Nontraditional Occupation: NASCAR’s Brehanna Daniels


Brehanna Daniels, NASCAR’s first female tire-changer. Photo Credit: Fox4

Society holds us to many gender stereotypes. Traditionally, we even divide occupations by gender, and some people resist nontraditional jobs for their gender due to stereotypes. However, NASCAR’s Brehanna Daniels is breaking down barriers in racing. 

Against the Odds 

Brehanna Daniels, from Virginia Beach, is the first African American woman to work in the NASCAR pit, typically a male environment. She is breaking down stereotypes against women and racism as well. 

Daniels played basketball at Norfolk State University and had no prior experience related to NASCAR pit crew. In an interview with Glamour, Daniels says, “The only time NASCAR came across my TV was by accident when I was looking for a basketball game or football game to watch. My mindset was, Wow people must really enjoy driving in circles.” 

NASCAR had their first woman driver, Sara Christian, in 1946. However, since that time, only 16 drivers out of 30,000 have been women.

Daniels attended NASCAR Drive for Diversity as one of ten picks, She says, “I remember 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?’”

Breaking Barriers

Being the only woman in the pit crew is tough for Daniels. She shares with Glamour that people assume that she is trying to show off when she is serious about her work. Daniels does not let it stop her at all. 

Daniels also comments on how glad she was when NASCAR banned confederate flags and started taking steps against racism. “When Keedron Bryant sang the National Anthem–I don’t remember the last time we had an African American sing the National Anthem,” Daniel says. 

“To see that diversity, to me, that means a lot. It means that NASCAR is starting to maybe we do need to change some things,” she adds.

Daniels has encouraged and paved the way for many others by not letting stereotypes stop her from accomplishing her dreams. “Not only am I a woman, but I’m an African American woman. But you know, I’ve never put myself in a box, and I’ve always given myself the opportunity to be able to try new things. This is one of those new things I wanted to try, and it’s gotten me a long way ” she says.

Daniels’ example is particularly relevant for college students. She teaches us not to limit ourselves to occupations that fit traditional gender roles. We can do anything we put our minds to.