Chase Edge Is Among Rising Late Model Stars

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Chase Edge was the top rookie in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.
Chase Edge was the top rookie in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Chase Edge of Lafayette, Ala., 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, Miss., Frank Wilson of Harold, Fla., Tootie Arnold of Bude, Miss., and Jake Knight of Georgetown, Miss., in the top 15 of the 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, Ala., May 20 and East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, Ala., 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 10s in 31 starts. The 2011 NeSmith Chevrolet WRS season also saw Edge take five wins, nine top fives and 12 top 10s 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.

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.

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, Ala., 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.

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 three-eighths-mile clay oval and began his racing career in the Bomber Division at the age of 13.

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, Ala. 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, Ala.,” Edge said. “I’d like to major in Mechanical Engineering at Auburn.”