When Toni Breidinger joins the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series field at Kansas Speedway on May 6, the 23-year-old Hillsborough, California native will become the first Arab American woman to compete in the series. On Wednesday, April 26, Tricon Garage announced that Breidinger will drive the No. 1 Victoria's Secret Toyota in the Heart of America 200.
Breidinger, who was featured in Victoria's Secret's 2022 Fall Collection Campaign last September, currently competes part-time in the ARCA Menards Series and is scheduled to run 11 races with Venturini Motorsports this year. Out of 34 total starts in that series, she has nine top-10 finishes.
"When I was younger, I dreamed of being a racecar driver and a Victoria's Secret model," Breidinger said in an official statement released by Tricon Garage. "I was told I couldn't do both, but here I am — I'll be driving the No. 1 Victoria's Secret Toyota Tundra at Kansas. I'm endlessly grateful to the Victoria's Secret team for believing in not only me but women in sports. A huge thanks to Toyota Racing Development and TRICON Garage for this opportunity. It's going to be a learning curve, but I'm ready to soak up every bit of it."
Tricon currently has four full-time rides in the Truck Series: the No. 5 for Dean Thompson, the No. 15 for Tanner Gray, the No. 17 for Taylor Gray, and the No. 11 for Corey Heim. The No. 1 is the team's rotating ride, and has previously been helmed this season by Jason White and Kaz Grala. Hours before Breidinger steps behind the wheel of the No. 1 at Kansas, she will also run in the ARCA Menards Series companion race.
Toni Breidinger: The First Arab American Female Driver in NASCAR History
Born to German and Lebanese parents, Toni Breidinger first caught the racing bug when she was nine years old, after her father bought go-karts for her and her twin sister Annie. You could technically say that Toni's racing career started at Sonoma Raceway in California. That's where the Breidinger sisters raced their go-karts in 2009. But, when Toni moved to North Carolina after graduating high school, things started to get serious.
In 2016, Toni secured the championship in the USAC Speed2 Western Pavement Midget Series, and the following year, she raced late models alongside Hailie Deegan. Breidinger would go on to rack 19 USAC victories, making her the winningest female driver in the club's history. Needless to say, she got all the right attention for all the right reasons, and in 2018, she was invited to compete part-time in the ARCA Menards Series with Venturini Motorsports.
In 2019, Breidinger and teammate Natalie Decker tried out for the W Series, an all-female racing championship series. While she didn't make the final cut there, she continued racing late models with GMS Racing. While 2020 was a bust for almost everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Toni Breidinger raced in eight events on the Carolina Pro Late Model Series circuit. She piloted the No. 80 car for DLP Motorsports to four top-10 finishes and three top-five finishes.
In 2021, after signing on with Young's Motorsports for a part-time ARCA schedule, Breidinger was also set to make her Truck Series debut with the team. That all fell through when she left Young's Motorsports in July to return to Venturini Motorsports. She ran three races for the team in 2021, and during her first full-time season with VM in 2022, she raced to six top-10 finishes and and eventual sixth-place finish in the standings. Her shot at making NASCAR history finally came with Tricon Garage's official announcement on April 26. Clearly, plenty of good things are still ahead for the young California racer.
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