Kids Help Edwards Keep Title Chase In Perspective

On Thursday nights at many NHRA events you will catch the professional teams out seeing the city, doing autograph sessions, leaping from tall buildings, or relaxing before the stress of the race weekend.

 That is not how the defending NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock champion starts his race weekend. Instead, he takes an approach that helps puts everything that will transpire over the course of the next couple days into perspective.

 For the last 10 years, Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate team have hosted the "Giving Kids Hope" program at the track urban Young Life kids. These kids come from socially and economically challenged backgrounds, and Edwards and his team try to bring some hope for the future to these kids.

 "This is what this team is all about, reaching out to these kids and hopefully making a difference," Edwards said. "These aren't just any kids, they area a special group of kids that have some major challenges in their lives.

 "To me, all the awards and accolades we receive on the race track the rest of the weekend, pale in comparison to what we are trying to accomplish through this program. If we can turn the life of just one kid who sees us on a given weekend, we have done what we set out to do nearly a decade ago.

 The kids from Young Life come to the track and Edwards pit area, where they enjoy some food, tours of the trailer and car, along with several activities with a racing theme. Edwards closes the evening by telling the kids how God has changed his life and how he can make a change to them. He also shares the role God has played in his racing career and lets each kid know that many people care about them and God will always be there for them.

 "It is a great feeling when you stand in front of these kids and see the future in their eyes," Edwards said. "You hope what you will say to them will help them in some regards realize there is a better way in life if you only allow God to be part of it."

 Since the programs inception in 2000, Edwards has hosted nearly 100,000 kids. "To us, Thursday night means more to us than what happens on Sunday," he added. "In the big picture, what happens on race day will come and go, but an impact you can make on the life of a kid will last forever. That is why we do it."

 With only two races left in the Pro Stock season, with the help of all the kids, Edwards sees what the championship means. "To get a second crown, it lets those kids know when you put your heart and mind to something anything is possible," he said. "I know I'm a few points behind Greg Anderson as we sit before the Las Vegas event, but when you look at the entire scheme, that is only a little hurdle to overcome, yet these kids have mountains they have to go over. It makes you stop and think of how blessed we are as a team to be able to out here doing what we love."

 Edwards hopes to close the season the same way he opened at the closing two facilities, Las Vegas and Pomona, where he captured the Wallys. "If we go out and perform to what we are capable of, I know we can duplicate what we did early in the season at these two tracks, and if we do that, the championship race will take care of itself."

Edwards Hopes Reading Victory Will Aid Title Run 

With points race tight, a Wally would be huge
step toward second NHRA crown

With just three events remaining in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, Mike Edwards knows how important the fourth stop in the Countdown to One playoff stops is in his quest to secure his second championship before the tour hits the finish line in Pomona.

Edwards is just 14 points ahead of Greg Anderson and another 62 clear of third place Greg Stanfield. An early exit by either Greg and a victory at this weekend's 26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway could place Edwards on top by a comfortable cushion heading to back west to close out the year in Las Vegas and Pomona.

For Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Pontiac-backed team, they have reached the most finals in Pro Stock in 2010 with 11, and have the most victories with eight, and has had his share of good fortune in Reading, with a pair of runners-up in 1998 and 2002. But none of that means anything at the end of the season if you do not have the coveted NHRA championship Wally. This weekend all thoughts are set on moving toward that ultimate prize.

"We're still fighting as hard as we ever in this class of reaching the top," Edwards said. "We have been trying to get our edge back and have been testing real hard in achieving that. We had a good showing in Dallas, but not exactly what we were hoping for coming up a round short of the title. For the rest of the season, our goal is reaching the final at every event and hope that leads us to a championship."

Reading is such a pivotal race according to Edwards, being the swing event in the chase. "Maple Grove has created a lot of excitement over the years and we have come close a few times, but never able to grab the trophy there. I know every single member of this team is focused on performing at our best in Reading.

"In the past, you could always throw your best at the Maple Grove track and it usually would stick," he added, referring to the performance potential. "If God is willing, I hope this is the start of some great runs for this team that will include a victory and maybe start us down a path to the ultimate prize at the end of the season - a second championship. All I know is I'm looking forward to it!"

