Tina Høst Nedregård and her remarkable 2023 Top Methanol debut

To say that Tina Høst Nedregård impressed at her championship debut is an understatement. The 34-year old Norwegian finalized her licensing procedure at Gardermoen Raceway to claim the number one qualifying position less than a week later at the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals at Tierp Arena. Maybe even more impressive than the number one qualifying position was the way she controlled the car and the elapsed time. The 5.265 seconds on what was her second official qualifying run, was the third quickest pass in European Top Methanol history! And with a 5.30-second run in the first round of eliminations, she proved that it was no coincidence at all.

At the end of the 2022 season there was the first sign that Daniel Jedborn would step back as a driver and handover the driving duties of the Förch A-Fuel Dragster to his girlfriend Tina Høst Nedregård. After 30 years of racing and several races in the Top Methanol category of the FIA European Championship, where he impressed as well, Daniel would focus on the tuning of the car. After the licensing procedure, Tina Høst Nedregård made her FIA competition debut at the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals. So far that was her only appearance in the FIA European Championship. But there is more to come, so it’s time to meet Tina and learn more about her, her background and plans for the future.

Tell us a bit more about yourself
I’m from Mo i Rana, Norway, where I lived and worked as a machine operator, producing reinforced steel, until June this year when I moved to Sweden, Skellefteå. Me and Daniel work as mechanics on wheel loaders, excavators and other machines at Daniels business Skellefteå Maskinteknik. As well as building and repairing transmissions for racers.

Hobbies?
My 66 Mustang Hardtop, Betty Blue. And I love to go fishing! At sea, or lakes, or ice fishing in the winter. As well as going to our cabin and driving snowmobiles during the winter. Back home I owned and runned a gym with a partner and I do love to work out myself. If we do have time to sit on the couch, I do a lot of knitting. And we both love to travel. So this week we are off to Thailand and are looking forward to some diving, where I will complete my diver certification.

How did you get involved in the sport?
One summer I was visiting my father, Trond Høst, who was a starter at different tracks in Scandinavia. One weekend I joined him and was hooked. After a while a Swedish team reached out on Facebook, and needed some help on a race at Gardermoen. I did not know them but offered my help. That resulted in me being in that team for about 12 years. Birgitta Lindstrom & Micke Frisk in Pro Street.

Did you have any experience as a driver in drag racing before stepping into the dragster?
My only experience was in 2011, when my little brother offered up his Ford Mustang Mach 1 1971. I got to do my license and race in Pro ET. My little brother, John Richard, is sadly not among us anymore. But I do have his picture in the dragster, and we always have a little ´chat´ and a thumbs up before it’s time to hit the pedal.

Daniel drove the dragster before. When did the plan come up and who suggested it to let you drive the car?
It’s a bit funny. When we first got acquainted, my first question for him was “what’s the cost for getting a license in your car.” Little did we know that we didn’t want to live without each other shorty after. When we went to Santa Pod last year, I said “it would be something to drive a nitro car one day”. Daniel’s response was: If you want to drive – drive! I was in shock, excited and terrified at the same time. Daniel has spent the last 30 years to get where he is, in a nitro car. And now he is offering it to me. Thoughts ran through my head. Could I possibly fill his shoes, can I do this, what will the team think about it and so on. But yes, I completely loved the idea. And it turned out amazing.

Where did you make your first runs? How did you prepare yourself for that?
Our original plan was to license at Tierp in June. But then again, it’s not so easy to get several runs in an FIA race, for licensing. We got a call from Pite Dragway, they wanted Daniel to do some show runs. As Pite is so close, and they were racing two weekends in a row, we decided to start the licensing there, where we could do it in our own time and take some pressure off. As most of our team live in the south of Sweden, they did not have the possibility to join us, so we brought some friends and other racers with us. The result of that was that I ended up as crew chief on the car, which normally is Kalle´s job. To be honest, I do not know what I was most nervous of – getting in the car myself, or getting the car to run, with the correct rpm´s, switch to nitro, and all of the other details you need to do for Daniel’s runs.

