After challenging rookie run, Mariah Ede returns to Chili Bowl Nationals with renewed confidence

After challenging rookie run, Mariah Ede returns to Chili Bowl Nationals with renewed confidence
DB3Inc/Dave Biro

TULSA, Okla.—Mariah Ede was searching for a fresh form of horsepower. 

The second of Chad and Cari Ede’s four daughters enjoyed her equestrian pursuits in Hunter/Jumper classes.  But once she became serious about racing, Ede, 17, elected to follow her bloodlines into motorsports. 

“My great grandpa was Jeff Gordon's crew chief in midgets, and my grandpa and my dad raced, so it's a family tradition,” Ede said. “I have three sisters. I’m the boy in the family (laughs). I’m the only one that wanted to race. They’re all still into horses.” 

Her great-grandfather, Fred Ede, worked with Gordon in California and then commuted when the four-time NASCAR champion and Hall of Famer moved to Pittsboro, Indiana. The elder Ede shepherded a variety of aspiring open-wheelers, including Ryan Newman and the late Kenny Irwin.  

When she was eight, Ede, made her first trip to Tulsa to watch the Chili Bowl Nationals. She remembers meeting fellow Californian Rico Abreu, who was gracious enough to take a picture with Ede. Two years later, she tried her hand at Outlaw Karts, then micro sprints. For the last three seasons, Ede has competed in POWRi 600cc Outlaw Micros. 

Last year, she made her Chili Bowl Nationals debut in the No. 71E with Keith Kunz Motorsports. She finished fourth in the Thursday heat, seventh in her qualifier, and ninth in the first B Feature.

“We made it to a J Main on Saturday, but it was just my third race in a midget,” Ede said. “So I was still fairly new to the sport. This year I ran a full season with Keith. It's definitely better than it was last year. Made the A Main on Tuesday, so it's way better than last year.”

Ede finished third in her heat on Tuesday and fifth in her qualifier. Her fourth-place run in the second B feature advanced Ede to the A Main, where she finished 15th. 

On Saturday, Ede rolls off from the first row of the first D feature—with a lot more laps under her belt than during her rookie year. KKM featured Ede in a potpourri of POWRi, USAC and Xtreme Outlaw Midgets in 2022.

“I'm really comfortable in these cars with Keith, especially after running in midgets for a year,” Ede said. “Last Chili Bowl was fairly nervous. I really didn't know how to drive a midget like I how I do this year. So it's been a lot better.” 

This season Ede will continue her studies at Clovis East High School, where she is a junior. When she’s not running midgets with KKM, she’ll compete in sprint cars throughout the Golden State with her family team—Ede Motorsports.

“Me and my dad will go race 360s,” Ede said. “There's a lot of tracks in California that are nearby my house, so we'll run a lot.  

“Xtreme was definitely the most difficult of the series. I had a lot of bad luck. But we’re definitely getting better.”

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