Mia Tedesco Set to Make NHRA Debut This Weekend
18-year-old Mia Tedesco will compete in her first NHRA Lucas Oil Division Series event this weekend at the NHRA Southeast Division Opener in Orlando, FL. Mia will drive her C.A.R.S. Protection Plus backed American Race Cars dragster in Super Comp. Mia will be accompanied by teammates Jason Lynch and Rich Coury, who will also be participating in the event.
At just 18 years of age, Tedesco is quickly becoming a veteran in the sportsman drag racing ranks. A 3-time Pittsburgh Raceway Park Jr. Dragster track champion, Mia took the wheel of a sportsman dragster shortly after turning 16. In 2011 she endured a season that ran the gamut of emotion. She was introduced to competitive big buck bracket racing late in the summer, and enjoyed success almost immediately with a semi-final finish at a big bucks event at Numidia Dragway before advancing to the final 9 cars at the richest and most prestigious event of the season: the annual Million Dollar Race in Montgomery, AL. Shortly after, however, she experienced the unthinkable; crashing her dragster in a horrific finish line accident at South Georgia Motorsports Park in early November.
“Talk about going from one extreme to another,” explained Tedesco, a high school senior. “Last year was really my first experience in bracket racing. I mean, I had raced locally, but the level of competition at the bigger events was something that I never could have imagined. And almost immediately we were competitive. I did well in Numidia, and thanks to that success I talked my Dad into going to the Million Dollar Race. There, I got lucky and got into the late rounds. At that point, I was kind of on top of the world. It was almost like the sport was coming pretty easily. Then I crashed. It was a real awakening, a learning experience. Thank God I was fine. The crash brought me back down to reality and made me realize that I need to enjoy this. It could all be taken away in a split second. It really put things into perspective.”
Unshaken, Tedesco returned to the driver’s seat the very next day, in a car loaned to the family by good friend Jason Lynch. Mia drove that machine throughout the remaining events of the Florida Winter Series and capped her season in grand fashion. On the final day of her final event of the year, the prestigious Palm Beach International 5-Day Bracket Championships, Tedesco earned the first bracket event win of her career: A $10,000 triumph in the 5-Day main event. Better yet, she beat one of the top competitors in all of sportsman racing, John Labbous, Jr., in the final round.
By finishing the season on a high note, Tedesco set the stage for an exciting 2012 campaign. The C.A.R.S. Protection Plus backed team expanded dramatically over the winter, as Mia and her father Mike have taken delivery of three brand new American Race Cars Dragsters, as well as a ’63 Corvette bodied Roadster from Charlie Stewart Race Cars. Those machines join the Racecraft Chassis Dragster that Mia drove to victory in Palm Beach. Mia will compete mainly in NHRA Super Comp and Top Dragster, in addition to attending several big dollar bracket events throughout the season. Teammate Rich Coury will compete in select events and has already made a splash in 2012, winning Top Dragster at last weekend’s IHRA Pro-Am opener in Immokalee, FL. The team also added veteran sportsman competitor Jason Lynch over the winter. Lynch, a 2-time IHRA World Champion, will compete in Super Comp and Super Gas beneath the C.A.R.S. banner and serve as a mentor and tuner for Tedesco.
“Meeting Jason and making him part of our team is the best thing that’s happened to my racing career,” expressed Tedesco. “He’s so knowledgeable and patient. He’s already taught me so much.”
Tedesco and Lynch will pursue the NHRA Southeast Division chase this season. While she is extremely excited about the upcoming season, Tedesco is quick to point out that she doesn’t have huge expectations.
“I’m so thankful to be in this situation,” she said. “There aren’t many people who have the opportunity to compete at this level at my age, and I understand that. Obviously we’d love to come out and have success, but at this point my top priority is simply to continue to improve. I’ve got a lot to learn. I just want to get a little better each week and have fun. As a team, our main goal is to show everyone what we stand for, and to be a light for God.”
Mia and her C.A.R.S. Protection Plus team will compete at Orlando Speedworld Dragway this weekend before continuing along the NHRA Southeast Division tour for another Lucas Oil Division Event on February 17-19 at Gainesville Raceway. C.A.R.S. Protection Plus is a Pittsburgh based company that offers a complete line of service contracts to meet the specific needs of pre-owned vehicle owners nationwide. For more information, visit carsprotectionplus.com.