Thursday, Aug 18

Toyota Dirt Driver Spotlight: Jade Avedisian

Wednesday, Jul 06 520

Toyota Dirt Driver Spotlight

Jade Avedisian

CB Industries - Toyota Spike

Age: 15

Hometown: Clovis, Calif.

Toyota development driver Jade Avedisian became the second woman ever to win a national midget feature event on June 26, when she led all 30 laps of the POWRi/Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series at Jacksonville Speedway. It wasn’t the first time the 15-year-old has shined on the national midget circuit, though. In 2021, she earned a POWRi top-five finish at age 14 at Lake Ozark Speedway in a limited schedule, then went on to place fourth in USAC competition in just her seventh race in the series at Merced last November.  She followed that up by earning her first USAC podium finish at Ocala in February where she led the first 18 laps before Justin Grant slipped past her in lapped traffic. She then went on to become just the seventh woman ever to win a USAC Midget Fast Qualifier Award during Indiana Midget Week at Lincoln Park Speedway. Prior to moving up to the midget ranks, Avedisian dominated at the micro sprint level, earning 12 victories in 2021.

Jade, you’ve risen up the ranks quickly, tell us about how it started?

JA: My dad never raced, but he worked on Michael Faccinto’s dad’s sprint car. He bought a quarter midget when I was three or four and we just kind of took it out to the parking lot. I liked it, but then stopped doing it for about a year. Then I started racing quarter midgets when I was seven at Madera, then started racing micros when I was nine at Plaza Park, Lemoore Raceway and Delta Speedway. I began racing midgets last year when I was 14.

Did you grow up with a favorite driver?

JA: Well, I’m not sure I’m done growing up (laughing). I don’t know. I think everyone who comes into racing is pretty good. Kyle Larson is obviously really, really good.

And you raced against Kyle in your first handful of races in USAC, what was that like for you?

JA: It was really cool, but I really don’t let it get in my head. I just try to stay focused and run my own race. 

What’s it been like racing with Chad Boat and the CB Industries team?

JA: I couldn’t be any happier with this team. I love Chad. He’s always helping me out whenever I have a question. I’m able to lean on him as a former driver. I’m just really happy and am really looking forward to the rest of the year.

Can you talk about your learning curve in running a partial season last year and then coming into 2022?

JA: It’s been pretty tough. I feel like I get better every race with more seat time and more laps. To have a great team behind me makes it easier.  I wanted to be racing at the Chili Bowl, but just watching everything there helped me learn so much and really helped me for this year. 

After you finished third at Ocala, Justin Grant was interviewed afterward and said you would win a midget race this season, how did that feel? 

JA: It was awesome. I’ve always looked up to Justin. For him to say something like that really boosts your confidence. 

Can you tell us about your win at Jacksonville?

JA: It was a really big night. I definitely didn’t think I was going to win. For it to actually happen was pretty amazing. I knew I had to get a good start to set my own pace. Lapped traffic was pretty tough. At one point it was three-wide, and I got really lucky with a late caution. I saw the white flag come out and my only thought was to not plug it into the fence. My team deserves all the credit. I had always wanted to stand on top of a midget and celebrate. Hopefully there will be more to come. It’s still a surreal feeling.

A lot of people don’t realize that you haven’t raced at most of the tracks on the midget schedule, what’s that been like? 

JA: Every racetrack seems like a new track for me. When we went through Indiana Midget Week, I had never been at any of those tracks.  I feel like any track you go to for a second time, you’re going to feel a little more comfortable.  Overall, I think it’s going to make me a better driver just to experience all of these new tracks. It’s definitely tough, but it provides a lot of learning.

There had been so much attention about women never having won in midgets and now in a span of a month, two women have won and when you were Fast Qualifier at Lincoln Park, you were one of four women who qualified in the top four, what’s that been like to be among a number of women not only racing midgets, but having success?

JA: It’s definitely cool that I’m not the only girl out here. I feel all the women have stepped up out here this year. I think it makes all of us a little more comfortable. It’s awesome to be among the first women to win, but my goal has always simply been to win every time I hit the track. We all have the same goal, and we all race each other the same.

What are you looking to accomplish the rest of the 2022 season?

JA: After getting that first win, now I just want to start getting consistent top-three and top-five finishes. We have a lot of racing coming up in July and I’m really looking forward to it.

What do you do when you’re not racing?

JA: I really don’t do that much. I pick one thing out and that’s racing. I go to the gym three days a week. I really don’t get to do too much because we’re always getting home on a Sunday and we’re leaving again on Thursday. It’s a short week, so I just catch up on all of the stuff I need to do. I used to go to school, but they got mad because I was missing so many days, so I decided to do on-line school.

What’s your long-term goal?

JA: Racing is what I want to do. I love it so much. I’d really like to get into asphalt, so I would say NASCAR is my main goal. We’ve been practicing in a late model if I ever get the opportunity.

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