CONCORD, NC – Jade Avedisian became the winningest driver in Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota history and the first female driver to take the checkered flag in a national Midget race in 2022. This year, she’s poised to make more history, chasing the Series title with one of Midget racing’s most decorated teams.
Avedisian has joined Keith Kunz Motorsports and will run all 35 races on the Xtreme Outlaw Midget schedule in pursuit of her first national championship. Piloting a Bullet by Spike Chassis with Toyota Racing power by Speedway Engine Development, the young Californian will drive KKM’s iconic #71 with sponsorship from Mobil 1 on the full-time Xtreme Midget roster.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” Avedisian said. “Keith and Pete [Willoughby, team co-owner] are giving me a shot, and to have Mobil 1 on this year is going to be really cool.
“There’s a lot of pressure obviously, because I want to win, and everyone wants to win. So, I’m going to give it all I’ve got and see what happens.”
At 16 years old, Avedisian has already begun breaking ground in the Midget world. She became the first female driver to claim the checkered flag in a national Midget race last June, leading the Xtreme Outlaw Feature at Jacksonville Speedway flag-to-flag to bank the $5,000 prize on the historic Sunday night in Illinois.
She backed that win up in October with her second Xtreme Outlaw victory of the year, becoming the current winningest driver in Series history. She beat POWRi National Midget champion Bryant Wiedeman to the line in a near photo-finish to win the season finale at I-44 Riverside Speedway.
Both of her record victories came in cars fielded by team owner Chad Boat, who she drove for in her first full-time Midget season last year. Avedisian first partnered with Boat in 2021 for her rookie Midget campaign on a part-time schedule after several years competing and winning in the Micro Sprint ranks, which she said all has prepared her for her next Midget venture at KKM.
“My year last year with Chad and everyone at [Chad Boat Industries] was really great,” Avedisian said. “I think that really helped me learn and progress into this year to have this opportunity with Mobil 1, Toyota Racing and Keith Kunz Motorsports.”
Kunz has kept a close eye on Avedisian’s racing career for the past several years, watching her rise from Jr. Sprints through the Micro Sprint ranks and into the national Midget scene. After her record-setting season in 2022 and her A-Main appearance as a rookie at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January, Kunz knew Avedisian was going to make a strong addition to his team in 2023.
“She was at the top of Toyota’s and our radar,” Kunz said. “We just eventually gravitated toward each other as her career’s moved along. She was able to get a couple wins last year with Chad Boat and had really solidified herself as a strong competitor.
“We’re all looking to take her to the next level and win more races and chase an Xtreme championship this year.”
In the midst of a remarkable wave of youthful talent sweeping through the national Midget ranks in the past five years came a variety of skilled female racers as well – several of which Kunz has fielded cars for and made defining moments in Midget racing.
From the days of Sarah McCune’s starts in KKM cars in the early 2000s, to Holly Shelton’s multi-season tenure with the team in the 2010s, to Kaylee Bryson’s groundbreaking achievement in becoming the first woman to start the Chili Bowl A-Main last year, Kunz has developed some of the best female racing talent in Midget history and looks to drivers like Avedisian to carry the torch for other female racers into the future.
“For us, it’s been really cool to see that progression and be a part of it,” Kunz said. “I think there’s going to be a day that comes when there’s just as many girls winning races as guys.”
Kunz’s experience, his mechanics’ knowledge and Avedisian’s skill behind the wheel will combine to form what is poised to be one of the most competitive Midget teams in the country.
“That’s what it’s going to take to win the championship – she’s going to have to be a consistent competitor for the win every night,” Kunz said. “I think we can put her in that position. We’re really looking forward to it.”
“I honestly feel like we have a really good chance to win the championship,” Avedisian said. “It’s one of my goals to win the championship, and hopefully, win some races as well.”
Don’t miss Avedisian take on the entire Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota schedule in her first season with Keith Kunz Motorsports. For tickets to events, visit XtremeOutlawSeries.com or stream every lap live on your device with the DIRTVision app.
Photo Credit – Jacy Norgaard