Toni Breidinger has already made history as a driver, earning 19 victories in United States Auto Club, the most by a female driver. Last year, the 22-year-old became the first Arab-American female driver to join the NASCAR family but is still looking to compete in her first NASCAR race. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Breidinger, who currently competes in the ARCA Menards Series, revealed her goals for 2022 and beyond.
"I definitely want to move up through the NASCAR ladder system, I would say my big end goal is to reach the NASCAR Cup Series, which is the top-level," Breidinger exclusively told PopCulture. "But for this season I would say my goals are to, hopefully, get the championship, since I'm running a full season, and then get Rookie of the Year, since I'm still considered a rookie this season, so those are kind of goals for this year and then, hopefully, move up and eventually make it to the Cup Series."
The ARCA Menards Series is a minor, semi-pro league of stock car racing used as a feeder program for NASCAR. The series was not officially affiliated with NASCAR until its buyout in 2018, but before that ARCA had a strong relationship with NASCAR, which includes hosting races at the same track on the same weekend. Before the Daytona 500, the ARCA Menards Series hosted the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Superspeedway, and Breidinger finished ninth in the race.
"When I was a kid, I always dreamed of racing at Daytona, so anytime I get to go on that track, it's always very surreal, and that first lap always feels really fast, you feel the g-forces, and then after that it kind of slows down," Briedinger said. "But the race itself is really exciting, and we did decent there, our car was fast, we were the fastest in practice, and that last lap, we kind of got involved in a little bit of a situation, I almost thought we were going to wreck, but somehow saved it and brought it home in ninth, so that was good, but yeah, those races, everything happens so fast."
With Breidniger racing a full-time schedule this season, she is now getting ready for Dutch Boy 150 which will take place at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas on Saturday. "Going into Kansas, it's a mile-and-a-half race track, so the driving style's going to be a lot compared to the race that I just competed in a couple of weeks ago, which was Talladega," Breidinger said. "So just a different driving style, I know my team prepared a really good race car for us and set up there is really important, but I think the biggest thing is just we have limited practice, so it's making the most out of practice, really pushing myself out of my comfort zone and getting everything I can out of the car is probably just going to be the biggest thing."