Warning! Good news:15-year old female racer shows the boys how it’s done in Arctic Derby race

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Racing since she was just 3-years old, this young racing phenom came within an icicle of winning it all at the Arctic Derby Dash in Wisconsin!

"I'm used to being the only girl on the track."

A commanding performance in very challenging conditions, fell just shy of overall victory for Gray Leadbetter in the recent Arctic Derby Dash at Eagle River, Wisconsin. The 15-year old female driving phenom posted the fastest time in practice and finished first in her heat race.

As the “Arctic” name implies, it was supposed to be a test of driving skill on ice and snow, but unseasonably warm weather played havoc with track conditions as the temperature hit 46 degrees for the final race. The multi-turn course with its high banking and big jump, turned into a quagmire of ice, snow, slush and water.

In the final, Gray got a great start and quickly built a lead of several car lengths. It should have been an insurmountable lead, but unfortunately, a yellow flag for an incident on the track brought the rest of the field to her rear bumper. When racing resumed, she held the lead until there were just three laps remaining. In the sloppy, ever changing conditions, Gray got bogged down in a turn and a competitor was able to get by her. She pushed hard, but Gray had to settle for the second step on the podium.

It is a testament to her driving ability that this young woman from the southern state of North Carolina could travel to Wisconsin and come so very close to winning it all in the ice, snow and slush. It’s also worth noting that Gray was the only young woman competing against 21 young men. “I’m used to being the only girl on the track,” said Gray. “I didn’t even realize it until I was looking over the results at the end.”

But any young man that watched Gray from behind all weekend shouldn’t feel too bad. Gray started racing motorcycles at just 3 years of age. Now, at the tender age of 15, she has 12 years of serious racing experience. Last year, she made her professional debut in the American Rallycross Series driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing of Indycar fame. Naturally, she was the only young woman in that series, as well and was competing against drivers with Indy 500 experience. Pretty heady stuff for a young woman of just 14 years old at the time.

The Arctic Derby Dash is part of the Monster Energy King of the Elements SXS Series that is the brainchild of racer Johnny Greaves. The series runs several events throughout the Midwest, providing competitors with the unique challenge of competing on snow and ice, dirt short course, cross country and circle track with “jokers”, jumps and unexpected twists and turns.

You can expect to see Gray in her Yamaha YXZ1000 competing throughout the year. That means it could be a very long season for some of the boys.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities visit http://www.grayleadbetter.com
Photos: Harlan Foley

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Frederick T Stafford
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