For the first time in dirt track racing history, a woman sits atop the points standings of a national Midget series.
That honor belongs to Jade Avedisian – the first female national Midget Feature winner in history, and current Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota points leader by 30 after the first two races on the 2023 schedule.
Nearly 90 years of Midget racing contested in the United States, and never once has a female topped the standings of a national tour. Avedisian’s broken some impressive records and hurdled some tall barriers over the past few years with her success – first in Micro Sprints, then since her Midget debut in 2021 – and said her life hasn’t been the same since.
“It definitely has changed,” Avedisian said. “I think it’s so cool, though. The fans are half of the racing world; the fans make everything that goes on in the racing world.
“I was at Jimmy John’s the other day, and someone was like, ‘Are you Jade?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah!’ I just think that’s so cool.”
After a record-tying run as a rookie in the Chili Bowl Nationals A-Main in January, the 16-year-old Californian turned even more heads in February, breaking the news that she had signed with Keith Kunz Motorsports to chase a championship with the Xtreme Outlaw Series. Two races in, and she’s already been to Victory Lane, capturing the win in the Xtreme Outlaw Showdown finale Saturday night inside the Southern Illinois Center one month ago.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster, winning no matter if it’s the first or the last race,” Avedisian said. “Winning at the first race [weekend] was awesome. It set the bar for what we’re capable of doing this year. I think we’re very capable of getting a few wins, as long as I do my job, and run for a championship as well.”
It was a quick transition for Avedisian in the move to KKM from her former spot at Chad Boat Industries – where she spent the entirety of the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In a matter of weeks following the Chili Bowl, she had signed with the team, met her new crew chief, and was fitted for her new ride aboard the Mobil-1, Bullet/Toyota #71. First thing on their calendar together – the Xtreme Outlaw Showdown in Du Quoin.
“There was a lot of [uncertainty] going into Du Quoin, but I knew that was a fantastic team,” Avedisian said. “Keith [Kunz], Pete [Willoughby, KKM CEO], and Jarrett [Martin] on the wrenches for my car this year, it’s kind of a dream team so far.
“I know as long as I keep doing my job, I know my car is gonna be fantastic every night. It was pretty easy; they got me comfortable super fast, so I was grateful for that.”
Next up, I-55. The high-banked, lightning-fast, 1/3-mile of Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 gave Avedisian some fits in the two Xtreme Outlaw races contested there last year, resulting in 14th and 15th-place finishes in the two-day event. She’ll take on the Pevely, MO track a total of four times in her pursuit of the Series title this year, and the first two are on the horizon next Friday-Saturday, April 14-15.
“I think I’m so much better of a driver than I was last year,” Avedisian said. “I feel like my car is going to really shine there. Switching to a new team – they shine almost every weekend, basically – but they really shine at rough tracks.”
Though the wins are nice, her eyes are on the real prize at the end of the season. Armed with some of the best equipment and team members in the sport, Avedisian knows there’s one key attribute she’ll need all season long if hoisting championship gold at the season finale is in her future.
“I think consistency wins championships,” Avedisian said. “If maybe we don’t have a solid night, it’s still a long season. [Thirty-one] races is still quite a bit to go.”
The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota jumps back into action with the POWRi National Midget League at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 next Friday-Saturday, April 14-15. Tickets are on sale now at XtremeOutlawSeries.com.
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