For Toni Breidinger, NASCAR’s First Arab-American Female Driver, Racing Was Her Calling

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Most high school graduates wouldn’t have a concrete plan. Some might travel, others might work or prepare for college. But Toni Breidinger’s plan was clear.

She would race.

While her sister Annie made her plans to attend Purdue, Toni packed up her belongings and moved from California to Charlotte, North Carolina.

It was a necessary move. For her to be taken seriously in the sport, she had to be where racing was taken seriously.

This wasn’t a revelation that suddenly transpired in high school. For Toni, it was something she envisioned when her father first took his then 9-year old daughters go-karting.

“It wasn’t going to be a phase for me,” Toni told me.

It was a major move for the teenager, but she refused to have her dream deferred.

A few short years later, Toni Breidinger made history, fittingly at the legendary Daytona International Speedway.

In February, at the age of 21, Toni took the wheel at the ARCA Menard Series, becoming NASCAR’s first Arab-American female driver. There she finished 18th out of 33.

The significance of the moment, and her place in racing history, wasn’t lost on Breidinger.

“It’s really cool to be the first. Everybody loves to be the first but I also don’t want to be the last,” she told Ellen Degeneres after her history-making run.

“I want to pave the way for others.”

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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