FARMER CITY (WCIA) — Megan Erwin is used to winning. The Farmer City Raceway Street Stock Track Champion has collected checkered flag after checkered flag in her career, but none were as big as Bristol.

“It didn’t feel real until now,” Erwin said about her historic win at the famous track. “Just driving onto that stage was, hopefully, one of the best memories I’ll ever have.”

The Lafayette, Indiana native was one of about 45 entries in the Street Stock class at the Bristol Dirt National last month. She made history in her heat race, becoming the first woman to win in Bristol’s 61-year history after two cars in front of her were disqualified.

“It’s exciting, intimidating,” she said. “It’s a big title to hold, and I’m just glad that it’s me this time. First, second, and fourth were all illegal on their wheelbase and I was the only one. Some say it’s not a real win, but it is a real win in my book.”

“For her to do that, forget that she’s a woman, for her to do that I don’t possess the vernacular to say, ‘Hey this is what I felt like.’ But very proud,” Alsop racing owner Mike Alsop said.

While driver and car are based out of western Indiana, the Mike Alsop Racing team often tours tracks around Illinois. After bad experiences getting into the sport, she’s started to see barriers broken for women.

“I can definitely see a difference from when I started and where I’m at now,” Erwin said. “At first they didn’t like it but they’ve started to grow and I would think many of the guys out there right now don’t see me as a girl driver, just another driver on the track. And that’s awesome.”

The 26-year old has a bright future on the track that she hopes to pursue full-time at some point in the future but one of the most important parts of her career is paving the way for the next generation of women racers as well.

“This is my favorite part of the sport,” Erwin said about being a role model. “It’s probably the reason I’m still in the sport. I wanted to give up so many times. I didn’t have one of those role models in racing when I started. And I’ve always questioned why? Why are there no girls here? It’s huge to me to hear even one kid say I’m an inspiration or a role model.”

And Erwin is proving once again she belongs, with back-to-back wins to start the year at Farmer City Raceway as she looks to defend her title.