s game, and 17-year-old Megan Daymude is certainly proving that theory to be true — at speeds up to 160 miles per hour.

Daymude, who began racing in the spring, said she grew up watching her father Greg Daymude race at shows.

“Because of that, I’ve wanted a race car since I was little,” said the smiling blonde teenager, a senior at Musselman High School. “It was inspirational to watch him.”

Greg and his father are both racers, so it comes as little surprise that the love of all things racing has trickled down through three generations.

“She’s always worked with me and the crew, so I knew it was something she might want to do someday, and I knew we would support that,” Greg Daymude said.

Upon turning 16 in August 2009, Megan was eligible to begin racing. Not only had she turned the eligible age to begin driving, but she also received a race car — a sleek, slender hard tail dragster — on her 16th birthday.

“It’s an S&W 253-inch wheelbase tail dragster, with a 496-cubic-inch motor and 794 horsepower,” she said. “Over the winter, I helped my dad and granddad rebuild the motor.”

She began to make her dream into a tangible reality in April, when in just a two-week span, she earned her National Hot Rod Association license.

From there, she was able to take off.

“She was able to make her first run at the end of April,” her mother Rhonda said.

Megan Daymude’s racing takes place along the Mason Dixon Dragway, a quarter-mile NHRA dragstrip in the heart of central Maryland near Hagerstown.

Still in the early stages of her racing, Megan Daymude said she focuses much of her time and energy into continuing to learn about the mechanics of the automobile that she hopes will always transport her across the finish line more quickly than her competition.

“She’s been working very hard to learn the technical stuff about the cars and she’s learned just a tremendous amount,” Greg Daymude said. “It’s important that when she takes the car out on the strip. She’ll always tell me when something doesn’t feel right or sound right.”

The father-daughter duo are joined in their efforts working on the dragster car by her grandfathers Raymond Daymude and Bill Brandenburg.

“They are so proud of her,” her mother said. “She really is a minority in this game, but I think she feels that that’s more of an incentive to kick butt and do her best.”

Her mother also admits that while her daughter is indeed the new girl on the track, the guys she races alongside have cordially accepted her into the extreme sport.

“They’ve all really embraced her as one of them,” she said. “Most of them were junior dragsters and have had a lot of prior experience racing, but she wasn’t. Megan’s not only one of them now, but she’s also become fierce competition to them. ”

Megan Daymude laughed when asked what her classmates, and her boyfriend, think about her love of racing.

“A lot of them didn’t actually believe me at first when I told them what I do, especially my boyfriend,” she said. “He had to come out and watch me at one of my races to really be convinced.”

Racing goes above and beyond “just a hobby” for the teen, as she says she plans to attend Frank Hawley Drag Racing School in Pennsylvania after graduation to perfect her racing in the hopes that it will become a career.

“I’d like to become a Top Fuel pro driver,” she said.

Top Fuel dragsters are the fastest category of drag racers, with the fastest drivers reaching heart-racing speeds of up to 333 miles per hour.

“I guess you could say I’m a speed junky, but my mom always tells me just to keep everything on the road,” she said jokingly.

In the brief period of time Megan Daymude has taken up racing, she has placed second in two local competitions, and recently was handed her first check recognizing her for her high rank.

It’s clear that she has the unyielding support of her parents, as well as that of her younger sister, Shelby.

They promise to stay behind her all the way – that is, if they can keep up.

“We feel she has such an amazing future ahead of her,” her father said. “She’s running with the big boys now.”





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