ROCKINGHAM — The only way the weekend would have been better for Morgan Tedder was to have it end in the winner’s circle.
Or have her mother not watch a race through her hands and fingers.
Those may happen sooner than later.
Tedder surprised herself and made the field for Sunday’s races. After getting a few hours of sleep, Tedder was back in her pits preparing for her first-round matchup in the Top Dragster elimination round at the PDRA Spring Open at Rockingham Dragway.
“I really didn’t expect to qualify,” Tedder said.
Tedder, who was driving in her first Top Dragster competition after moving up from the junior dragster ranks, qualified 10th and faced the No. 2 seed, Eddie Careccia, in the opening round.
Before getting into line for her race, Tedder talked about how her crew was trying to find a way to add more weight to the front of the car because it was “doing wheelies” at the start.
It was the same story for Tedder against Careccia as her car lifted up in the beginning before settling back down on the track. Tedder kept the car under control and used the majority of the lane without crossing into her opponent’s lane.
When Tedder and Careccia reached the finish line, a “W” flashed on the scoreboard in the left lane signaling that Tedder had pulled off the upset. Her crew, car owner and parents let out a little cheer, but not everyone was happy.
After returning to her pit, Tedder walked away and needed some time to herself.
“I shouldn’t let people affect me,” Tedder said about a conversation with Careccia following the race. “Over time I won’t let that get to me. Sportsmanship is very important.”
With nearly 3 1/2 hours before her next race, Tedder cleared her mind by taking “a 30-minute nap.” After waking up, Tedder shifted gears and started to prepare for her quarterfinal race.
“I started practicing my starts on my practice tree,” Tedder said.
Moments later, Tedder’s start in her race with Travis Harvey would doom her chances of taking home the championship at her home track. Tedder jumped the gun and was red-lighted, giving Harvey the victory. Harvey would eventually win the title.
“I knew it,” Tedder said. “It was pretty bad.”
Instead of getting upset at her loss, Tedder was upbeat and looking forward to her chance to get behind the wheel again. She is scheduled to compete in the next PDRA event May 9 to 10 in Valdosta, Ga.
“I have seen it (her car) at its worse and I was able to keep it under control,” Tedder said. “I will have a completely different mindset.”
While Tedder may have one, the same probably can’t be said about her mother, Crysti Leviner. Leviner was a bundle of nerves and bounced around from place to place Saturday night watching her daughter, but was a little better the following day.
“I could sit still, but I was still thinking something could go wrong,” Leviner said. “This a huge, huge accomplishment for her. This week has been a learning lesson for her.”