DRO: WHY DOES THE CLASS HAVE MORE PARITY NOW? AND HOW DO YOU THINK YOU'VE CONTRIBUTED?
AS: Now just about any of us can win. It's because of research and development. And the riders have changed. Before I came along, nobody cared how little the drivers are. Now it's like a big deal to have a jockey-sized racer. So I think that we've helped the category. We helped them to realize what they needed to do to win. I don't think I've hurt in any way. Now it's changed to where they see the big picture.
Q: DO YOU FEEL ANY RESENTMENT THAT YOU'RE THE ONE IN THE SPOTLIGHT NOW?
A: Yes, I get all the attention, I get all the cameras, I get all the fans standing at my ropes, and sometimes it might look like were hogging all the attention. Sometimes I wish I could be the guy sitting in the staging lanes nobody cares about, nobody looks at, nobody knows. When I'm trying to mentally prepare for my race and people are screaming my name, wanting me to look and wave to the camera, you don't think it'd be a bother. But it is, when I'm starting to get in a zone and practice in my head and they won't shut up. I have to be really careful not to ask for them to go away, because if my fans go away, I go away. Sometimes I wish I could take 'em all and sit 'em down and say, "Let me tell y'all what it's like to be me," because they think it's just so great.
DRO: DO YOU STILL HAVE TO FACE THE PERCEPTION THAT YOU'RE DOING THIS JUST TO BE THE FIRST AT SOMETHING?
AS: Yeah, and that has always aggravated me. I do not care about being the first woman anything. I swear from the bottom of my heart I couldn't care less about being the first woman (Pro Stock Motorcycle) champion, the first woman winner. I want to be The Champion. I want to be The Winner. I want to be the Person who won the most races. That's why (the hoopla surrounding) winning more races than Shirley doesn't make any sense to me. Am I going to get a prize for that? No. I want to win more races than Bob Glidden and John Force. It's probably never going to happen, but if I could snap my fingers and have a child, yes, I would stay here until I won 10 championships. That's the only thing that's going to stop me from racing is when I can't stand not being a mother anymore.
DRO: WHEN YOU'RE DOING WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO DO IT, IS IT ANNOYING THAT PEOPLE THINK YOUR PURPOSE IS TO CARRY A BANNER FOR WOMEN?
AS: It doesn't bother me. It makes me proud, because I've helped a lot of women do some things they wouldn't have done if they didn't know me. One guy came up to me -- this is the best compliment I've ever gotten, or the best story I've ever heard -- and told me his daughter was 16 years old. She was going to graduate valedictorian of her school and she got pregnant. Teachers, her friends, people were telling her she'd be better off just dropping out of school and taking a night course. She was considering quitting school, and her goal in life was to graduate valedictorian. He said one night he was watching the races and she heard them talking about me. And she stood there and watched and she asked about me: "Who is that?" He told her my whole story and what I had done and how I was trying to be a champion. And she said, "Wow. If she can do all that, I can go back to school." She went back to school, she graduated valedictorian and she was in college, on the Dean's List, doing great. This was a major, life-changing situation that I had something to do with. I'm not doing this to prove anything to anybody. I'm not doing this to be a role model. I'm glad that I can be and I want to help people, but that's not why I'm here. If I motivate you, good. If I don't, it's not my problem. My passion, my love, is racing motorcycles. It's all I've ever wanted to do with my life. I write down goals and I reach them and I get a new one. Right now I'm starting my own Suzuki dealership.