Dallas Crucial Crossroads In Edwards' Championship Run

 Victory at third race of Countdown will go long way
toward second Pro Stock title

Over the course of the first three stops in the Countdown to One, Mike Edwards has carted off a runner-up finish, and a pole to build a 27-point lead in the championship race.

 With the tour swinging to the Lone Star State and Texas Motorplex, outside Dallas, Edwards knows he needs to continue going late rounds, but feels that the only way to make sure the championship comes back to Oklahoma for a second straight season, is he needs to collect the victory Wally.

 "We've had a solid race car for the first two events, but do not have a single trophy to show for that," Edwards reflected. "We've had our problems in a few areas and we just need to get over that hump, because the only way to make sure nobody can chase you down is winning. We do not want to leave anything to chance and rest our hopes on other people."

 The Dallas stop is an intriguing one on the tour for Edwards. It is known as the home of fast times and Edwards hopes to continue that trend.

 "If the conditions are right, Texas Motorplex has all the pieces in place that will let the Pro Stock field light up the scoreboard with some big numbers," Edwards said. "Going in we know the entire field will be able to make good runs at any moment, so we have to make every time we let out the clutch count and try to be near the top."

 Edwards has a solid record at the facility over his career, advancing past the first round eight of the 13 events he qualified, capturing the 1998 spring event title, and reaching the final in 1999 and 2006, and most recently, last season reaching the final four.

 "If we make good runs and I do my job on the starting line, we have a good chance of collecting another Wally and helping our cause," he said. "We just have to stay focused on the task at hand and if the good Lord is willing, we will have a great weekend."

Edwards Leads NHRA Chase Into Second Stop

Fresh off Indy runner-up, team hopes to equal 2009 Charlotte performance to strengthen points

When Mike Edwards reflects back on his 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock championship, he always focuses first on what he did in Charlotte at the first stop on last year's Countdown To One event. Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Pontiac put on a show at Zmax Dragway that few had seen prior.

The team walked away from the facility, earning the most points possible in the NHRA system, as they led every qualifying session, cruised through eliminations, and collected the Wally at the end of the day. Edwards' performance pushed him to the top of the NHRA Pro Stock points for the first time in his career and never looked back as he went on to win his first championship.

"That 2009 run in Charlotte was easily one of those perfect weekends at the track," Edwards admits. "Anything and everything we tried worked and not only got us down the track, but we were running better than we even thought we could. Looking back, it was that one event every single racer is trying to have where it all falls into place that one weekend and you can do no wrong.
 
"We hope the 2010 version can come even remotely close to last year's feeling," he continued. "The track has been real good to us and we have some solid data to make our Pontiac fly. Now we just need to hit it hard from the start and not look back and hopefully help our points lead."
 
After the first of six events in the NHRA Countdown To One Championship playoff, Edwards increased his adjusted lead to 52 points, collecting 22 more than second place Allen Johnson, while Indy winner Greg Stanfield is 82 points back and Jeg Coughlin 87.
 
"We hope we can continue to add big chunks of points over the next couple races and put ourselves in position to win a second championship," Edwards said. "Charlotte is the next step on the journey and if it is anything that 2009, it might be a huge one to our final goal -- that championship

EDWARDS CONQUERS INDY QUALIFYING

Defending Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards raced to the No. 1 qualifying position Sunday at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the world’s most prestigious drag race.

Edwards powered his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to a track record time of 6.579 seconds at 209.26 mph to take his 12th top qualifying position of the season, 34th of his career and second at historic O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Edwards, who edged out three drivers including Saturday’s low qualifier Jeg Coughlin for the top spot, will face Justin Humphreys in the opening round.

"There’s a lot of fast cars that are bunched up together [at the top of the qualifying order], and I feel that we were very fortunate that Allen Johnson had to run in the first pair this morning," said Edwards. "If it hadn’t been for that, you probably would have been talking to him instead of me as the No. 1 qualifier. There is more pressure because this is the first race of the Countdown. It’s hard to get there for your first championship [as Edwards did in 2009] and it’s even more difficult to defend it. I’m trying to take some of the pressure off of myself by talking with my wife a lot. You just try to have fun. [10-time Pro Stock champ] Bob Glidden came over this morning and told me to just 'quit thinking and do it.' "

COUNTDOWN, GAME ON FOR MIKE EDWARDS
Written by Bobby Bennett Jr., Saturday, 04 September 2010 09:00   


Mike Edwards admitted he came into this weekend’s NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis down on horsepower and equally down on confidence. Once again, the defending Pro Stock series champion pulled a rope-a-dope on the media and the Pro Stock contingent.

