Mind on the Money: Mia Tedesco Focusing on Challenge of Big-Money Bracket Races
Mia Tedesco had carved out a successful path in the sportsman ranks, racking up the 2016 NHRA Super Gas world championship. But as she started to mix that with bracket racing, one thing became clear: she was going to have to choose one or the other. The rising star put her focus on bracket racing in 2018 and she hasn’t looked back.
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #155, the Women of Power Issue, in April of 2020.]
“I found I do perform my best when I focus on one thing, and I decided if we’re going to give this a go, we’re going to go all in,” Tedesco says. “I do miss all three of those class (Super Gas, Top Alcohol Dragster and Super Comp), but I’m getting to make so many more runs, you get to race a lot and you get to make money. I’m really excited about it and I think this is going to be a good year.”
Tedesco proved early in her career she was a force to be reckoned with, and it’s something she’s ready to display in the bracket racing world driving her Race Tech dragster and ’68 Camaro, which originally belonged to her uncle. It’s a throwback to Tedesco’s early racing days, but a stark shift from where she had been thriving.
The lure of competing for big money on bracket racing’s biggest stages was simply too much to pass up. She is slated to run all the major races this year, including the two races where $1 million is guaranteed to the winner.
“To see how far it’s come, it’s mind-blowing,” Tedesco says. “When we really started, it was beginning to blow up, and having these big races got me super interested in it. It’s almost hard to wrap your head around it.”
That aspect can certainly get the better of drivers, trying to perform with a major check on the line. Tedesco is searching for that massive win, but she’s certainly not undaunted by the challenge.
“I’ve learned to be patient and learned how to not get rattled. It’s really a matter of trying to stay even-keel the entire weekend,” says Tedesco, who welcomed Moser Engineering as a partner in 2020, joining Hoosier Tires, Abruzzi Transmission and Converters, and Wilkerson Racing Engines. “I’m used to so many different scenarios, it takes lot to rattle me. We’re super focused and I think it’s going to be a successful year.”
Tedesco’s influence continues to be felt on multiple levels as well. Close friend Megan Meyer leaned on her for advice as Meyer battled for her first NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world championship last year, while Tedesco welcomes the chance to steer young, aspiring drivers in the right direction.
It comes with a different spotlight in bracket racing, but being a positive role model has always brought out the best in Tedesco.
“That’s definitely an awesome feeling,” Tedesco says. “If there’s kids at the races, I always try to talk with them, and it’s nice to have a positive influence on them. For me, racing is a fun challenge because you know you’re going to get the best out of people. But that’s the cool thing. Anybody can win the race, and sometimes it’s between you and 800 other people. That’s what makes this such a fun and diverse sport.”