As of preparation, I wanted to know as much as possible of how this car works from A to Z. So I started working on the car in 2022, as a top end mechanic. And during the winter we used a lot of time picking the car apart, fix what was needed to, and putting everything back together for the season – with Daniel teaching me everything he could. As well as going through logs, giving me some idea of how tune-ups work on nitro cars, and how to think. A/fuels is quite intricate, and difficult to master. Besides this, I spent time in the car, going through routines over and over. So, when it’s go time, I would focus on my job, and not where and what. For me, one of the most important factors is the team. Besides being a competitive person, I need to feel as safe as possible, and that we are in this together. Our team are highly professional, caring, competitive and the most fun people to be around.

You completed your licensing in Gardermoen and one week later you had your official race debut at Tierp. How were those weeks, what did you feel and how was it to claim the number one qualifying position at your first race?
Finishing my license at my home track, Gardermoen Raceway, was fun. But the fact was that I had entered for Tierp already and needed to get the job done. The track was quite challenging, but Daniel came around it. And I really had to drive the car to get it done. All in all, with licensing at difficult tracks, made me learn a lot more than I would have otherwise. Then it was off to Tierp. Both excited and nervous to compete. A fantasy I have had for years was about to come true. The first run was a solo, as it’s supposed to be. And it shook bad at about 100 meters. It was difficult for most of the cars that demand good track conditions. Up next was my first race in a pair, against Tony Bryntesson. The whole team didn’t know what to expect, as Daniel was trying out a bit different tune-up to get around our problems, and with me being a rookie driver. But it turned out that Daniel outsmarted the track, and that I have something to do in the cockpit. 5.26, and the third fastest pass in European history. When I got out of the car, I remember Tore, from Linn´s team, approached me and told me what numbers I got on the board. I don’t think I have ever been so happy about anything.

Did you expect to see those numbers so quickly?
Maybe I didn’t expect to be the number one qualifier all weekend, but if I did what I was supposed to, I knew we had a good shot to be up there. Because the car is fast and runs consistent, as we have seen many times before with Daniel as a driver. And we do know how much knowledge and experience Daniel has as a tuner. And that our team know their job and are highly professional. The biggest question for me was if I would get confident enough. If I did, I knew some good numbers could come with it.

Most proud of?
Daniel, Kalle, Simon, Jocke, Pia, Krille and the racer who had a year off and decided to help us, Zache. Most proud of the work they do and all the effort they put into this. Humble for the support they give. And thankful for the extra family they are.

What is the most challenging in driving these cars?
For me the most challenging is the mental factor. Shake the nerves off. Stay cool and calm. Be dead set on your mission and be the boss of the car. Don’t let my competitiveness get the good of me, as it did in the semis at Tierp and I double stepped it. Make the right choices. Even if it’s a rocky, difficult ride – finish it. When you should get off the pedal, get off. The challenge is being the best driver you could possibly be for yourself and your team.

Favourite racetrack and why?
My favorite track is Tierp, our home track in the FIA European Championship, a fantastic facility, always a lot of friends both in the pits and the grandstands. As well as a great track to race on.

Jedborn Motorsport bought the Monica Oberg Top Fueler. Why, as you have a good and proven quick car? And what are the plans with it?
We bought the car and a lot of other stuff because we needed some parts, and we got a good price. Initially we wanted to build another A/Fuel car, as we want our class to grow more, but we do have a lack of time. So the car and parts are for sale, so hopefully someone will take it out on the track again in Top Methanol or Top Fuel.

Plans and goals for next season?
We are working hard to make the full 2024 season. 2023 was about getting the license, and with the result of 5.26, we are for sure on the hunt for some records and titles. It depends, as always, on financial matters. It’s left to see what the sponsors decide. We hope to find the right partners for 2024. We are dealing with some for the time being.

People, companies you want to thank?
Special thanks to the people who helped us out, my family for being there for me at the tracks, and our sponsors CTEK – Guldstadens Frakt – Förch Sverige – NGK Sparkplugs – Motormekano Skellefteå and others.

Text: Tina Høst Nedregård and Remco Scheelings
Photos: Remco Scheelings and Jedborn Motorsport

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