BISHOPVILLE – A Bishopville resident will kickstart his first full season as a developmental driver for Richard Petty Motorsports next month.
Beginning in March, 18-year-old Devin Dodson will compete in his first full season with Empire Racing Group, a developmental driving team for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Dodson, a Stephen Decatur High School alumnus, will be one of two developmental drivers for Empire Racing. The other is his teammate and friend Thad Moffitt, grandson of famed driver Richard Petty.
Dodson said the development team will teach him the skills needed to become a successful driver.
“They are trying to shape you to be the perfect driver in a way,” he said. “They try to not only teach you on the track, but off the track. They help you to exercise and mentally prepare for a race.”
This will be Dodson’s first full season with Empire Racing. His opening race will take place March 17, where he will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Marshall Gabell, Dodson’s public relations specialist, said Dodson is expected to compete in approximately 20 races this season.
“This is like the final step before he reaches the national level,” he said.
Dodson noted that his love for racing came at an early age.
“My father saw my interest in the sport and got me started with go-kart racing when I was 6 years old,” he said. “I raced locally, but when I got more competitive and little bit older we started traveling around.”
Prior to last year, Dodson competed in dirt track races both locally and regionally. Last season, however, marked his first year in asphalt racing, where he competed in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series with Orion Motorsports and finished second in championship standings.
Dodson said his recent transition from Orion Motorsports to Empire Racing has provided him with unique opportunities. Earlier this month, for example, he traveled with the team and Empire Racing owner Sean Corr to the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway for the opening race of the ARCA Racing Series.
“Daytona was awesome,” he said. “We got to meet some of the Cup guys and put our name out there.”
Gabell said Dodson is one of few locals to advance to his current position.
“In Delaware dirt history, and in the Eastern Shore region, really the only driver that reached this level would have been C.J. Faison,” he said. “Definitely no one from Stephen Decatur or Ocean City has come this far.”
Dodson attributes his success to hard work and the support of family and friends.
“Since I was young, I’ve pretty much dedicated myself to this sport …,” he said. “It’s all I’ve ever known.”
Gabell encouraged individuals to visit devindodsonracing.com or the “Devin Dodson Racing” Facebook page.
“We want the local fans to rally behind us,” he said.