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Sixteen Year Old Girl Takes On Lucas Oil Regional Mini Stock Class

Posted in Features on June 17, 2015
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For many teenagers, turning 16 means getting a drivers license and taking that next step towards independence. For Maggie Dague, being 16 means racing in the mini-stock class at the Lucas Oil Regional series. Maggie’s dad Dana may have bought her the truck but that was only the initial investment for her race program. Maggie had a long road ahead of her if she wanted to get “Carla” as the truck is nicknamed race-ready.

Maggie adjusts quickly to the big air jumps of Lake Elsinore

The Build
Carla is a 1992 a Nissan hardbody. The truck was unofficially called hardbody by Nissan aficionados because of its double-wall bed and overall styling. $1,000 cash (from Dana) got Carla into the family’s shop for the build process. The truck was a true junkyard piece! Maggie started by stripping everything off of the truck and tearing it all the way down to the frame. The next step was to build a cage which was accomplished in a single weekend. Dana showed Maggie what to do and she did most of the hands on work on the truck. Maggie’s weekends were spent building the truck into a race ready machine. She also would come down to the shop after school and work. Maggie says “the build took 5 months.” The truck received a thick coat of the signature orange paint found on Dague racing vehicles. During the build there was a small set-back. Someone broke into a support van parked at the shop and stole parts that were to go on “Carla”. Despite the set-back, Maggie was able to get the parts replaced and get the Carla build back on track. At the end of the build Maggie was able to take the truck out testing, allowing her to gain valuable seat time.

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Family Effort
Maggie has always watched her dad race. Dana Dague raced a class 300 truck in the SNORE series as well as a few stateside SCORE races. That truck was nicknamed “Carlos”. Dana has even given Maggie a shot behind the wheel of the truck at a few of the events. Maggie says she has always wanted to get into short-course racing. Building Carla was the perfect project to launch that dream. If Maggie wants to race, her homework has to be completed first. Her parents also keep an eye on her grades in school. Maggie’s 13-year old brother, Chase Dague serves as crew chief. Chase was instrumental in helping with the build in the shop. On race weekends, Chase is responsible for getting Maggie to the starting line which includes helping to get her helmet on and Maggie properly strapped in the truck as well as securing the window net. Maggie and Chase also spend time cleaning the truck before it goes out on the track. Maggie wants it to look good. Everything is checked and double checked. Maggie wants to avoid any mechanical problems that could take her out of the race.

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Learning Curve
Maggie’s first weekend in the truck at the opening round of the Lucas Oil Regional Series at Glen Helen Raceway, she was able to get 2 practice sessions in. Practice session 1 was cut short after issues with the fuel pump. During practice session 2, the fan cut a hole in the radiator. A fix at the track would get Maggie on the starting line for race day. Maggie says she was nervous lining up against the competition. “All these guys have done it before,” Maggie says about the other racers. “I was the youngest [out there].” There are 8 other competitors in her class. Maggie went out and finished on the lead lap. She says “I was super proud about that.” Maggie says now that she has been on the track a few times, her confidence level is going up. Maggie admits she needs more seat time in the class. The second weekend of racing took Maggie to Lake Elsinore where she had never been on the track. A few laps and Maggie was comfortable with Lake Elsinore’s signature turns and big air jumps. She dreams big and sees herself winning a class championship. When asked what veteran driver would be her coach for the day, Maggie says she would like to learn from Rob MacCachren. Maggie also says one day she would like to race at the famed Crandon International Raceway. Big dreams when you are just 16 years old and starting your short-course career. It also won’t be long until 13 year old Chase is racing short-course too. Racing is in the family blood!

Maggie finishes every lap of the race.
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