Female tire changers to appear for first time in Daytona 500

Brehanna Daniels, left, and Breanna O'Leary. Photo: NASCAR
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Sunday will be a day Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary will never forget.

Daniels and O’Leary will become the first female graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program to go over the pit wall in the Daytona 500.

Both will perform tire changing duties on the Rick Ware Racing No. 52 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, driven by Cody Ware. They’ll team with tire carriers and fellow Drive for Diversity pit crew alums Brandon Banks and Phil Thomas.

“The Daytona 500 is such a huge stage and getting to share the experience with Brehanna will make it that much sweeter,” O’Leary, who made her NASCAR Cup debut at Michigan International Speedway last season, said in a media release. “We came in together, trained together and got better together – and now February 17 will be another milestone we get to share together.”

Added Daniels, “I’m really looking forward to pitting in the Daytona 500 and having my teammate alongside me. It’s incredible how far we’ve come in such a short time and I couldn’t be more excited to be back at Daytona International Speedway.”

This will be the second time Daniels and O’Leary have gone over the pit wall at Daytona. The first time they pitted together, also for Rick Ware Racing, was last July’s Coke Zero Sugar 400.

“We are proud to have these remarkable women on our team and we look forward to having them join us more throughout the 2019 season,” Rick Ware said. “Last July, Rick Ware Racing was the perfect fit for Brehanna and Breanna as the first female NASCAR Drive for Diversity tire changers to pit on the same team at the Cup level. We have always stressed our family philosophy at RWR, so we welcomed them into our family and they performed very well.”

Daniels and O’Leary were recruited to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program by veteran pit crew coach for Rev Racing, Phil Horton. Daniels came to the program after playing Division I basketball at Norfolk State University, while O’Leary was an outfielder on the Alcorn State University softball team.

Daniels recently competed in and won on NBC’s Titan Games, hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Daniels and O’Leary have gone over the wall in over 60 races across NASCAR national series and the ARCA Menards Series.

Daniels, O’Leary, Banks and Thomas are among more than 50 graduates of the Pit Crew Development Program currently working in the NASCAR industry, including 28 pitting on NASCAR Cup teams for the 2019 season. Last February, Derrell Edwards became the first Pit Crew Development Program member to be part of a Daytona 500-winning team with winner Austin Dillon.

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