She crushed it and was one of 10 selected from around the country to join the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development Program. “I remember one of the first times I reported over to a team, I went over to the crew chief and I said, ‘Hey my name is Brehanna Daniels and I’ll be your rear changer for the day. ’ And he was like ‘You’re changing my tires? ’ It was really, really tough in the beginning,” she says. “At first I think a lot of people were like, She’s not doing it for real; she’s just here for show.
Daniels has become the perfect poster woman for the future of what the sport could look like. “Before I started NASCAR, I was a little nervous about joining because of how I might be looked at, how I might be judged, because I knew that there weren’t people here that look like me,” Daniels says. “Not only am I a woman, but I’m an African American woman.
The past few weeks have been “multiple strides in the right direction” for NASCAR, Daniels says, which will include sensitivity training for all NASCAR employees. “When Keedron Bryant sang the National Anthem—I don’t remember the last time we had an African American sing the National Anthem,” Daniels says. “To see that diversity, to me that means a lot.
Daniels had no dreams of becoming the first Black woman in the pit crew of a NASCAR race—she didn’t even watch the sport. “The only time NASCAR came across my TV was by accident when I was looking for a basketball game or a football game to watch.
Lug nuts off, tire swap, lug nuts on. Time’s up. “Dang, that was fast,” Daniels said the first time she watched a video of a pit crew—the eight-person team responsible for refueling a race car and installing fresh tires mid-race. “I was amazed by how fast they did their jobs.