Twenty-one-year-old Toni Breidinger made history on Monday as she became the first Arab-American female driver to take part in a NASCAR national series, at Daytona International Speedway, US-based media CBS reported.
Breidinger, who is of Lebanese descent, told CBS, that it was “exciting” to be a trailblazer.
In an interview with international news media CNN, she said, “I’m honored 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”.
“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,” she added.
She made it to the 18th place in the 2021 ARCA Menards Series season-opener in Daytona, Florida.
Dayton 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 pic.twitter.com/YEdpqYWaGN— Toni Breidinger (@ToniBreidinger) February 14, 2021
“I went to that race last year just to go watch and I told myself, ‘I want to be racing here next year. So, that was a really big goal for me,” she said to CBS.
Breidinger is a 19-time United States Auto Club winner, a first-of-its-kind record for a female driver. She also made it to the Top 10 at Madison International speedway in ARCA Menards back in 2018, CNN reported.
At the age of nine, she sat behind the wheel of a go-kart and immediately knew that she wanted to become a racecar driver one day, she said in an interview with New York-based lifestyle media Paper Magazine.
“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,” she told CNN.