CHICAGO: Lebanese-American driver Toni Breidinger has moved on in the competitive, male-dominated NASCAR race to become one of the world’s most important and “rare” female racers.
Bredinger, 24, spoke to Arab News on Ray Hananiya’s radio show on Wednesday, June 21, about the challenges she faces in racing and being a proud Arab-American A case of breaking gender and racial stereotypes.
Despite the risks she faces on a near-weekly basis in the hyperspeed industry, Bredinger said she’s less worried about potential accidents and more concerned with making sure her car remains drivable. She said she was a proud role model for Arab Americans and women.
“I feel like I’ve built a really solid Arab fan base and they love coming to the games. For example, I saw it last year, at a game in Phoenix, and this little girl and her family just came to see me play. . So it’s been really cool to see me bring in a more diverse fan base, which is really exciting for me and it’s been a great experience,” said Bredinger, who called being a Female and Arab-American riders ‘important’.
“Yeah, I’d say a lot of people don’t really know. Everyone says are you Italian or Spanish? Nobody really knows. I’d say, it’s a really good thing, but yeah, being able to bring a lot to NASCAR It’s exciting to have a whole new fan base.”
She added that female drivers were “uncommon”. “We really don’t have many people.”
Bredinger said she started competing in the first races of multi-level racing, starting with the ARCA or Autocar Club of America series, and then moving up to the truck series to achieve her main goal of top-level NASCAR Cup competition.
Her most important race to date was her May Truck Series debut.
“Back in May, on my truck series debut, I actually made history by finishing 15th on my truck series debut, being the highest finisher by a woman on her debut. That was exciting. … . . It’s kind of like a big moment, not really a make-or-break moment, but I’m on this big stage and people are watching to move to the next level and everybody’s trying to see what she’s going to do,” Bredin said. Greg said.
“I think it helps me. It’s a positive direction for me and I hope to continue to improve. I would say my five-year plan includes playing in the cup series, so I still have some way to go, but I feel like I’ve A lot of progress has been made in that regard.”
She transcends male dominance in the racing industry: “When I’m in the seat, I see everyone as a driver. I don’t identify people by who they are. They’re just drivers in front of me, and I just want to beat They. So, I don’t see people as friends. I don’t really think, ‘Is this driver going to see me differently?’ But I do feel like some people do, that’s for sure.”
Still, Bredinger’s unique role as a female driver has attracted a number of sponsors, including Victoria’s Secret, the international women’s apparel retailer, for the first-ever NASCAR sponsorship. Bredinger said she was a Victoria’s Secret model.
Asked if racing was scary, she said she didn’t consider the risks.
“When I’m in the seat and driving myself, I’m never scared. If I get into a crash, I’m more concerned about my car than myself because I just want to get back out there and race,” Bredinger said.
“Normally, if you do wreck, you don’t come out again. You’re kind of tied to the race. If you hit a wall, what speed are you going at, you know, the odds are right You’re not good. But I can say for sure that I’ve been hit quite a bit this year, and when it happened, you were kind of shocked at the time, but it never stopped me from pursuing that.”
The Ray Hanania radio show airs every Wednesday on the Arab Radio Network’s Detroit station WNZK AM 690 and Washington DC station WDMV AM 700, and is sponsored by Arab News.
You can listen to podcasts of radio shows by visiting Arab News Network/rayradioshow.