By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
Toni Breidinger, an 18-year-old driver out of Hillsborough, California, has inked a deal with Venturini Motorsports to compete in three ARCA Racing Series events behind the wheel of one of the team’s Toyota Camrys.
Breidinger will have a busy month of June as she will make her debut at the half-mile Madison International Speedway on June 15 before competing at Gateway Motorsports Park (June 22) and then Chicagoland Speedway (June 28).
“I’m definitely expecting to learn a lot. It’s going to be a huge learning experience, but I’m very excited and more than ready to take on the challenge racing in the ARCA Series this season,” said Breidinger.
Breidinger may not be a familiar name to motorsports aficionados on the East coast or in the Midwest, but she’s been making a name for herself in United States Auto Club (USAC) competition on the West Coast. The young driver holds the all-time USAC female feature victory record with 14 wins. In 2014 and 2015, she placed second overall in USAC’s Speed2 Western U.S. Pavement Midget Series driver standings before capturing the championship in 2016. With the ultimate goal of competing at NASCAR’s highest levels, Breidinger made her debut in a USAC Silver Crown car followed by a late model stock car last season.
The Venturini organization has competed in ARCA for over 35 years and is one of the top driver development programs in motorsports, with several drivers at the top levels of NASCAR having competed for the team.
“I feel extremely lucky and privileged to be making my series debut racing for Venturini Motorsports. They do an amazing job with developing drivers. The knowledge I will gain from them will be very valuable and beneficial. I am beyond excited to be a part of Venturini Motorsports.”
When the series heads to the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway at the end of June, Breidinger will join Natalie Decker and Leilani Munter as the team enters three females in the SCOTT 150 field. The Venturini organization is no stranger when it comes to females competing in motorsports, notably utilizing an all-female pit crew to win the 1987 ARCA Racing Series national championship.
Decker is running the full 20-race schedule with the team in 2018 and Munter is slated to make eight starts. The female duo both finished in the top-10 in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, marking the first time two female drivers finished in the top-10 at Daytona in the same race.
Breidinger will look to combine her prior racing experience with the deep knowledge base of the Venturini organization as she adjusts to the ARCA car.
“The USAC cars I’ve been racing are completely different from the ARCA cars, but racing them has really developed my racing skills. Everything I’ve learned throughout my four years racing USAC will be carried over into the next step of my career. I’ve also competed in a few late model races to prepare me for the jump to ARCA. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”
In addition to racing an abbreviated ARCA schedule, Breidinger will compete in the full six-race USAC Silver Crown Sprint Car pavement series schedule.