DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 23, 2012) – History was made at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, with 18-year-old Elena Myers taking AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Race 2 to become the first woman to win a major professional motorsports event at the famed speedway. Her victory on Saturday came after an all-out battle from flag-to-flag, and the racing action in Friday’s Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Race 1 was no different. James Rispoli took the checkers in that contest and left the weekend leading Myers in the West Division point standings, 50-45. The unpredictable and exciting series once again saw young riders displaying their skills throughout the three-day DAYTONA® 200 Week event, with a variety of fast up-and-coming talent vying to earn victory at the “World Center of Racing.”
Defending Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport National Champion Rispoli (No. 1 Orient Express Celtic Racing Suzuki GSX-R600) fought through a big pack in Friday’s 10-lap Race 1 to start the season off with a bang, holding the lead from the chicane to the flag on the last lap. Rispoli’s bid to win another title was aided by having a fast machine at his disposal and the New Yorker put it to optimum usage in race one.
“The weekend went so smooth,” said Rispoli. “Going from the test at Jennings to Daytona, I didn’t really make very many changes, so overall, everything seemed pretty related. The bike was super-fast; we had a really good horse underneath us. I was pretty much playing with the draft the whole race, I didn’t want to lead out of the chicane but when it came down to it, nobody came by and on the West banking I had to just go for it and pull something out of my hat. Also the lapper, I think if we didn’t have the lapper it would have been a lot harder to win. The lapper came in, which was tremendous. I got a really good draft off of him, went low onto the yellow line and just tucked in to make it happen.”
Rispoli was joined on the podium by Jake Lewis (No. 85 Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600) and Stefano Mesa (No. 37 Kneedraggers.com Yamaha YZF-R6). Tomas Puerta (No. 12 RoadRace Factory Yamaha YZF-R6), Corey Alexander (No. 5 National Guard Fairhills Group Suzuki GSX-R600), Elena Myers (No. 21 SuzukiScoopFans SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki GSX-R600) and Dustin Dominguez (No. 68 Castrol Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675) all finished within one second of Rispoli. Hayden Gillim (No. 69 RoadRace Factory Yamaha YZF-R6) and Eric Stump (No. 77 Markbilt Race Bikes Yamaha YZF-R6) rounded out the top ten.
Myers is no stranger to setting records and making history. Her breakout Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport win at Infineon Raceway in 2010 made her the youngest woman in AMA Pro history to win a professional sprint race. This weekend’s race victory, which came under green flag conditions, is her second in the class and is one that she will revel in.
“These guys were super-fast all weekend and they ran a great race. I was just trying to stay with them,” Myers said. “[Friday] I got the short end of the draft so I was happy today that there were only four of us up in the lead pack instead of eight.
“It was good just to have a few of us up there, just going back and forth. It was a phenomenal race. I stayed up there and led a little bit, then stayed behind just to see how much I could be behind and still catch up. Everyone’s bikes were really fast, but mine was too.
“I just can’t thank my team enough for giving me such a great bike this weekend. They put just the greatest machine under me. I’m so happy to get a win for them. It’s a great feeling and nothing compares to it. That’s why come here and do what we do — to stand on the top of the box.”
Myers outlasted Alexander and Gillim to take the win. On the last lap, the young gun duo tried unsuccessfully to overtake Myers, but a strong drive onto the West banking gave the young Californian a 0.24-second lead at the stripe.
Rispoli finished Race 2 in fourth, followed in a tight pack by Miles Thornton (No. 72 Markbilt Racebikes Yamaha YZF-R6) Puerta, Mesa, Ryan Kerr (No. 28 RFC Kawasaki KX-6R) and Sebastiao Ferriera (No. 73 Life In Christ Race Team Yamaha YZF-R6). Zach Herrin, brother of Josh Herrin, rounded out the top 10 on his No. 17 Graves-backed Yamaha YZF-R6.
Herrin’s 67 total laps around Daytona International Speedway’s 3.51-mile traditional long course amount to 235.17 miles completed during the event, giving him the early advantage in the Sunoco “Go the Distance” award. As part of the Sunoco “Go the Distance” program, a $2,500 year-end award will be given to the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport rider that completes the furthest total distance in 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing race-weekend events.
On the strength of his second-place finish in Race 2 and the bonus point he claimed for earning pole position, Alexander leads the Motorcycle-Superstore.com East Division point standings over Mesa, 42-35.
In a month, AMA Pro Road Racing will return to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia for Round 2 of the 2012 championship and the first of the season’s three Triumph Big Kahuna events, the Big Kahuna Atlanta. The event, scheduled for April 20-22, 2012, is the first return to Road Atlanta for the Series since the 2010 season and marks the return of M1 PowerSports to full-time event promotion at the site of the original Big Kahuna.