Although Toni Breidinger is only 19, she’s already a 10-year veteran of the race track. The teenager from Hillsborough, California, discovered her need for speed while go-kart racing against her twin, Annie, at the tender age of 9. “My dad took me and my sister to a little go-karting school. We tried that out a couple times and we really liked it, so he got us our own go-kart,” Toni told Paper magazine. He soon realized he’d need to buy another vehicle to prevent arguments, and the girls began racing one another.
In the decade since, Breidinger has gone from strength to strength in the archetypally masculine pursuit, moving from go-karts to midget cars, and becoming the United States Auto Club’s all-time winningest female driver. And while she acknowledges she is raising visibility of women in the sport, she says she experiences the races themselves as a level playing field. “Probably the biggest struggle would be getting people’s respect, and not necessarily just because I’m a girl, but just because anyone has to prove themselves so they race you more clean and hard,” she says. “I race with mostly boys; I’m usually the only female in the race. As soon as the helmet comes on everyone is just a driver. Gender is irrelevant at that point.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Breidinger has added driving stock cars to her skillset and has her eyes on a new prize, drawing comparisons with Danica Patrick, the highest-finishing woman in national NASCAR history.
In the interview, she also weighs in on anthem protests in sport, and her off-track passions.
Read the full story at Paper.