NORTH CAROLINA — Toni Breidinger, 21, a rising star in the car racing world, is set to become the first Arab American female driver to compete in a NASCAR national series.
Breidinger, who is also a successful model, hails from the Bay Area in California. Her mother was born in Beirut and Breidinger currently has family in Lebanon.
Young’s Motorsports, based in Mooresville, announced last weekend that Breidinger had joined the organization to compete in a limited ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), beginning with the 2021 ARCA season-opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13.
The organization calls the development “a major step forward in the direction of progress as well as an inspiration for young women around the globe.”
The auto-enthusiast publication Jalopnik has called the young Breidinger, “something of a badass.” She holds the record as a 19-time female United States Auto Club winner, and recently finished fourth in the Carolina Pro Late Model Series in 2020 with DLP Motorsports.
Breidinger said she was thankful and excited for the opportunity to compete on a division in the country’s most prominent racing arena. She told The Arab American News this week that she became interested in the sport at a young age.
“When I was 9, my dad took my sister and I to a go-kart track at Sonoma Raceway, just for fun,” she said. “He never thought anything would come out of it. I did it a few times and just loved it.”
Breidinger’s father is a longtime racing enthusiast and a mechanical engineer. He bought Breidinger her own go-kart knowing she was infatuated with them. She would soon travel the country for go-kart races.
“I knew early on that I wanted to become a race car driver,” Breidinger said.
She won a few scholarships as a teenager to try some race cars out, trying out a few of the many forms of motorsports out there. Her dad was her mechanic/crew chief up until she got into stock racing. Both parents are very supportive of Breidinger’s career choice.
Daytona is going to be the biggest race of my career, but I’m ready for it — Toni Breidinger
This will be Breidinger’s first ARCA Menards Series start since 2018, when she competed in three races, earning a career-best 10th place finish in her series’ debut at Madison (WI) International Speedway.
“Daytona is going to be the biggest race of my career, but I’m ready for it,” Breidinger said in a press release. “It’s going to be a competitive race, but I know that the Young’s Motorsports team will prepare me a fast race car and we can contend for a top-10 finish. That is our goal, a top-10 finish.”
Breidinger is also somewhat of social media star, no doubt being recognized as a female up-and-comer in a very male-dominated racing world.
She has over 1 million social media followers across several platforms and in her modeling career, which ties into her racing career, has partnered up with several brands including Head and Shoulders, Sunny D, Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS, Tory Burch, Sparco and Bell Helmets.
“We are thrilled to add Toni Breidinger to our Young’s Motorsports portfolio in 2021,” said Young’s Motorsports team principal Tyler Young. “She is not only motivated, but determined to make her season a successful one. We know that she can go to Daytona next week and be competitive and contend to become the first ARCA Menards Series national series female winner.”
Breidinger will be driving the No. 82 Chevrolet Silverado NASCAR Camping World Truck Series truck and the No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet ARCA car.