Toyota Dirt Driver Spotlight: Jade Avedisian

Toyota Dirt Driver Spotlight

Jade Avedisian

Keith Kunz Motorsports – Mobil 1 Toyota Bullet by Spike

Age: 16

Hometown: Clovis, Calif.

Toyota development driver Jade Avedisian is the winningest female driver in national midget history with three victories split between the Xtreme Outlaw and POWRi ranks. This week she will be shooting for her first USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series win during the four-race Mid-America Midget Week. Currently sitting fifth in the championship race, she’s earned eight top-10 finishes in nine USAC races this season, including a third in the most recent event at Lawrenceburg and a runner-up showing at Belleville.

Jade, how has the transition over to Keith Kunz Motorsports been for you?

JA: It’s been great. Things have gone pretty well this year so far. We won one time in Xtreme. We started the USAC season off strong with a second at Belleville on the opening weekend. For them to get me comfortable in our Mobil 1 Toyota so fast really tells you something. Hats off to everyone at Keith Kunz Motorsports. We learn every race and we gain something each time out. 

Last year, you made headlines as just the second woman ever to win a national midget feature, how are things different for you this year?

JA: It’s crazy to think it’s already been a year since winning my first Midget feature race. Last year it was a big deal being a girl and winning a national feature. The goals have definitely changed. Last year, it was wanting to win ‘a’ race. Now we’re in contention to win every night and my goal is to win every race. I think that comes down to Keith Kunz, Pete Willoughby and (crew chief) Jarrett Martin. They put consistent cars out every time. It’s just up to me to perform. That’s pretty cool.

What is your outlook heading into Mid-America Midget Week?

JA: We had a decent run at Indiana Midget Week and closed out the week with a third at Lawrenceburg so we are looking to build on that. We had a fourth-place finish at Jefferson County last year and, hopefully, we’ll get some more strong runs this week. The big thing is we just need to keep learning and getting better every time out.

In addition to the on-track move, you’ve also moved from California to North Carolina to train at the Toyota Performance Center. How has that gone for you?

JA: The move has been really good. Everyone at Toyota and the Toyota Performance Center has been great. You get so much more out of it living in North Carolina with the workouts and conditioning, and the nutritionists. There’s just so many great people there. I’ve been getting on the simulator which obviously is going to help me out if I do, hopefully, get to asphalt.  

Has it been hard to move cross country at just 16 years old?

JA: It’s tough with my family and friends being back in California. But you just have to look at it as this is definitely what I want to do with my life. I think I really need to be in North Carolina to succeed. It’s definitely tough, but in the end, I think this has been the right move for me to make.