Preview: Trotter, Zamora and Breidinger to race in ARCA season opener
The traditional ARCA season opener at Daytona often provides the chance to see the most talented upcoming female racers in stockcars back in action - and 2021 won't be any different: Brittney Zamora, Toni Breidinger and Gracie Trotter will join the field for this weekend's Lucas Oil 200, as NASCAR kicks off the racing season.
The wait is almost over: we can now say that also for the ARCA Menards series, it is race week time.
The Series will see its first green flag of the 2021 season this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, when the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire event will, as per tradition, kick off the ARCA racing season.
In the recent past, the ARCA Menards championship has historically been an interesting territory for the most promising lady drivers of the American stock-car world: stars like Natalie Decker - who has recently announced that she will make the step up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series - and last year's championship contender Hailie Deegan - who will also move up the NASCAR ladder as she enters the Trucks Series after a strong 2020 ARCA campaign - have rose to international fame after their ARCA groundbreaking results.
And 2021 is likely to follow that same trend: this year's grid will in fact see quite a few female drivers tackling partial campaigns, such as Brittney Zamora, Toni Breidinger and Gracie Trotter.
Zamora will make her superspeedway ARCA debut driving the #30 Rette Jones Racing Ford Fusion. The 21-year old lady was one of the leading protagonists in the 2019 ARCA Menards Series West championship, which she contested in full with Bill McAnally Racing and ended fifth in the final standings after claiming 2 pole positions, 6 Top-five, 10 Top-ten finishes and a double third place at Tucson and Evergreen Speedway.
In her previous appearances in the most important stock cars feeding series, the lady from Kennewick, Washington, became the first woman to win in the Northwest Super Late Model Series and showed her potential in the K&N Pro Series East.
"I am really excited to be joining Rette Jones Racing for my first superspeedway race," said Zamora. "It is going to be a great experience and I am going to learn a lot. Daytona is a track I have always dreamed of racing at."
"I am confident in Mark , the RJR team and myself to be successful at Daytona. If luck stays on our side, I know we will have a strong chance to be in contention for a podium and possibly even a win." - said a confident Zamora.
Zamora's winning hopes were also confirmed by Mark Rette's words:
"I’m glad she turned some laps during the open ARCA Menards Series test in January and hopefully that track time will prove to be valuable for when she climbs aboard our race car with an opportunity to become the first female winner in ARCA national series history."
After three appearances in the ARCA 2018 season, Toni Breidinger will return to the championship as a member of Young's Motorsport at the wheel of the #02 Chevrolet crew.
She will also become the first ever Arab-American to race in a NASCAR-sanctioned race.
The Californian lady impressed in last year's Carolina Pro Late Model Series, where she reached the fourth place. Toni will compete in partial ARCA Menards and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedules in 2021.
"I’m very thankful for this opportunity to continue the next steps of my racing career with Young’s Motorsports," said Breidinger. "It’s going to be a busy year of competition in ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but I feel like the program that we have assembled at Young’s Motorsports will be influential in completing our goals and setting the path for the future."
"Daytona is going to be the biggest race of my career, but I’m ready for it," added Breidinger.
"It’s going to be a competitive race, but I know that the Young’s Motorsports team will prepare me a fast race car and we can contend for a top-10 finish. That is our goal, a top-10 finish."
Team principal Tyler Young echoed Toni's confident words:
"She is not only motivated but determined to make her season a successful one", he said. "We know that she can go to Daytona and be competitive and contend to become the first ARCA Menards Series national series female winner."
After making history on 26th September 2020 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she became the first female driver to win an ARCA Menards Series-sanctioned event, Gracie Trotter will enter 10 ARCA events in 2021 with powerhouse team Venturini Motorsport.
Trotter will return to the ARCA Menards Series after three appearances in 2020 at the wheel of Bill McAnally Racing equipment, with a ninth place finish obatined at Iowa Speedway as her best result.
"I couldn’t be more excited," said Trotter. "I’m so thankful to everyone at Toyota Racing Development, Mobil 1 and VMS for giving me this surreal opportunity to continue living out my dreams. Toyota has been incredibly important to my development over the last four years. They’ve guided me so much, helping me move up at the right pace with the right people." - said the 19-year old driver for Venturini Motorsports, a team that has historically provided great opportunities for female racers in the series.
"I tell myself I can win every time I strap myself into a race car," added Trotter. "This year will be no different, but with a learning curve. My time in the car now is about the future. It’s about learning as much as I can about the car, communication with my team and all the new tracks."
The inaugural weekend of the 2021 ARCA Menards Series will start on Friday with the practice session while qualifying and race will be held the following day.
The green flag at Daytona will wave on Saturday 13th February at 1.30 pm ET.