NORFOLK, Va. – Former Norfolk State University women’s basketball player Brehanna Daniels adds another chapter to her legacy as a NASCAR trailblazer this Saturday when she becomes the first African-American female pit crew member to work a race in the Monster Energy series, the sport’s top series.
Daniels will change tires for Rick Ware Racing and Ray Black Jr., driver of the No. 51 car, at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 Saturday at the Daytona International Speedway. The race will be televised live on NBC beginning at 7 p.m.
Daniels, who played for the Spartans from 2014-16, broke two barriers last year. The former NASCAR Drive for Diversity pit crew recruit became the first African American female to pit a national car racing series event last April for an Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) race in Nashville, Tennessee. In June 2017, she became the first to pit at a NASCAR national series event when she worked a truck series race in Dover, Delaware.
This week, she works the sport’s top circuit for the first time at the famed Daytona International Speedway. In fact, Daniels will be one of two females to pit the race, another NASCAR first. Former Alcorn State softball player Breanna O’Leary, another Drive for Diversity recruit, will change tires on the same team as Daniels on Saturday. O’Leary will be working her third Monster Energy race this year. The two, who are roommates, will be just the fifth and sixth female Drive for Diversity alums to reach NASCAR’s highest level.
“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 NASCAR 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.”