Tedesco Snags Charlotte Top Alcohol Dragster Victory
Concord, NC: On the surface, it appears as though Mia Tedesco and her Hirata Family Racing team dominated the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals with their C.A.R.S. Protection Plus / WeFindParts.com backed A/Fuel entry. The team qualified on the pole with a staggering 5.22 ET, and went on to win the event; marking the first national event victory in Tedesco’s short but decorated driving career. Domination, however, was not the word the 21-year-old driver used to describe her outing. Instead, the descriptions that she provided repeatedly included words like “lucky,” and “blessed.”
“We were really good in qualifying,” she admitted. “We came into the race with a lot of confidence, and that certainly was reinforced on our first two runs.”
Tedesco came out of the trailer with a strong 5.28 ET in the first qualifying session, then backed it up with a 5.22, the quickest pass of her career. That number paced the field, as she earned top qualifier honors for the first time in national event competition.
Come eliminations, things got a little bit dicey. The team was forced to change engines prior to round one, where the C.A.R.S. Protection Plus / WeFindParts.com machine shook the tires. But Tedesco did a masterful job of pedaling the car to regain traction, and easily defeated Mike Lewis despite an off pace 5.54 ET. That cost Tedesco lane choice in a second round matchup with Marty Thacker.
“We were very concerned coming into round two,” Tedesco explained. “We kept hurting engine parts and we were fighting the shake issues, so we were focused on making a good run on our side of the track. But at the same time, we know how good Marty Thacker is. We expected him to be good on the tree, like he always is, and to run a mid-5.30. We knew that round would be a huge challenge.”
Just off the starting line, Tedesco’s machine again briefly shook the tires, and she once again worked the throttle to recover and post a solid 5.47 ET. She caught a break when Thacker’s normally consistent machine slowed with mechanical trouble.
In the semi-final round Tedesco got an even bigger break, and she didn’t even know it.
“We were paired with Randy Meyer, whose driving and team is just amazing,” said Tedesco. “We knew we’d have to be nearly perfect to get past him. When I left, the car shook hard. I pedaled it, but I watched him drive away from me. In the shut down area I was telling myself, ‘A semi-final finish is a good outing,’ and I was already turning my mental focus back to the Super Gas car, because I was still in that category. When I turned off the track, the TV cameras were coming to my car, not his. I still didn’t put it together until they told me he had fouled, I never saw the red light.”
With new life, Tedesco entered the final round opposite Jake Allen, conceding lane choice for the third consecutive round after posting a 5.72 ET in the semi-final round. In the final, the C.A.R.S. Protection Plus / WeFindParts.com machine hooked up and got off the starting line with no tire shake, but began losing cylinders down track. Once again, Tedesco could see her opponent and figured she was in for defeat.
“He was ahead of me the whole way, then as we neared the finish line, his car just shut off and he disappeared. What a feeling.”
Tedesco got the victory with a 5.50 ET at 263 mph, upending the 5.66 / 227 mph effort of Allen.
Despite earning the biggest win of her driving career, Tedesco’s day was not done. In addition to handling the driving chores of the Hirata Family A/Fuel dragster, Mia was also behind the wheel of her familiar C.A.R.S. Protection Plus backed Cavalier Super Gas entry, which she also drove into the late rounds of competition. After earning the victory in Top Alcohol Dragster, Tedesco advanced to the semi-final round of Super Gas, falling to eventual champion Jim Perry.
“I feel as good about our Super Gas performance as I do the TAD win,” Tedesco expressed. “I had been struggling lately in that car, and it was great to get some confidence back. I just screwed up in the semi-finals, it was completely driver error – our car was really good. But we had a lot of fun, and I feel like our entire program is on the upswing. Running two cars deep into eliminations was hectic, but I really enjoyed the pace. We’ve bracket raced for several years, so I’m used to hopping from one car to another and making back-to-back runs in a matter of minutes. I live for it.”
The win was both gratifying and emotional for Tedesco. She and her A/Fuel team struggled in preseason testing and at their opening event, the Amalie Oil Gatornationals. Even in the course of victory, they faced adversity throughout the weekend; the car broke one motor and the team went through six cylinder heads. Tedesco also had family on hand to witness her victory. While family has always been important to her, it’s taken even more precedence in recent months.
“Our team is amazing, what can I say?” She smiled and continued, “I knew we could do this. After all we’ve been through our guys are always upbeat and always ready for the next challenge. To win in front of my family was just surreal. I don’t think my mother has ever seen me win, and she was there. My aunt and cousins drove down from Pittsburg, so being able to share that moment with them was just incredible. A month ago, my uncle Carmen passed away unexpectedly. We’ve all been grieving and trying to cope, so this win is for him. And my little sister Natalie is serving our country in the armed forces. I told her when she left for basic training that I’d dedicate my first win to her. So we won one for Natalie, and after the way things played out – with all the good fortune we had – I have to think uncle Carmen was looking over us.”
Mia Tedesco thanked God, her family, and her team: Jason, Krusty, Josh, Kenny, Dave Hirata, Grayson, Chiyo, Molly, and LouLou. In addition to C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, WeFindParts.com, and AAMCO, the Tedesco Racing team relies on quality products from Renegade Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Abruzzi Transmissions & Converters, Quick Fuel Technologies and Wilkerson Racing Engines. To keep up to date with the latest news on Mia Tedesco and the Tedesco Racing Team, follow Miss Mia on Facebook and Twitter.
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