Dawson Fletcher made the jump to Pro Late Model one year ago, immediately making himself known after a strong run in the Pro Late Model portion of CRA SpeedFest. From there, he would go on to win his first Pro Late Model race and championship, taking the crown at New Smyrna Speedway.
After a successful rookie season, the Canton, GA driver has embarked on new experiences in 2019. He made his Super Late Model debut in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway back in March, as well as his first race outside the Southeast at Jukasa Motor Speedway for the Canadian Short Track Nationals. Now, Fletcher and his team turn their attention to Saturday’s Show Me the Money Series finale at Montgomery Motor Speedway for what will be his first start at the half-mile located in Alabama’s state capitol.
Fletcher joined Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring on Monday morning to talk about this weekend’s race and his season to this point. While he has never seen the race track before, he has used a wide range of resources to get ready for Saturday night.
“I’ve been talking to some people and watching videos, I’ve never been there,” Fletcher said. “It’ll be interesting, (crew chief) Brett Ragan and them have some really good notes for down there so if I can figure it out in a relatively decent time we’ll be pretty good.”
The 15-year-old has an all-star cast helping he and his team this season. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran David Ragan’s cousin Brett serves as the crew chief for the No. 71, while PFC Brakes Motorsports Sales Manager and fellow Georgia driver Chris Dilbeck has also given his aid to the teenager. He credits both industry experts for the success he has had in the Pro Late Model world.
“Chris (Dilbeck) has meant a lot to me and has helped me a lot,” he said. “Having him on the radio has been almost incredible, it’s been really cool. Brett Ragan as well, he’s good with what he does. We went to Canada with zero sets of notes and he figured it out in an hour. What both those guys can do combined is pretty incredible, I’m excited to see what this could turn into.”
Fletcher’s 2019 started off with a bang at CRA SpeedFest where he finished second in the Pro Late Model event after battling with Casey Roderick and Michael House for the majority of the race. Since then, he has learned a lot behind the wheel that he can take into this weekend’s race at Montgomery and in other events down the road.
“That was a great weekend, I wish we could have been just a little bit better but it was really cool running with those guys,” he said. “Since then, we have learned a lot and hopefully next year when we go down there we’re going to try to finish one better. That was an incredible weekend for us, it got all the guys excited.”
Normally having competed solely in the Southeast, Fletcher and his team made the trip to Jukasa Motor Speedway for the Canadian Short Track Nationals, where he garnered an eighth-place finish out of the nearly sixty cars that were at the Ontario oval. The plan for him is for more traveling to bigger events in an attempt to put his name out there with other young guns in short track racing, but says other circumstances make that a tough task.
“Last year we were a lot more local, we focused a lot on Cordele and New Smyrna,” he said. “We knew if we wanted to get on the radar and get up there and meet people and get my name out there we would have to travel a little bit more. I think it’s hard for us because Brett Ragan still works a day job and if we wreck a race car, it’s a good at least three weeks before we can go back out there. We’re really trying to be smart with where we race and when we race. I think Canada was one of those deals where it was something we all wanted to do and experience and we thought we’d try it out. It ended up working out really well.”
He heads into this weekend’s Show Me the Money Series finale with confidence after proving his team can compete at new tracks against tough competition.
“It’s really hard to tell because when we went up to Canada, we watched the video and it was nothing like it looks. It does look pretty momentum-based for the Pro at least. I don’t think it’s something personally that I like, but I’m pretty decent at. Hopefully if it does work like it does on video, I think we’ll be pretty good.”
Race fans unable to make the trip Montgomery, Alabama this weekend will be able to watch Fletcher make his Show Me the Money Series debut via a live broadcast on the Speed51 Network. The live broadcast will be available to monthly and yearly subscribers on Speed51. To sign up for your subscription today, click here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51photos.com/Melissa Strahley