Meet Jade Avedisian, the teenager poised to be the next great female driver

Meet Jade Avedisian, the teenager poised to be the next great female driver

Kyle Larson sees the success that teenage female racer Jade Avedisian has had winning races and a championship in dirt midgets and knows many will look at her as possibly the next best female race-car driver.

“She’s young,” Larson said. “So she’s got a long runway to keep improving and hopefully there is not much pressure on her or anything so she can just kind of be herself to learn and develop and get the experience she needs.”

It might be too late when it comes to the pressure. Considering that seconds before Larson said that about the 17-year-old Avedisian, he said this:

“I feel like she’s the best female that’s come up in quite a while in the dirt-track stuff,” Larson said. “She’s got a very aggressive style and she’s fun to watch. … A great lady, a great family and comes from the West Coast, too, and so that’s another reason for me to cheer for her.

“I’m excited to see how her career progresses.”

If Larson, considered one of the best racing talents in the world, is excited to watch someone, that probably means expectations are relatively high.

“It’s really cool when people say that about me, but right now … I just try not to look too far in the future,” Avedisian said. 

Jade Avedisian discusses her national title and the other successes that came with it

Avedisian’s accomplishments show why plenty of people are excited to watch her and why Toyota recently signed her to a multiyear contract with the idea to bring her up from sprint cars like it has with Christopher Bell.

–Growing up outside of Fresno, she won a national quarter-midget championship at age 9 and followed that up with other championships along the youth racing ladder.

–She won five Xtreme Outlaw midget races last year to become the first woman to win a national midget championship.

–She is the first woman to earn a top-three finish at a Chili Bowl midget nationals preliminary night. She followed up that preliminary night success in 2023 by making the main event in the Chili Bowl as a rookie.

In addition to continuing to run dirt races in bigger USAC events as she drives for midget powerhouse Keith Kunz Motorsports, Avedisian will begin her transition to asphalt racing this year as she will compete in some road races in a Toyota GR car for Trans Am-winning Nitro Motorsports.

It will be a long learning process. Just the basics of using a clutch were new for her when starting to work in the simulator. So Toyota wants to make sure she gets time to be successful at each level.

“This is not a race to get her to some particular point [by a certain time],” said Toyota Racing Development general manager Tyler Gibbs (no relation to NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs). “It’s really about her maturation as a driver as well as a person.

“She showed incredible poise over the course of the last year and a half or so. We’re excited just to watch that continue to develop and see how she does.”

Kyle Larson on Jade Avedisian and the outlook on her racing career

Winning the championship in a second full season of driving in a series shows her ability to improve and learn, something that will be key moving forward. She admitted she pushed too hard trying to get the lead earlier this season but by summer, she found the sweet spot of being more patient on the track and putting herself in position to use the speed that is in her car.

“It’s great to win races and lead laps, but I think it is another thing to win a championship,” Avedisian said. “Especially after last year — yeah, we won twice but it was more of a wild card. We didn’t podium much, and it was either run really bad or win.

“So to put this whole year together … showed a lot.”

While some dirt-racing competitors have torn aspirations when it comes to their future and whether they race dirt or asphalt, Avedisian doesn’t waver. Beyond playing some golf, her life pretty much focuses on working out at the Toyota Performance Center and her next race. 

“My goal is to make it to the NASCAR Cup Series racing on Sunday,” Avedisian said. “I’m going to leave it to the people at Toyota to hopefully put me in the right spot.”

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including over 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.

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