Two close friends will make history tonight as the first two women to serve as pit crew members in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the modern era.
Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary will help service Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet driven by Ray Black Jr. in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBC).
Daniels and O’Leary, both roommates in Charlotte, North Carolina, are the fifth and sixth female NASCAR Drive for Diversity crew members to reach the Cup Series.
They are among more than 50 graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development program currently working in the NASCAR industry. Twenty-five are pitting in the Cup Series.
Daniels, making her series debut, is a former Norfolk State University women’s basketball player and is believed to be the first female African-American crew member to compete in a NASCAR national series event.
“It’s hard to believe I’ve only been changing tires for two years and now I’m here at the Monster Energy Series level,” Daniels said in a press release. “What I’m doing in NASCAR is so much bigger than me. It’s been so rewarding to be part of history while at the same time inspiring others to take on challenges they thought might not be possible.”
O’Leary, who used to work in the strength and conditioning department at Alcorn State University, will be making her third appearance in the Cup Series and second in 2018. She also changed tires for the No. 51 last month at Michigan International Speedway.
“The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is unlike any other series,” O’Leary said in a press release. “There’s a certain energy and hustle and bustle – both in the garage and on pit road. But as a tire changer, the mindset is still the same. Five lug nuts on and five off.”