HOUSTON (April 19) -- Two years ago, reigning Super Gas world champion Mia Tedesco reinforced her true love for drag racing at the annual NHRA Spring Nationals. Now, with a return to Royal Purple Raceway directly ahead, Tedesco hopes to gain even more love for the Southeast Texas speedplant in the Houston suburb of Baytown.
"I've only been to this track once but it was a really cool weekend because of what happened," said Tedesco, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pa. "Jason (Lynch, crew chief and teammate) was racing Super Gas that weekend and he made it to the third round when his engine blew. We had about 45 minutes before the next round and none of us knew if we could make it back in time.
"I called the guys over from the (Top Alcohol) dragster team and a bunch of our friends and fellow racers saw what had happened and jumped in to help. We all worked together and swapped out that motor faster than I've ever seen before and we had Jason back for the next round. It was just so cool to see everyone help like they did."
Although Lynch couldn't complete the fairytale and win the race, the show of incredible sportsmanship lifted Tedesco and crew. It's something she immediately vowed to uphold should the need every arise among any of her fellow racers.
"It's what drag racing is all about: try to beat each other's brains out on the track but be friends back in the pits," she said. "We're always going to help where we can, even if you're helping the team you're scheduled to run next round. It's always more satisfying to beat people on the track then run a solo pass because they can't answer the call."
As usual, Tedesco will race for two titles at the Houston race, piloting the CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil dragster in Top Alcohol and the CARS Vehicle Service Contracts /VP Racing Fuels Chevrolet Cavalier in Super Gas.
"We've already run a few NHRA races and we just got done with back-to-back bracket races so we're making a lot of passes," Tedesco said. "So far we haven't registered a win but there's nothing wrong with the cars. Everything is working well and my driving has been pretty good. We just need to get ourselves on the other side of some of these races that are decided by a few fractions of a second.
"I already have a great memory from Houston. Let's make some more this weekend."
Top Alcohol will hold three qualifying rounds at noon and 3 p.m., Friday, and 12:15 p.m., Saturdaybefore beginning eliminations at 6 p.m., Saturday. If he advances, Laughlin will continue eliminations at 12:30 p.m., Sunday. Sportsman qualifying begins at 8 a.m., Friday. (All times listed in CDT).