Original story HERE.
BY GODWIN KELLY, MOTORSPORTS EDITOR
DAYTONA BEACH — Elena Myers made racing history Saturday when she became the first professional woman racer to win a major event at Daytona International Speedway.
Myers won the closely contested AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport race, which was staged prior to the 71st Daytona 200, won by Joey Pascarella.
“I was crying the whole cool-down lap,” she said. “I was crying and that was ridiculous. I’m such a girl. I can get away with it.”
The 18-year-old Myers stayed in the lead group, forging to the top of the chart on Lap 6 of the 10-lap sprint over Daytona’s 3.51-mile Long Course.
James Rispoli tugged the lead back on Lap 7.
On the final, white-flag lap, Myers found herself with the lead as she exited the chicane — a quick left turn that separates the 3,200-foot back straightaway from the Turn 3 banking.
She waited a few seconds for another rider to blow by her for the lead, but there were no takers. She charged through the gear box to reach maximum speed in the East Banking and charged to the finish line.
“Nobody got around me so I went to my next two gears and ended up pulling it off,” Myers said. “It was crazy that nobody got around me. I wasn’t expecting to win after leading down the front stretch.”
Myers’ mentor and bike owner John Ulrich said Rispoli had a problem with his bike, leaving Corey Alexander and Hayden Gillim fighting side-by-side for second place.
Alexander finished second, just a scant .240 seconds behind Myers.
Ulrich said a rider leading out of the chicane is generally a sitting duck for others to draft around for the victory.
“She led them out of the chicane, which is normally a recipe for disaster,” Ulrich said. “When nobody challenged her, she put her head down and made a run for it.
“She did a really good job. She did a great job of staying with the lead group and holding her ground.”
It was Myers’ second career SuperSport Series victory and had officials from the AMA and Speedway scrambling through the record books.
They determined Myers had just become the first female competitor to win a major professional racing event of any kind at Daytona, which opened in 1959.
Myers cried in her helmet because she had just won a major race. She didn’t think about the gender aspect of the victory until she was interviewed by the media.
“I didn’t think about the female part of it until I got to the media center and somebody asked me about it,” she said. “I was more excited to get another win, not just Daytona, but to get a win. If you can win at Daytona, that’s great.”
And, maybe most important, she earned a bit more respect from her male counterparts, who are known to throw elbows during these close-quarter events.
“I am just as capable of running up front and I hope they know that,” she said. “I’m sure they do but I don’t think they are ready to admit that yet.
“They throw elbows at me, but I was throwing elbows at them. I’m not scared to be aggressive. If they do it to me, I have the right to do it back.”
Myers hopes to make a championship run then return to compete in the 2013 Daytona 200. Ulrich says Myers only needs to build endurance to compete in the grueling, 57-lap race.
“I knew she was going to win again,” Ulrich said. “I didn’t know it was going to be at Daytona.”
Myers realizes she created history Saturday, but for her, it was a rider winning a race, that just happened to be at the “World Center of Racing.”
“Right now I see myself as another rider,” she said. “I guess I did something no other girl has done, so it’s a little different to people. Not in my eyes.”