NASCAR’s First Arab American Female Driver Just Made Her Debut
Toni Breidinger has become the first Arab American female driver to take part in a NASCAR national series.
21-year-old Breidinger made her debut yesterday, February 13, at Daytona International Speedway.
It was announced in a press release earlier this month that she would be taking part in what Breidinger described as ‘the biggest race of [her] career’.
Sharing a series of photos of herself on Instagram at Daytona yesterday, Breidinger wrote, ‘Daytona Debut. My team and I set 2 goals to finish the race and stay out of trouble. Excited for the rest of the of the season.’
The driver says she first sat behind the wheel of a go-kart at the age of nine and knew straight away that she wanted to be a race car driver.
Speaking to CNN about yesterday’s race, Breidinger said, ‘I’m honoured and excited to be the first, but I don’t want to be the last. I hope I can pave the way for future female Arab drivers as well.’
The 21-year-old is already a 19-time United States Auto Club winner – a record for any female driver – and debuted in the Top 10 at Madison International speedway in ARCA Menards in 2018, reported CNN. She has hopes to one day reach the top racing series: the NASCAR Cup.
Breidinger said, ‘Daytona has always been on my bucket list to race at. Every driver’s dream is to race there one day. It’s such a historic track. It’s a step in the right direction to hopefully race in the Daytona 500 one day.’
As soon as I got into a go-kart, I really just knew. I’ve always had so much passion for it. I love the competition, the adrenaline rush. I’m hooked on it.
When the helmet comes on and I’m racing, it’s not about being a female driver anymore. I’m just like anyone else trying to get to the finish line.’
Brandon Thompson, NASCAR vice president of diversity and inclusion, told CNN that the organisation is trying to make the sport more diverse.
We’re working diligently to strengthen diversity across the sport and the diverse makeup of our drivers represents an important part of that mission.
We want women and people of colour to see themselves represented in our competitors because it’s those connection points that will help NASCAR grow and become more diverse.
Here’s hoping Breidinger is the first of many female Arab American drivers to come.
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