CARTERSVILLE, GA – Chase Edge of Lafayette, AL has reached another plateau in his short dirt late model racing career as the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series 2011 VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year Award. The 2011 season was a continuation of success for the 18-year-old driver both on and off the race track.
Edge finished fourth in the 2011 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series point standings, and finished on top of four other VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year 2011 candidates, Mark Tice of Avon, MS, Frank Wilson of Harold, FL, Tootie Arnold of Bude, MS, and Jake Knight of Georgetown, MS, in the Top 15 of the point standings.
In 2011, Edge turned in 1,230 points with five top five finishes, ten top 10 finishes and one fast time award in 17 starts driving the Tower Maintenance/Edge’s Gas Company Special. Those top five finishes were highlighted by a pair of second-place finishes at Penton Raceway in Penton, AL on May 20 and East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, Al on July 3.
Edge will pocket $17,585 from the 2011 season that includes prize and point fund money and the $5,000 VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year Award from VP Racing Fuels, the Official Racing Fuel of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.
The 2011 season followed up a successful 2010 season that put Edge on the radar screen of dirt late model racing when he captured the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series East Region Championship and the late model title at East Alabama Motor Speedway.
In 2010, Edge had six wins, 28 top fives and 30 top tens in 31 starts. The 2011 NeSmith Chevrolet WRS season also saw Edge take five wins, nine top fives and 12 top tens in 14 starts for a Top 20 effort in the point standings.
Edge becomes the second driver in the seven-year history of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series to capture both a Weekly Racing Series title and the VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year title, but the first to take the WRS Championship and then grab the RoY honors. Scott Knowles of Lanett, AL won the 2008 VP Racing Fuels RoY Award, and then won the WRS East Region Championship in 2009.
Now Edge can aim at becoming the second driver in NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series history to follow up winning the VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year Award by taking the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Touring Championship. The 2007 VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, GA followed up by winning the 2008 NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS Touring Championship.
In 2012, Edge will also be looking to become the second driver in series history to win the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Touring Championship before reaching his 20th birthday.
Eric Cooley of Fulton, MS finished seventh in the series point standings, third in the VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year points, but came back in 2009 to win the series title at the age of 18, the youngest driver to win a national dirt late model championship in the history of the sport, and followed that up in 2010 with his second straight championship.
“There are a lot of similarities between Chase Edge and Eric Cooley in that they’re not flamboyant, they don’t say much, choosing to speak with their actions on the track, and they’re both smooth and consistent,” NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series President of Operations and Communications Roby Helm said. “Neither driver brings a lot of attention to themselves until they’re in the race car, and even then, they’re not that aggressive. “
Helm, who also serves as the NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS Announcer is known to give drivers colorful nicknames. He thinks he has come up with one that fits Edge.
“Chase Edge is the ‘Silent Assassin’ because you never know he’s around until it’s time to go to work,” Helm said. “By the time the checkered flag falls in a race Chase is in, you almost always know he’s there. It leaves you saying to yourself, where did he come from?”
Success was not only achieved on the race track by Edge, but also off the track, as balancing racing and school became the focus of Edge’s life in 2011. On one special night, they overlapped.
May 20, 2011 saw two big events on the calendar in the life of Chase Edge. It was graduation night for Edge at Chambers Academy High School in Lafayette, AL, and it was also race night for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at Penton Raceway, located 15 minutes Northwest of Lafayette.
At 3 p.m., Edge was the first driver to register his race car for the event and pushed it through the pre-race technical inspection. He then left the track, went home and changed clothes for the graduation ceremony. At 6 p.m., the graduation ceremony began and Edge walked across the stage to receive his diploma.
With “Pomp and Circumstance” playing in the background and Edge having graduated with honors, he left Chambers Academy, diploma in hand, and hurried back to Penton Raceway in time for time trials. Edge qualified third fastest among the 28 entrants, won the first of four heat races, started fifth in the main event and finished second to William Thomas of Phenix City, AL.
When asked about the significance of the his special day in his young life, having graduated with honors and then earning his best NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series career finish, Edge simply said, “I’ve been so busy today, I really haven’t time to think about it.”
What made the night extra special was that it all happened right in his home town. Edge’s parents, Bill and Debbie Edge, promote Penton Raceway and were the 2009 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series Co-Promoters of the Year. Edge grew up at the 3/8-mile clay oval and began his racing career in the Bomber Division at the age of 13.
Edge stayed in the top five of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series for most of the 2011 season. One of the highlights of Edge’s season came in the second race of the season when Edge set fast time honors against a stout 46-car field at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, FL on February 25.
Hard work in the classroom was the priority for Edge because that is a prerequisite to have success on the race track. “My parents told me that I had to keep up my grades in order to keep racing,” Edge said. “If I didn’t have good grades, I wouldn’t have a race car.” Even with high school behind him, 2011 presented Edge with yet a new academic challenge.
Having graduated from Chambers Academy with honors, Edge was awarded with a scholarship at Southern Union College in Opelika, AL. Not only has Edge set goals on the race track, but he has also set some high goals for his education.
“My plan is to attend Southern Union for two years, and then transfer to Auburn University in Auburn, AL,” Edge said. “I’d like to major in Mechanical Engineering at Auburn.”
Next year, Edge will begin to reach for the next rung in climbing the ladder of success in his racing career when the challenge of competing for the NeSmith Cup and the 2012 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Championship begins at East Bay Raceway Park on February 2, 3, and 4 with the first three events of the 2012 series season.
Chase Edge – The Silent Assassin. Edge is a young man that is short and to the point with what he says. On the race track, Edge does his talking with his right foot, and in the classroom, Edge does his talking with his Grade Point Average. Edge will be a good fit at the university he wants to attend – short on words, long on results – War Eagle!
For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series visit the series web site at www.nesmithracing.com, or visit the series on Facebook at NeSmith Racing. Becoming a fan of the NeSmith Racing Facebook page will make you eligible for special prizes that will be given away each month.
NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC of Claxton, GA is the Title Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC is the nation’s number one GM Powertrain Dealer four years running, with free delivery anywhere in the Southeast. GM Performance Parts is an Official Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. Hoosier Racing Tire is the Official Tire Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. VP Racing Fuel is the Official Racing Fuel of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. Hedman Hedders is the Official Hedder of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series and the Hedman Husler Award sponsor. Old Man’s Garage (OMG) is the sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series East Region. NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Contingency Sponsors for 2011 are Dominator Race Products, Race Car Engineering, KRC, QA 1 Precision Products, Modern Images, Mike Custom Tanks, Shorty’s Shock Service, Schoenfeld Headers, Integra Racing Shocks, J.T. Kerr Racing Equipment, Cofields Racing Starters, Kinser Air Filters, Trak-Star Race Cars, Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis, GRT Race Cars, TNT Race Cars, and Stinger Race Cars.