Sunday, July 9, 2017

Big weekend in Top Alcohol Dragster has Mia Tedesco stoked about rest of the season

CHICAGO (July 9) -- Running two big events in the same weekend seemed to suit Mia Tedesco just fine as the reigning Super Gas world champion starred in her "other" ride, the CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol dragster, with a runner-up result in the 33rd annual JEGS Allstars race and a semifinal finish in the 20th annual Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals.

"I'm always really excited when we have weekends like this," Tedesco said. "Some of the divisional races have two events in one so you get used to running a bunch of rounds, especially when you're running more than one car. I love it because I love to race so the more seat time I can get, the happier I am.

"This whole weekend was a very good one for us. We went rounds in the alcohol car and learned a lot. Making it to the JEGS Allstars is an accomplishment in itself but to make it to the finals was very humbling. On top of that, to turn around and have a semifinal finish today in the regular national event was a huge confidence booster."

One of the select qualifiers for the elite JEGS Allstars race, which was contested Saturday, Tedesco opened elimination action with a win over Dean Dubbin, 5.286 at 278.00 mph to a dead-late Dubbin's 8.466 at 97.55. She then beat a red-lighting Megan Meyer with 5.429 at 269.13 mph to earn a final-round date with Joey Severance.

After nearly identical reaction times, Severance was able to inch away and take the Allstar trophy with a 5.258 at 267.75 mph to Tedesco's game but trailing 5.342 at 268.01 mph.

"We’ve been working out some kinks in the dragster so to make it to the JEGS Allstars final made us pretty happy," Tedesco said. "You know when you go up against Joey, a guy who has won two world championships in a row, that he'll be ready. He doesn’t make mistakes and we knew that so we put together the best run we could. We fell a little short but we were happy to be there and make him earn it."

Riding the momentum of her runner-up result in the JEGS Allstars, Tedesco powered into Sunday's eliminations for the Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals as the No. 2 qualifier.

She quickly dispatched Kris Krabil, 5.328 at 273.55 mph to Krabil's 5.562 at 243.68 mph, and then downed Duane Shields with a 5.307 at 280.19 mph to Shields' 5.391 at 274.66 mph to draw Meyer in the semifinals. This time Meyer was able to exact revenge from Saturday's loss to Tedesco with a 5.355 at 268.76 mph to Tedesco's laboring 5.970 at 206.29 mph. Tedesco’s 280.19 mph pass against Shields was best of the meet.

"We have been testing with the new dragster chassis this year so to go rounds both days and make solid runs feels good," Tedesco said. "It's also promising for the future.

"The sportsman cars are running well too. My CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/VP Racing Fuels Super Gas Chevrolet Cavalier is running really well, I just have to have some luck fall my way. We also are learning a lot about Jason (Lynch, (crew chief and teammate's) Top Sportsman car so I feel good about our team. I’m ready to be back at the track and I haven't even left yet." 

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mia Tedesco seeks more straight-line success in defense of her Chicago title

CHICAGO (July 6) – Reigning Super Gas world champion Mia Tedesco will have more than one opportunity for victory this weekend when the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series hits the track for the Fallen Patriots Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., outside of Chicago.

Tedesco, a 23-year-old native of Pittsburgh, made two trips to Route 66 Raceway last year and she took home a Super Gas title trophy both times in her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/VP Racing Fuels Chevrolet Cavalier, one for the divisional event and the other for the national event. She knows defending her title this weekend will be challenging, but the spirited racer known as “Miss Mia” to her fans has never backed down from a challenge.

"I really love Chicago," Tedesco said. "Last year, I won both times I came here. I raced in the divisional race here in Super Gas again this year and made it to the quarterfinals. That’s the worst I’ve done here in two years and that was still going rounds so I’m really confident about the national event. I really like the facility and I like the track, it’s really smooth and fast."

Tedesco’s weekend of racing also includes the 33rd running of the “Best of the Best”, the JEGS Allstars. The best racers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series compete in the $124,000 race within a race, Saturday. The top points earners from NHRA’s seven geographic divisions and four Top Alcohol regions battle against each other after a yearlong points battle. Tedesco will again represent the North Central Region in her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster.

