A historic short track victory was recorded this past weekend in Sin City.
Competing at her home track of The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Nevada’s own Kayli Barker made history by scoring her first Super Late Model victory and becoming the first female to win in the track’s top weekly division.
Barker ended a multi-year quest for her first trophy in the Bullring’s top division when she crossed the finish line first in the second of two 35-lap races during Saturday night’s Chris Trickle night at the track.
“We had a double main that night. With the inversion in the second main, we started on the pole. I managed to stay in front for the entire race green to checkered,” Barker told Speed51.com. “It was really cool. I re-watched the race once to make sure it was real, and it was.”
It was a moment that her, her family, friends, and fans had been waiting for, which meant that there was no shortage of people wanting to get in on the celebration.
“Been four years now in the Super Late Models. It’s been unreal,” she said. “I still feel like I’m on cloud nine. It doesn’t feel real yet, but it will sink in eventually. It was crazy, all the fans stayed to watch us take the pictures in victory lane. It was crazy in tech; everyone was getting pictures with me there.”
To score her first victory, Barker had to outrun one of the Bullring’s all-time best, six-time track champion Scott Gafforini. In the end, Gafforini was plenty happy to celebrate Barker’s accomplishment.
“Scott Gafforini, who’s a six-time track champion, he came up to me and started crying,” Barker stated. “We were battling for the lead at the end of the race, and he’s known me since I was in a baby carrier. To get the win battling him was pretty cool. He’s been out there for as long as I can remember. It’s incredible.”
Barker was also able to start the Father’s Day celebration early for her dad who was on hand to enjoy it all.
“That’s cool as well. I was actually joking all week that because it was Father’s Day Sunday, that I wasn’t going to get my dad a present; I was going to get him a trophy on Saturday night.”
In another major first, Barker is now the first woman to win in the Bullring’s Super Late Model division, and she has no intention of letting it be the last.
“It’s cool to be the first, and hopefully we can keep getting more before the year is over. First one is always the hardest, right? If we have the car where it was at the end of the night on Saturday and keep working on the setup to keep up, we can get more.”
Following her win, Barker is now in the midst of a track title fight, sitting fourth in the standings behind Jimmy Parker Jr., Gafforini and Dennis Rock.
The Super Late Models of the Vegas Bullring return for a 76-lap Tuesday night special on July 3.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Jeff Speer / Las Vegas Motor Speedway