Toni Breidinger: Meet NASCAR's First Arab American Female Driver

The NASCAR season starts Presidents' Day weekend and features all of the top series — Cup, Xfinity, Trucks, and ARCA Menards. The latter two series will continue to make history with 21-year-old Toni Breidinger competing. She will become the first Arab American driver in NASCAR history.

According to PEOPLE, Breidinger made her debut on Saturday during the Lucas Oil 200. She got behind the wheel of the No. 2 Young Motorsports Chevrolet SS and competed with a stacked list of competitors, reaching 20th place overall at the quarter-point of the race. Breidinger will also race in the Camping World Truck Series during the 2021 season. She will drive the No. 82 Young Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado. Breidinger has made four starts in the ARCA Menards series, but Saturday's race is her first at Daytona International Speedway.

A California native of Lebanese descent, Breidinger began racing go-karts at the age of 9. She said that she knew she would become a race car driver. According to CNN, she has since become a 19-time United States Auto Club winner, a record for any female driver. She also debuted in the Top 10 at Madison International Speedway in ARCA Menards in 2018. Now she will compete at an iconic speedway.

"I'm honored and excited to be the first, but I don't want to be the last," Breidinger said to CNN. "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."

While she plans for a future in the Cup Series, Breidinger will continue to make NASCAR history by competing in two separate series for Young Motorsports. There are 20 races in the 2021 ARCA Menards Series schedule. She will work with crew chief Pickle London while attempting to secure a historic victory.


The 21-year-old put her driving skills to the test quickly on Saturday during the Lucas Oil 200. A large wreck near the front of the pack sent several cars spinning and resulted in collateral damage for others. Despite the number of cars spinning out of control, Breidinger avoided the incident and remained in contention.