Alexis Leras helped introduce NASCAR to the White House and New York City, and later introduced a shy Georgia hot-rodder to the world, while also literally opening doors for women to enter American motorsports.

Leras, a New York native who grew up and worked in Daytona Beach, died earlier this week at age 80 in Reading, Massachusetts. She‘d battled cancer for a year, family said.

NASCAR released the following statement Friday: “Alexis Leras was a true pioneer in the NASCAR industry. Her work and advocacy while at NASCAR helped blaze an important trail for women in our sport. We are saddened by her passing and will miss Alexis dearly.

Leras was a reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal before joining NASCAR in the mid-‘70s as secretary to the sport‘s second-generation leader, Bill France Jr. Within a few years, France named her director of public relations.

Daytona Beach News-Journal

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