Two Women Pit Crew Members Set to Make NASCAR History at Daytona
For the first time in NASCAR Cup Series history, two women will work on the same team as part of Rick Ware Racing.
The No. 51 Rick Ware Racing team of driver Ray Black Jr. will play its part in making NASCAR history Saturday night in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Its five-member pit crew will include two females, Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary, making it the first pit crew in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition to include two women.
The Daytona race will be the first at the Cup level for Daniels and the third for O’Leary, the second of 2018. O’Leary also was on the pit crew of the No. 51 team for the June 10 premier-series race at Michigan International Speedway.
“The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is unlike any other series,” O’Leary said in a press release from NASCAR. “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.”
Although Daniels doesn’t have Cup Series experience, she has worked on pit crews in NASCAR’s other two national series, the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series, for 25 races since 2017.
“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. “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.”
Daniels and O’Leary are the fifth and sixth women to work on NASCAR top-series pit crews, following in the footsteps of Nicole Addison, Stephanie Russo, Pyper Braley, and Shannon Sands.
“We knew upon their arrival that Brehanna and Breanna had the potential to one day compete on pit road in our top series,” NASCAR Senior Manager of Racing Operations and event Management Jusan Hamilton said. “They’ve demonstrated the commitment, put in the work and earned the opportunity to go over the wall as teammates on NASCAR’s biggest stage – Daytona International Speedway.”
Both women were recruited for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development program in 2016 after participating in college athletics, Daniels as a basketball player at Norfolk State University and O’Leary as a softball player at Alcorn State University. They were among 20 former college athletes participating in the program in its inaugural year.