Brehanna Daniels—a 24-year-old NASCAR crew member—is breaking barriers for people of color in auto racing. This month, Daniels hit two historic milestones becoming the first Black woman to be on a NASCAR pit crew team and being a part of the first women duo to do pit crew work, Parade reported.
Daniels—a proud graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative—made both accomplishments at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 annual car race at Daytona International Speedway, the news outlet writes. She was on a team with 26-year-old Breanna O’Leary. The two women helped race car driver Ray Black Jr. change his tires.
The NASCAR journey started for Daniels two years after she finished her Norfolk State University basketball career. She didn’t really know much about NASCAR, but after someone on campus told her that the pit crew was coming to her school for tryouts and convinced her to give it a shot she went for it. After graduating from the association’s diversity program, she stepped right in and joined the pit crew team. So far Daniels has 35 races in the lower NASCAR series under her belt and hopes to join the pit crew for a top series team.
“It feels great,” Daniels told the New York Times. “It’s breaking down barriers, opening doors for other people who look like me.”
NASCAR is making an effort to add more diversity to their association through their Drive for Diversity initiative. They’re aiming to get more people of color and women involved in all aspects of the sport. “It’s absolutely a win, it’s a win for the whole sport,” Jusan Hamilton, Racing Operations & Event Management Manager, NASCAR, told the Charlotte Observer. “It means a lot for where the sport is going.”