Shine My Crown Read by Alexa
Brehanna Daniels entered the history books by becoming NASCAR’s first-ever Black female pit member.
Daniels, 27, played basketball in college. And during a recent interview with ABC News, she revealed that working for NASCAR was not on her bucket list a the time.
“Especially, you know, a little Black girl like myself at that time. [I] definitely was like, I’m never getting into NASCAR. It wasn’t even a thought in my mind,” she explained.
That all changed when NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program recruiters showed up on her college campus in 2016. She realized that her love of basketball had more than equipped her with the skills to do the job.
The Virginia Beach native trained for months in 2017 before becoming the first Black woman, over-the-wall tire changer in NASCAR’s history. She then went on to become one half of the first female duo in a NASCAR pit crew.
“Brehanna was one of those who embraced it, came through the program, excelled,” said Max Siegel, the manager of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Siegel adds that more than 60 of NASCAR’s women and minority drivers have come through the Drive for Diversity program in just over a decade.
Brandon Thompson, the vice president of diversity and inclusion at NASCAR, told TODAY News that the Drive for Diversity Program was created in 2004 with a mission “to expose the athletic opportunities within NASCAR to women and minorities in order to increase or widen the pipeline for career opportunities.”
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It’s always rewarding to see your hard work pay off when you’re working toward something,” Daniels said. “That was my goal, to be one of the ones selected. I even had more motivation because during the national combine, one of the guys came up to me … and he was like, ‘Yeah, they say there’s no women that really make it in this.'”
Speaking to the news outlet, she says that she still receives racial abuse online despite her historic accomplishments.
“Someone said, ‘Why does it matter that she’s Black?’ I even got called the N-word online. I was getting a whole bunch of messages,” Daniels said. “With all the hate, there are some positive comments. There are people saying, ‘Yeah girl, keep doing your thing!’ or ‘Oh, it’s about damn time!'”
They can’t kill her shine, though.