When I began researching for my article on up-and-coming Drive for Diversity driver Megan Reitenour, I asked for the chance to interview the rising star. To my surprise, she responded almost immediately and jumped at the chance through e-mail.
Not only will fans get the chance to learn more about her career, the 17-year-old Ohio native also talks about Project Podium, staying close to those she cares about most, and even her favorite NASCAR driver.
1. First off, thanks for agreeing to the interview! How is your season in Late Models going thus far?
Your welcome thanks for your interest. I really do appreciate it. :) I’ve only had one race in Late Models and had a 10th place finish. Anyone that really knows me knows how competitive I am. Our first race wasn’t really as good as I hoped for but it was only the second time I had been in the car.
I’m used to racing a heavier car with more horse power and racing a late model was more of a transition than I initially anticipated. I hope to get some more practice in before our next race and I’m determined to do better each time we race.
I have a great team that is willing to work with me and really wants to do as well as I do and that makes a difference.
2. Your website says you're a third generation driver, can you tell us more about that?
Yes I am a third generation driver. My father, Bill Reitenour was a Quarter Midget driver and actually raced in the series I started out racing initially.
My grandfather, George Reitenour raced hobby stocks earlier in his career and then followed his dream by racing in the Great Race. This was with a classic car in a rally race that took him across the county until his health would no longer permit him to do so.
3. Besides having racing in your blood, what made you want to try this? You've obviously had a lot of success!
You know I was only five when I started racing so I would say at first I wanted to try it because of the love that my Dad had for the sport but it didn’t take long for it to become the love that I have for the sport. I just can't get enough of it.
There is nothing like going wheel to wheel with a competitor at 140 mph. The adrenalin, excitement, challenge and strategy that plays into the mix is indescribable and to be that first car across the finish line is amazing! I also like the uniqueness of the sport. Not everyone can get into a car and race.
4. What was it like being a part of Project Podium? What's the most valuable thing you learned from them?
I was honored to part of the first groups chosen for the Project Podium. I’m really thankful to Project Podium and Lyn St. James and the other organizations that help females in the sport.
I don’t think it would have been possible for me to make it through the season last year with out the help that I received from Project Podium.
I would say the most valuable thing I’ve learned from them is that hard work does pay off and to never give up or you dreams. That if you keep your focus, faith in what you believe in and determination that anything is possible.
5. Can you tell us more about the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program? What was that like?
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program is a wonderful opportunity for females and minorities like myself to be given a chance. A chance that we may have never been given with out their help. I don’t know that my career could have continued much longer with out the help of this program.
My parents had done all that they could to support me and I’ve been given a chance. The Diversity Program really works in the best interest of their drivers and they do everything in their power to help us succeed.
It was an honor to have been chosen to try out much less secure a position. They made the announcement/event so special. It is something I will remember forever!
6. This past February, you got to visit Daytona International Speedway with your dad; how cool was that experience?
Well let me say that is another experience I will always remember and to share that experience with my Dad was even more of a bonus. It was awesome and was also possible because of the Diversity Program.
If attending the race wasn’t exciting enough, my marketing team from MPM Marketing arranged for me to meet and talk with my all time favorite NASCAR driver, Tony Stewart. The only thing that could have made my experience better was to have been in the race myself! Lol!
7. In the "Megan's Minutes" section of your website, you highlight sponsors and you also seem to stay close with your community by visiting people like Mr. Council, who you say has been a big supporter in your racing career. Is staying close to the people who have really helped you over the years important to you?
Yes staying close to the people who have really helped me is extremely important to me, probably the most important to be honest. I don’t ever want to forget the people who have helped me or where I have come from.
I couldn’t be where I am today with out the support I’ve been given from many people and my parents. That is why I like to be involved with helping people and organizations and give back whenever possible.
8. Are there any plans for you to run ARCA anytime soon? When can we see Megan Reitenour in one of NASCAR's top three series, and is that a goal of yours?
I would love to race in ARCA. We are weighing all possibilities. I feel any possibility is a opportunity most of which centers on sponsorship. I do want to get as much as experience as I can in any series to be competitive when it’s my opportunity to race in one of NASCAR’s top three series and ARCA would be a perfect place to do so.
I do look at the opportunity I’ve been given with the Diversity Program and hope that it is only a stepping stone in advancing my career into the various levels of NASCAR which is my ultimate goal.
Again, thank you so much Megan and if you'd like to add anything else feel free to do so, and good luck this year!!
You are welcome and thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to interview me and the good questions that you asked. I hope I understood and answered the questions they way that you were asking them. If not please let me know and thanks for all your support. Megan :)
Again, I'd like to thank Megan for her absolute enthusiasm and taking the time to talk to me. Please visit www.meganreitenour.com for more information.