Nothing is Guaranteed But Buddy Kofoid is an Obvious Chili Bowl Pick
Jan 10, 2023
It was just hot laps, but Jade Avedisian made her Chili Bowl arrival loud and clear Tuesday with a blistering lap that was almost two-tenths faster than the current track record set by Buddy Kofoid.
10.582 compared to a 10.751.
It's going to be a different experience when Avedisian goes to race on Tuesday night in her qualifier but she's yet to meet a challenge she didn't meet head on. The 16-year-old won twice in Xtreme Outlaw competition over the summer and has quickly established herself as a fearless and tenacious prospect capable of becoming a marquee attraction in the Expo Center for years to come.
Like seriously, it’s the subtle confidence that is most striking when speaking to Avedisian. She believes wholeheartedly in her abilities and immediately backs up the subtle swagger with results.
"Realistically, I want to lock into the main event," said Avedisian. "For my first Chili Bowl, I think that would be good. I want to win, but to lock in, that's the first goal."
Reading the quote doesn’t do it justice because it’s said with no intended arrogance. It’s almost said in a way that implies an understanding that maybe she isn’t supposed to say it because who goes into their first Chili Bowl expecting to make the main event and maybe contend for the win?
Answer: Probably a driver that turns her third ever session on the track and unofficially breaks the track record. It’s the same driver that in her first full-time Midget season became the second female to win a national series race and won twice in Xtreme Outlaw competition.
Like, again, the confidence: What are your goals, Jade Avedisian?
"I'm not totally sure what I'm doing this year, but I just want to get in a car, and I want to win five times or so," Avedisian said. "Hopefully in five or 10 years, I can race on pavement, some NASCAR and race in Cup."
She believes it wholeheartedly when she says it.
And there's no reason for her not to feel that way after winning twice but contending in various other races throughout the season.
"Last year meant the world to me," Avedisian said. "That first win at Jacksonville was awesome and doing it again, becoming the first repeat winner in series history at I-44, was a great feeling. Hopefully I can keep racing the Midget this year and get the same feeling."
The confidence and conviction aside, did the success surprise her at all?
"Yes and no," she said. Not about myself, but I knew I had a good team behind me that would give me everything I needed to be in contention to win. It was just up to me to get it done. I am really grateful for the car they gave me in those races.
"I showed up and showed out on those races, starting on the front row helped, and it was just taking advantage of good situations in those races."
Team owner and veteran racer Chad Boat believes in her as well.
"The results speak for themselves, right," Boat said. "For her to go out there and do things other females have never done before, that's a statement. But that's just is -- she doesn't want to be compared to other female drivers before her.
"She wants to be compared to Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson. She has a ton of talent and potential and can only get better with more experience."
Avedisian credits Boat for his mentorship too.
"He's awesome," Avedisian said. "I'm still learning so his experience as a racer is huge because these cars are so different than a Micro. For someone who has recent racing experience to open his whole playbook to me, that's been huge."
And to his point about not wanting to be compared to other women in the sport, Avedisian says becoming the first driver to repeat wins in Xtreme Outlaw competition was a bigger accomplishment to her than any comparison to women before her.
"I never thought about the woman stuff because I just want to win," she said. "To be the second winner was cool but becoming the first repeat winner was a bigger deal to me than the woman stuff."
Photo: Jacy Norgaard