"I’m really excited about racing our Top Alcohol Dragster in the JEGS Allstars event," Tedesco said. "It’s a fun deal, plus you get to go up against the best racers in the country. I’m honored to be a part of it. Hopefully, we can bring home a trophy this year."

Tedesco raced her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster in the JEGS Allstars for the first time last year.

Despite not seeing her name in the win column yet this year, Tedesco’s ever-positive outlook keeps her grounded in times of struggle and in times of success.

"This year has been good," Tedesco said. "We haven’t won any races but my cars have been running well and I’ve been going rounds so I’m happy with our year so far. It goes like that, though. It’s how this sport is. It’s humbling. You can’t go out there and expect to win every race or even every round; you just have to do the best you can. Some passes you make will win one week but won’t win the next week. 

"It’s just how it goes. I’m just keeping my head up and having fun and feeling blessed I get to do what I love to do. We just need to make laps and make good runs. It will just happen. I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong or making bad runs or need to change anything. It will happen when it happens."

Even without a win this year, Tedesco’s name remains high in the points standings. She’s ranked second in the North Central region and eighth nationally in Top Alcohol Dragster. She’s in fourth place in Super Gas in Division 3 standings.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reigning Super Gas world champ Mia Tedesco staying patient as title defense moves to Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio (June 20) -- By all accounts, reigning Super Gas world champion Mia Tedesco is having another banner season. She's ranked second in the North Central region and eighth nationally in her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster. She's also a lofty fourth in her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/VP Racing Fuels Super Gas Chevrolet Cavalier in the Division 3 standings.

The only thing missing on her 2017 resume is a victory, something she'd love to change this weekend with two chances to win at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

"We've been racing long enough to know that some weekends, some years, everything seems to just fall into place and go your way," Tedesco said. "Other times it's a struggle for everything. Then you have seasons like this year where you are running really well but the wins aren't happening for whatever reason.

"All we do, all you can do, is keep racing. These things work out. We're always ready to win and we come to every race with all the pieces we need to win, we're just waiting for it to happen this year. I really don't spend a lot of time worrying about that stuff."

Norwalk would be the perfect place for Tedesco to visit the winner's circle again. She won here as recently as 2015 in Top Alcohol Dragster (in rain delayed action from the Chicago regional event) and Summit Motorsports Park is the closest national track to her native Pittsburgh.

"That win here was cool because it happened on July 4th and the Baders (track owners) always put on that huge fireworks display so it was a very memorable weekend," Tedesco said. "And definitely having this track so close to home -- it's only like two hours away -- brings over all our friends and family. It's a big party weekend and we have a great time in the pits.

"We have a lot of confidence in both cars right now so we'll just keep after it and the wins will come. I do know you can screw your head up if you think about it too much. You really just need to keep to what's right in front of you and do your job every round."

Tedesco Racing actually will have four cars in competition this weekend as longtime crew chief "Racin' Jason" Lynch will vie for the trophies in Super Comp and Top Sportsman.

"Jason won a few weeks back so he's in the zone," Tedesco said. "Maybe we can double-up in Norwalk. That would be fun."

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Friday, June 2, 2017

After two big Route 66 wins last year, Mia Tedesco hopes to keep Chicago streak alive

JOLIET, Ill. (June 2) -- Chicago is definitely Mia Tedesco's kind of town.

The reigning world champion in drag racing's Super Gas category blew through the Windy City last year and swept up both the Division 3 and the national event trophies in her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts /VP Racing Fuels Super Gas Chevrolet Cavalier.

At this weekend's Burndown at Sundown D3 race, Tedesco hopes to simply add to her perfect 14-0 record from 2016.

"We didn't drop a single round last year so if we can ride that momentum this weekend, we'll be really happy," Tedesco said. "Matching what we did last year is no small task. We know what it took and we know how hard it will be to repeat, but we're certainly going to try.

