ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Venturini Motorsports will unveil its version of girl power when the longtime ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards team returns home to Chicagoland Speedway on June 28 with a trio of female drivers competing in the series’ Scott 150 event.
VMS has entered Natalie Decker in the team’s flagship No. 25 N29 Capital Partners – Yamaha Toyota, Leilani Münter in the No. 20 VeganStrong.com Toyota and Toni Breidinger in the No. 55 TORK Toyota. It is the first time in the modern era of stock car racing that one team has entered three female drivers in a single event.
Venturini Motorsports has a long history of working with female competitors. Team owner and Chicago native Bill Venturini won two ARCA driving championships in 1987 and 1991, the first coming with an all-female pit crew that was led by his wife and team co-owner Cathy Venturini.
“It was a way to get some extra attention and some added sponsorship back then,” Venturini said. “But I never would have come to the racetrack with a pit crew that couldn’t compete. It was far from a publicity stunt. If you look at pictures of our team from back then, those girls were all in tremendous shape. They could compete with anyone on pit road. We won a lot of races with them. And I feel the same way about it now, I wouldn’t come to the track with a driver I didn’t think could compete.
Leading the charge for VMS is 20-year old rookie Decker. Decker, competing in her first full season of ARCA competition, won the General Tire Pole and finished fifth during this year’s season opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway. She became just the third woman in ARCA’s history and fourth in Daytona’s 59-year track history to start a race from the pole position.
Decker is currently seventh in the series’ driver point standings, accumulating four top-10 finishes in her first 10 series starts.
Münter, with sponsorship support from A Well-Fed World and TRYVEG.com, will make her sixth start of the season behind the wheel of the No.20 VEGANSTRONG.COM machine. Münter has two top-10 finishes on the season, including a fifth-place starting spot and eighth-place finish back at Daytona.
A biology graduate turned race car driver and environmentalist, Münter was named the No. 1 Eco Athlete in the World by Discovery’s Green Planet, and Sports Illustrated once named her one of the top-10 female race car drivers in the world. An advocate for plant-based diets, solar power and animal rights, Münter has made a career racing for a cause.
The third female driver to suit up for VMS at Chicagoland is eighteen-year old Breidinger. A native of northern California, Breidinger made her ARCA debut with a top-10 finish at Madison Int’l Speedawy on June 15. Coming from the world of open-wheel racing, Breidinger is USAC’s all-time winningest female driver with 14 pavement victories.
Briedinger began her career behind the wheel of a go-kart at the age of 9 before she moved into the USAC Midget ranks. In 2014 and 2015 she placed second overall in USAC’s Speed 2 Western U.S. Pavement Midget Series driver standings. She went on to claim the 2016 Speed 2 Western U.S. Pavement Midget Series championship.
In addition to racing an abbreviated ARCA schedule, Breidinger will compete with her family run team, Breindinger Motorsports, in the six-race USAC Silver Crown Sprint Car pavement series schedule.
In addition to Decker and Munter, other female drivers VMS has worked with over the years include Milka Duno, Alli Owens, Johanna Long, Kenzie Ruston, Taylor Ferns, Nicole Behar and Trista Stevenson. Behar’s third-place finish at Madison in 2016 is the best for a female driver in a Venturini Motorsports-prepared car.