After spending most of Saturday’s Calypso 150 at Iowa Speedway running inside the top five, Toni Breidinger was able to put together one of the best all-around performances of her ARCA Menards Series career, finishing fifth.
For Breidinger, the top-five result in Saturday’s 150-lap contest isn’t just the second top-five of her ARCA Menards Series career, but rather continues a trend of consistent improvement, which spans across multiple different divisions for the 24-year-old.
Piloting the No. 25 FP Movement Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports, Breidinger got the opportunity to reunite with her crew chief from last season, Kevin Reed, Jr., in which she worked with en-route to seven top-10 results and a sixth-place points finish.
After putting down a respectable seventh-place effort in practice, Breidinger was able to rope in a career-best qualifying effort of fourth place, allowing her to have track position for the start of the event.
That qualifying speed wasn’t a fluke, either, as the No. 25 Toyota Camry was actually the highest-running car from the Venturini Motorsports stable for much of the event, running ahead of teammate and ARCA Menards Series points leader, Jesse Love.
But, despite showing flashes of being one of the fastest vehicles on-track, Breidinger began to fade in the race’s final 50-lap segment, putting the Hillsborough, California native in danger of dropping outside the top five.
That was until the final caution flag was displayed when teammate Conner Jones spun from fifth with three laps remaining, allowing Breidinger to recover her spot inside the top five.
“I thought we brought a really fast racecar,” Breidinger told Mitchell Breuer post-race. “I feel like I could have done a little bit better job myself just piecing that last stage together. I feel like I could have given a little bit better feedback to pick us up a little more.
“I feel like I kind of got stagnant a little bit, but overall it was a solid day for us, back with my crew chief Kevin [Reed, Jr.] from last year, so that was exciting and it was cooled to see us reunite and get a solid finish.”
Added onto a three-race streak of top-10 finishes in the ARCA Menards Series, Breidinger has also been able to put down a pair of top-20 results in her first three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts for TRICON Garage, including a top-15 on debut at Kansas.
So, whether the strong first half of 2023 is a result of having additional experience, bolstered confidence, or even a driver-crew chief pairing jiving – Cayden Lapcevich has worked with her on the No. 55 team this season – the result has been the emergence of an even more competitive driver.