CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There's a bright spot visible on radar screens of race fans across South Texas in 2023. No, it's not the next batch of tropical downpours, or even an approaching storm coming up out of the Gulf Coast. It's yet another sign of our sport's bright future, one that truly catches the eye.
For 17-year-old open-wheel hotshoe Jaden Edmond, this is a breakout year. He and his dedicated Dad went Kart racing in February, won a couple times; then proceeded to notch an EMod win and even a Limited Modified victory. In all, Edmond has four wins, five top-five and six top-10s in 13 starts.
“Honestly, I can't put my finger on exactly why we're running this well,” he said. “Last year was just a big learning curve for me. We had a lot of things to figure out; I was still learning the car and trying to get myself up to speed. I figured out I could drive the EMod a lot harder into the corners.
“I've always driven a little harder than I probably needed to, but it's because of those Outlaw Karts. They are just so much fun, and you can drive them really hard. But with the Limited Modified, you have to ease into the corners. It's a totally different driving style to be fast than I was used to before.”
Now in his 12th year of racing, Edmond got an early start and hasn't faded in any way, shape or form.
“I got started when I was five years old racing Karts in the Youth division,” he explained. “When I turned seven, I got into an Outlaw Kart. I ran a Modified animal the next year, then moved up to a 125cc Outlaw, then eventually a 500cc Outlaw Kart, which I continue to run now when I have time.”
The fact he has already won a race at Texana in a Limited Modified speaks volumes of his talents. Given the level of competition he faces in South Texas, it's no easy task to even hit the podium.
“I feel like we have some of the toughest competition in Limited in all of Texas,” Edmond said. “There are plenty of heavy hitters at Texana and at the Race Ranch here in Corpus every time we unload. So it's tough to stay up front with those guys, but we try knowing eventually the stars will align for a win.
“It's just me and my Dad that do this, I have no family lineage to draw from. It's just us having to figure this stuff out on our own. I think we just got lucky here earlier this year playing around with stuff. But we're both learning what works and what doesn't, so I feel like we're making good progress this year.”
Edmond splits his time between EMods and Limiteds, although he'll spend more time in the Limited now as he prepares to advance to that division full-time in the future. Both cars are very nice machines.
“The yellow car we call the 'Nuclear Banana' is our Limited Modified,” he explained. “That's a 2020 Innovative Chassis we got from Steven Whiteaker Jr., and our EMod is a 2012 Express that we also got from Steven. They're both great cars, and Steven has been a huge help to us getting them dialed in.”
Along with his natural driving skills and quality race cars, Edmond also has great people in his corner.
“I have several nice people to thank who give me advice and enjoy helping me, including Steven Whiteaker Jr., Steven Whiteaker III, Marcus Mikulencak, Lawrence Mikulencak, Nathan Titzman and Dustin Butcher. They've all been super helpful and I appreciate their guidance.
“I also want to thank our great sponsors, including Moore Supply Company, Edmond's Coastal Plumbing, DarPro Construction, WW Bodies, Ace Transmission and Little Woodrow's. I couldn't do this without them. I'd also like to dedicate every race, win or lose, to my childhood racing buddy, Brandon Anderson, who we lost unexpectedly in July of last year at 15. He won't be forgotten.”
With the month of May now here and tons of racing ahead, Edmond knows what he wants to achieve.
“We're planning to run the Limited a lot more, and I want to go race at more IMCA tracks,” he said. “I got my IMCA license last week, and I'd really like to try my hand at Heart O' Texas Speedway in Waco. I know that traveling to different track and running against the veterans will help me improve.”
Pretty wise for a 17-year-old still paying his dues and climbing the ladder. He's got it right; win in Karts before you try EMods, win there before you step up to a Limited Mod. One step at a time, big guy.
“There's just so much to learn when it comes to the Limited, the curve is steeper plus the guys in that division have been doing it for years. A lot of them have new cars, and they're experienced enough so they already know what I'll learn in the next two years. I'll get there, while my Dad and I have a blast.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo submitted by Jaden Edmond