Lady Eagle winner Taylor Florio had good Smiley’s Racing Products Southern SportMod company at the IMCA national awards banquet, joining national champion James Hanusch and national rookie of the year Larry Underwood at the Nov. 30 gala. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography) “I’ll race again next year but how much depends on school,” Florio said. “I’ll definitely be at Waco on Fridays and probably Cotton Bowl on Saturdays.” COPPERAS COVE, Texas – Taylor Florio grew up watching Robin Batt and dreaming of the day when she, too, would win the IMCA Lady Eagle award. Those dreams became reality as the Smiley’s Racing Products Southern SportMod driver from Copperas Cove, Texas, raced to the top point total of the 227 female drivers competing in IMCA this season. She’ll display her Lady Eagle award on the TV stand, right next to the trophy she received in 2015 after becoming the first female driver to win national rookie of the year honors, also in a Southern SportMod. “I grew up watching Robin race and wanted to be like her. I thought it was the coolest thing ever when she won the Lady Eagle (in 2010) and I wanted to do it, too,” said Florio, who also repeated as the E3 Spark Plugs Texas State champion. “I knew at the beginning of the season we wanted to do it. We set out to achieve our goal and midway through started thinking maybe this was our year. And it was.” Florio’s sponsors are Mid-Tex Paint and Body, Phil’s Motorsports, Custom Transmissions and Florio Racing Chassis, all of Copperas Cove; D & D Cabinetry of Kempner; Fat Daddy’s Design of Hewitt; Mark Herring Race Engines of Plainview; Swenson Racing Components of Boerne; Rhino Racing Rear Ends of McAllen; and Superior Fuel Cells of Creswell, Ore. Crew members include her parents Chris and Traci, Dustin Mooney and Chad Kipp. She was runner-up behind national champion James Hanusch at 281 Speedway, third at Heart O’ Texas Speedway and sixth at Cotton Bowl Speedway. “We were ecstatic to win the Lady Eagle,” Florio said. “It was a great accomplishment for our entire team. We all worked very hard.” Fourth in national point standings, Florio doubled her career win total with five checkers and added another top 20 finishes in 60 starts at six different tracks. “I raced with a lot of the best of the best drivers in Texas every Friday and Saturday night,” Florio said. “That definitely makes you a better driver.” The former rodeo rider is a junior at Central Texas College in Killeen, following her grandmother and aunt into the nursing field.