"I just feel so blessed to be back racing here with my teammate and crew chief Jason Lynch and our crew guy Jason Oteri. Jason's coming off a big win last weekend in Top Sportsman so we definitely feel like we have everything in place to win again."

Tedesco, the only female champion in Super Gas history, will have two chances to score a victory this weekend. In addition to her Super Gas entry, she'll be racing her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster.

"We're going rounds at every race but I haven't won yet this year," Tedesco said. "We're trying our best and sooner or later it will all fall into place. It's tough racing at this level. We're considered amateurs in the sportsman categories but there are a lot of professional amateurs running out here.

"Every round is so tough and when you have to win seven to get the trophy, like you do in Super Gas most of the time, you have to be pretty much perfect plus have things go your way to get it done."

At last year's divisional race, Tedesco logged seven round wins, including a tough finale against Jacob Elrod, to earn the hardware. She returned in July at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals and went seven more, finally beating Gabriel Torres to complete the sweep.

"Of course, every drag race you start from zero so although we have great data and awesome memories of last year's wins here, we have to prove ourselves all over again," Tedesco said. "We're ready." 

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Reigning world champ Mia Tedesco one of the brightest stars at Cavalcade of Stars

NORWALK, Ohio (May 18) -- Mia Tedesco became the first woman in the 61-year history of NHRA drag racing to win a world championship in the cutthroat Super Gas category last season, making her one of the biggest stars competing at this weekend's Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser at Summit Motorsports Park in Northeast Ohio.

Tedesco, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pa., will be racing both her title-winning CARS Vehicle Service Contracts /VP Racing Fuels Super Gas Chevrolet Cavalier and her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster at the event, giving her two great chances to score another victory or two.

"We're excited about this race," Tedesco said. "Both of my cars have been running great this year. We'd like to have a little more to show for it, but we've definitely learned over the years that you just have to keep working hard every weekend and the wins will come. Maybe this weekend will be the breakthrough race we've been waiting for.

"For sure we'll have fun. This is one of the closest racetracks to home so we always have a lot of friends and family make the trip over to cheer for us. That makes it special. Of course, it motivates you too because you always want to show your best side when your closest friends are watching."

The Tedesco family has a special relationship with the Bader family, who own Summit Motorsports Park. Michael Tedesco, Mia's father and team owner, also owns a drag strip, Pittsburgh Raceway, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

"The Baders are great friends of ours and we love coming to their track," Mia Tedesco said. "They put the fans and the racers first in every decision they make and it makes you feel pretty special when you come here to race. The races are always run well and are very organized. It's drag racing the way it's supposed to be over here.

"Considering how close we are with them, it would be really great to put one of these cars in the winner's circle and share that experience with them. I know last time we were here the Super Gas car was running super strong. We didn't do so well in the dragster but we'll hope for more this time through."

In addition to Tedesco's two entries, crew chief and teammate Jason Lynch will be pulling double duty himself, racing in both Super Gas and Top Sportsman.

"It'll be another busy weekend but we like it that way," Tedesco said. "This is the second Division 3 race of the season but the first one was rained out so really it's our first one. We have our titles to defend. It's time to get after it and race."

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Reigning world Super Gas champion Mia Tedesco begins defense of D3 title

INDIANAPOLIS (April 26) -- Mia Tedesco made history last year when she became the first woman in 65 years of organized drag racing to claim the Super Gas world championship. A big part of that accomplishment was the work she did in Division 3, where she also won the 2016 title.

For that reason, and many others, this weekend's Division 3 opener at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis is a race where the 23-year-old Tedesco really hopes to shine. In addition to Super Gas, Tedesco will be competing in Top Alcohol Dragster, where she is the defending North Central Region champion.

"We're really looking for a big weekend," said Tedesco, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pa. "Both cars are running well. We're coming off a runner-up finish in Top Alcohol Dragster down at the Houston national event so that car is good to go. The (Super Gas) Cavalier has been good too, we're just haven’t been on the right side of some super-close races.

"Whenever you're at a home race within your division, especially the first one of the season, you want to have a big weekend to get everything off to a good start. I'm excited for this race."

