Toni Breidinger carries momentum in Talladega with top-12 in ARCA
Toni Breidinger made headlines for being the first ever Arab-American racer in NASCAR - but the 21 year old is carrying momentum and scored her first top-12 of the season in a remarkable race at the last ARCA series round in Talladega.
ARCA Menards Series headed to the world-renowned Talladega Speedway for its third round of the 2021 season, with Gracie Trotter and Toni Breidinger both targeting further progress after their debut in Daytona earlier this February.
The series is in fact historically been a great proving ground for talented female racers eyeing to move up the ranks of the stock car scene and 2021 has been no different: Trotter turned heads with an impressive qualifying at Daytona and led the race for several laps before a series of unfortunate accidents; Breidinger became the first Arab-American woman to ever enter a NASCAR sanctioned event and had a really solid start of the season with a top-20 result, at only her fourth appearance at this level of stock car racing.
"Talladega will be my second superspeedway race and I feel like I’m more than ready." - said the driver of the No.02 Young Motorsports' Chevrolet.
"I learned a lot at Daytona and look forward to applying it at Talladega on Saturday in our No. 02 Huda Beauty | VibeSzn Chevrolet.” - said Breidinger before the weekend, as she also welcomed new partners on board.
Launched by award-winning beauty blogger turned business mogul Huda Kattan in 2013, Huda Beauty is one of the world's fastest-growing beauty brands and became the largest instagram beauty account with over 48 million followers. At its first appearance on a stock car livery, Huda Beauty is an interesting example of brands opening up to new marketing platforms in motorsport.
“I am thrilled to be working with Huda Beauty." - said Breidinger. "They have never been in Motorsports – so for them to come on and be a part of my journey is incredible."
“Talladega is a heck of a race to launch our partnership together, but I feel very good about the car the Young’s Motorsports team is bringing me and look forward to having the chance to execute on Saturday.”
Scheduled to run in the first five rounds of the ARCA Menards series - hoping to extend her deal to a full-season - Breidinger is also expected to take the start in selected races in the NASCAR Truck series, with a calendar to be announced soon.
After a promising start, the 21 year-old Californian was hoping to carry momentum and continue her improvements at Talladega.
"My goal is to complete all the laps and contend for a top-15 finish or better and get us some points and momentum to carry to Kansas Speedway next weekend.” - she commented.
Gracie Trotter and her Venturini Motorsports' teammates Corey Heim and Drew Dollar proved again to be a strong team, with the latter both emerging as the main protagonists of the General Tire 200 race.
A late caution turned the race into a one lap shoot-out for victory, with Heim that would take advantage of a little help from Dollar to complete the winning move on Bret Holmes and Nick Sanchez. In doing so, he became just the second driver in the last 30 years to win at both Daytona Superspeedway and Talladega in the same ARCA season.
Dave Mader III and Nick Sanchez completed the top 3, but there was interesting action throughout the field: among the biggest movers, it was Toni Breidinger, who had an outstanding race and moved up 14 positions to finish P12.
"Solid day Talladega" - she wrote after yet another convincing result. "l took the green p26 with no practice or qualifying and finished p12!"
While it is Toni's best result of the season, it is not her all-time best: in one of her three previous appearances in 2018, she scored a 10th place at Madison International Speedway.
Starting from third, Trotter was again hit by misfortune: Gracie was forced to a complete an extra pit stop when Richard Garvie cut the front left tire of the #25 Mobil1 Toyota - relegating Trotter to a P22 finish, one lap down.
"We started the race third and we were running pretty good up front, until it went bad. The car behind me and the car beside me hit each other, causing one of them to run right up to me. I got a flat tire from it, so I had to pit under green flag - and that's a pretty stressful moment. You can't speed in pit-road, you can't lock your brakes up, you've got to get out of line and make sure no one runs into you."
"After that I was watching cars go by and we got a lap down - I guess it's speedway racing."
The next ARCA Menards series event will be contested at Kansas Speedway on May 1st.