Daytona 200 Welcomes Women to It’s History
Elena Myers finished ninth riding a Triumph, the best finish by a woman rider in the Daytona 200 history, and Melissa Paris finished tenth aboard a Honda for MPH Racing. Melissa had previously owned the best finish of a woman rider in the Daytona 200 with an 18th-place finish in 2011- what a huge jump in just two seasons!
“It was a crazy long race,” said Elena, who became the first woman to win a professional motorsports event at Daytona International Speedway last year. Melissa Paris enjoyed battling Myers for the same position on the track. “She’s such a great competitor,” Paris said of Myers. “I like that she can race hard without racing dirty. She’s so talented. To ride around with her was great.”
Earlier Elena Myers wanted to know where Danica Patrick finished at the famed Daytona 500 just weeks earlier. Danica finished eighth. Danica Patrick struck a huge achievement for women in motorsports when she won the pole for the Daytona 500 in February and followed through with her top-10 run. Saturday’s Daytona 200 SportBike race was not nearly the same grand stage as the 500, but Myers continues to make the mark for women in motorsports- and took the ninth place overall, truly a phenomenal performance.
This was Myers’ second consecutive history making race in Daytona. In 2012, she became the first woman to win a professional motorsports race at Daytona International Speedway when she took the SuperSport final by a fraction of a second over Corey Alexander.
“I don’t really think about the history aspect of things,” Myers said. “I’m happy with ninth. I’d be stoked to get ninth at the rest of the tracks this year.”
Paris might have lost the distinction of being the highest finishing woman in the race’s history, but she battled Myers and, had it not been for a late penalty for having too many crew members over the wall, likely would have finished in front of her.
Instead, she finished 10th, marking the first time two women have finished in the top 10 in the race.
“It is disappointing, on the one hand, more than anything just to lose a position to Elena,” Paris said. “She is a great competitor, and I was proud to be in front of her. Me and my crew had done the work to get in that position so to lose it over something silly was frustrating.”
Both women backed away from the gender specific accomplishments a bit, instead, insisting they were just happy to compete with the field. But the fact that they made a little history- was not lost on them.