Tedesco has won Indy in the past, albeit under some dubious circumstances she'd rather not repeat this time through in her CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol dragster and CARS Vehicle Service Contracts /VP Racing Fuels Super Gas Chevrolet Cavalier.

"Two years ago we were here and I crashed the Cavalier pretty hard," Tedesco said. "But I climbed out of the car, went and got in the dragster and ended up winning the race, so it was the best of both worlds that weekend. We got a big regional event win but did about $75,000 worth of damage to the Super Gas car."

To make sure she gets the most out if this visit to the Racing Capital of the World, Tedesco and crew chiefs Dave Hirata (Top Alcohol Dragster) and Jason Lynch (Super Gas) plan to get some testing in prior to the race.

"They are opening the track up Thursday for a test and tune and I think we'll take advantage of that time and make some passes," Tedesco said. "That’s how important this race is for us. We're halfway through spring and heading to summer and it's time to make sure we're getting the most out of both cars."

Thursday's open test and tune runs from 12-8 p.m. Time trials and qualifying action in Super Gas will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday, with the first TAD qualifying session slated for 4 p.m., Friday. Super Gas qualifying concludes between 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, with the first round of eliminations scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday. TAD qualifying concludes with two more rounds at 1 and 5 p.m., Saturday. Super Gas eliminations continue at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, with TAD eliminations starting at noon.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Runner-up finish in Top Alcohol Dragster helps Mia Tedesco warm up to Houston

HOUSTON (April 23) -- Mia Tedesco made a name for herself last year by becoming the first female driver in class history to win a world title in Super Gas. But "Miss Mia" also is a talented Top Alcohol Dragster driver, as witnessed by her impressive runner-up finish Sunday at the 30th annual NHRA Spring Nationals.

"Coming in with a new car this year and figuring out the bugs, if they had told me we'd go to a final this early in the season I would have taken that in a heartbeat," Tedesco said. "We are very pleased, especially after making the quickest and fastest pass we've ever had in this particular car. It was just a great weekend. Only one person is happier than we are at this point, and that's Joey (Severence)."

Severance simply had the better racecar this weekend. With the trophy on the line, the event's top qualifier beat No. 2 qualifier Tedesco with a stout 5.203 at 275.39 mph to Tedesco's 5.445 at 264.70 mph.

"Joey made a fantastic run just now that would have been hard to beat under any circumstances," Tedesco said. "After the pedalfest against Megan (Meyer) in the semifinals so we knew we had to back it down a little bit to try to get from A-to-B and take a shot at beating Severence. It was hard to get everything together in time for the finals but we did and we ended up having a good race. He was just too much for us today."

Tedesco started strong in the first round of eliminations Saturday night, easily beating 15th-ranked qualifier Karl Brounkowski with a 5.368 at 267.37 mph to Brounkowski's 5.619 at 241.41 mph.

An overnight cooling trend allowed for Tedesco's CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil race team to tune up her dragster even more and she responded with a streaking 5.218 at 272.61 mph to beat Alan Bradshaw, who shutoff early and drifted to a 7.284 at 150.85 mph.

"Conditions were really good that round," Tedesco said. "The track also was really good. I heard some of the Top Fuel and Funny Car making record-setting runs so we knew we could go for it. We ended up making the best run on this car since we've had it so we were super pleased with that."

The semifinal wasn't as pretty, but it was definitely entertaining as both Tedesco and Megan Meyer lost traction during the race and had to fight it out to see who could gain control. In the end, it was Tedesco getting to the finish line first with a 6.786 at 257.09 mph to Meyer's 6.912 at 258.81 mph.

"As things got hotter, the track started going away and that race against Megan was just a lot of fun," Tedesco said. "We had stepped it up a little because she'd been running fantastic all weekend and I guess they did too because we both smoked the tires. Being in a fight like that and coming out on top was really awesome, especially since we are so close.

"We're just trying to get better and better every week. We're already excited about going to Indy next week. I'll be running Super Gas and Top Alcohol Dragster there too so we'll stay busy."

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