Mia Tedesco became the first woman to win the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Super Gas national championship when she claimed the title during the running of the Division 7 event Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Tedesco led the Super Gas national points standings heading into this race, and the 22-year-old had already finished accumulating points to her national-title count with her CARS Protection Plus/VP Racing Fuels Super Gas Chevrolet Cavalier. She had to wait on challengers Tommy Phillips and Brad Pierce, who were racing in Vegas, before she could celebrate.
I haven’t told myself I won anything until it was truly official. It hasn’t sunk it yet, but it sure is awesome.
But when Phillips and Pierce went out in the second round, Tedesco was assured the championship.
“It’s still sinking in,” Tedesco said. “I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. I’ve been leading for a while, but I haven’t really let that mean anything. I haven’t told myself I won anything until it was truly official. It hasn’t sunk it yet, but it sure is awesome.
“From the beginning, we let it over to God and realized how blessed we are and that we really don’t have any control. The goal at the beginning of the year was to get 650 points, and we accomplished that – and the championship followed with it. We were happy with our performance, whether we ended up winning or coming in second or wherever. Thankfully, we ended up winning.”
Tedesco won two Super Gas races this season, a national event and a Division 3 race at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. She’s held the lead since the summer, and no one could catch her.
But it was by no means a coast to the finish. Phillips was her closest threat, and he needed to win in Vegas to pass Tedesco.
“He’s one of the best Sportsman racers in this sport, so for him to have to win this race to catch you is a pretty scary feeling,” Tedesco said.
While waiting in the lanes Sunday to make her Round 2 pass, Tedesco got word that Phillips went red against Lloyd Parfait.
“He was the immediate threat, and it was a huge weight lifted off your shoulders,” Tedesco said. “I never wish for him to lose, but we all hugged and said, ‘Good job. Now we only have one more to worry about.’”
Pierce, who had to win in Vegas and Pomona to catch Tedesco, was next.
“As I was pulling around the corner to make my run, our crew chief opens my door and said, ‘Congrats, champ! Brad just went red,’” Tedesco said. “It was pretty incredible to try and go race after that.”
Tedesco composed herself and beat Diana Anderson that round, though she fell in the third round. By then, of course, the celebration had begun.
“It’s been a pretty crazy year,” Tedesco said. “I’ve been leading since the end of summer, and at first I was like, ‘That’s funny.’ I hadn’t set a goal to lead the points. My goal was to win a national event this year, go rounds and have fun, so when I started leading, I thought, ‘That’s pretty funny. I’ve never done that before.’
“Once I started leading, I led until now, and it was incredible.”
In addition to the Super Gas national title, Tedesco also won the Division 3 Super Gas championship as well as the North Central Region championship with her CARS Protection Plus/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster.
Tedesco thanked her parents, Michael and Cindy; her sister Natalie; boyfriend Andy Price, team manager Jason Lynch and crew chief Jason “Krusty” Oteri. Plus, Tedesco gave a shout out to sponsors CARS Protection Plus, Lucas Oil, Aamco, VP Racing Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tire, Quick Fuel Technology, Wilkerson Racing Engines and Abruzzi Transmissions.
Tedesco’s dad and boyfriend, as well as Lynch and Oteri, were at the race to celebrate.
“We’re probably going to go to dinner, enjoy each other’s company,” Tedesco said, “and let it sink in a little bit more.”