Daytona 500's first female tire changers make history

Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary are part of NASCAR Drive for Diversity.

February 18, 2019, 10:02 AM

This year’s Daytona 500 featured two history-making women working behind the scenes.

Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary became the first women to change tires as part of a pit crew at the legendary race.

Daniels also became the first African-American woman to change tires in a pit crew in a NASCAR national series.

Daniels and O’Leary are both graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program, according to

They changed tires for the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing team at Sunday’s race, which was won by Denny Hamlin.

"I try not to put pressure on myself and think about [making history]," O’Leary, 27, told "Good Morning America" Monday. "With that being said, I never ever would have expected the impact I could have on females behind me, younger girls."

"I think that in itself is the most rewarding thing of this whole process," she added. "Parents tell me they’re so excited they can show their daughters, and fans will see me working and say, ‘Oh my gosh. This is awesome, keep it up. I love seeing women out there.’"

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The two women are both former college athletes who were recruited to the diversity program in 2016. In addition to making history together, Daniels and O’Leary are also roommates.

The pair share an apartment in Concord, North Carolina, according to NASCAR.

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O'Leary told ESPNW that being roommates has led to their success.

"It's an unspoken support," O'Leary said. "We've been through it together; we want the best for each other."

Daniels called her history-making moment with O'Leary a "dream come true."

"All the women out there, we can really do anything we put our minds to no matter what anybody else has to say," she told ESPNW. "As long as you believe in yourself, you can do anything."

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