Toni Breidinger will be making a bit of history in 2021. On Thursday, Young’s Motorsports announced she will race in the ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on part-time schedules, the latter of which will make her the first female Arabic-American driver to compete in a NASCAR national series. She will drive the #02 Chevrolet in ARCA and the #82 Chevrolet Silverado in the Trucks.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity to continue the next steps of my racing career with Young’s Motorsports,” said Breidinger. “It’s going to be a busy year of competition in ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but I feel like the program that we have assembled at Young’s Motorsports will be influential in completing our goals and setting the path for the future.”
Breidinger primarily competed in United States Auto Club (USAC) short track racing, and her nineteen wins make her the winningest female driver in the sanctioning body. She also won the 2016 USAC Western Midget Pavement championship and has competed in the USAC Silver Crown.
The California native eventually moved into bigger-bodied vehicles like late models and standard stock cars. In 2018, she ran three races in ARCA for Venturini Motorsports with a best finish of tenth in her début at Madison. Ahead of its inaugural season in 2019, she entered the selection process for the open-wheel, female-only W Series but was subsequently eliminated; Breidinger was one of three applicants with NASCAR/ARCA experience (current Truck driver Natalie Decker and former ARCA West’s Cassie Gannis).
In 2019, she joined GMS Racing‘s late model stable and the Chevrolet-run Drivers Edge Development programme. Her 2020 season saw her race in the Carolina Pro Late Model Series with DLP Motorsports and finish fourth in points.
In mid-January, Breidinger participated in ARCA’s annual preseason test at Daytona, sharing Young’s #02 with the team’s new full-time Truck driver Kris Wright. Testing the car in the Saturday session, she was fifty-second fastest overall among fifty-six drivers.
A specific schedule in either series was not immediately revealed, but Breidinger’s first race for Young’s will come in the ARCA season opener at Daytona. When she drives the #82 truck, the team will field four trucks for the first time in their history as she teams up with full-timers Wright, Spencer Boyd, and Tate Fogleman.
“Daytona is going to be the biggest race of my career, but I’m ready for it,” Breidinger added. “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.”
With Breidinger being the first Arabic-American female NASCAR driver, such a demographic is rare in the sport in general. Perhaps the most notable name is longtime road ringer and two-time NASCAR race winner Boris Said, who is of Syrian descent (though, as he remarked in 2005, “I say ‘I’m just American.’ I’m just a regular guy.”).
“We are thrilled to add Toni Breidinger to our Young’s Motorsports portfolio in 2021,” team owner Tyler Young commented. “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.”