Edwards drove his Pontiac to the top of the qualifying list during Friday’s lone qualifying session with a 6.596 at 208.46.

“This was a great run, a great start for us,” said Edwards, whose run if it stands would be his 12th pole of 2010. “I was really concerned with the trouble some of the cars were having off of the line early in the session.”

Worried or not, Edwards admitted, “It made a fast run, it could have been a little bit better.”

Edwards had every reason to run quick on Friday. The eight-time winner in 2010 made the most of his off-time between Brainerd and this weekend’s Countdown to 1 championship battle going over his Pontiac GXP with a fine-tooth comb.

For Edwards, Friday at Indy represented “game on”. Last year his game went on in Charlotte, the 2009 launch to the playoffs, and it never relented.

“We won the first season and now we have to see if we can get the second season,” Edwards said. “You can't win (the title) the first race, but you can sure get in the hole the first race. Just like Charlotte last year. We went in there and won that race. You get momentum and confidence. The first race is really, really big.”

Edwards entered the event on the heels of a stinging first-round loss to Rodger Brogdon at the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals.

“We've just been struggling,” Edwards admitted. “We've tried a couple things on the West Coast, but that was only for a run or two. We've been struggling ever since Norwalk. We come into this race a little down on power. We've had some stuff happen but we'll see what we can do.”

Edwards admits the biggest obstacle to even more wins has been the occupant of the cockpit at times.

“Our struggles? Most of the time, the only time that car loses, it's me,” Edwards pointed out. “It depends on what I do. If I drive good our chances are really good; if I don't then we probably won't win.”

And for Edwards, the rope-a-doping continues into the Countdown.

Second Season Begins With NHRA's Indy Event

Edwards Readies For Run Toward Second Pro Stock Championship 

At the start of the 2010 season, Mike Edwards and his Penhall/Interstate/K&N-backed team sat down and broke the season into two parts - the first 17 races and the final six races and the NHRA Countdown to One Championship - and set some goals for each. 

With the first part of the journey complete, as Edwards and his team looked back on what they accomplished during that stretch it more than exceeded the groups expectations.  

It is hard to fathom that Edwards scored eight victories (the most in any one season for the veteran of the Pro Stock wars), earned the No. 1 qualifying position at 11 events, and qualifying outside the top two spots only twice. And most important, he clinched his spot in the NHRA playoff with five events still remaining in the chase, earning the top seed. 

"We had some really good success in the first season of the countdown and now we need to put all those behind us and focus on winning the second season that starts with the biggest race in drag racing, the U.S. Nationals." 

Edwards understands how important getting off to a fast start in the six-race chase to the championship. Last year, with the first event in Charlotte, Edwards did exactly that by qualifying No. 1, scoring the most bonuses, and winning the race. From that point, he never looked back and went on to win his first NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock championship. 

"It is like any sport, if you do not get out of the gates fast and take advantage early in the points, you are fighting an uphill battle at the end and makes you get out of your game plan," Edwards said. "Our strategy is simple, we want to come out in Indy and make this Pontiac be the best car on the property. We know if we can accomplish that we are in position to have a win at the end of the Labor Day weekend and get the momentum in our corner for the next five races." 

In the past, the U.S. Nationals stop has been a solid event on Edwards' resume. In 1998, he walked away with an emotional title and since has reached the semifinals on four different occasions, including the last two trips to the famed facility. 

"With all the spotlights on this one event, it adds pressure because you want to win this race," Edwards said. "Everyone remembers who won Indy.  

"Anything short of that will not be a satisfying weekend for me or anyone on the team. We have all the tools in place to add a second Indy trophy to the mantle and that is our goal. Now if we can execute at a high level we have the confidence to make it happen."

Edwards No. 1 At Brainard

In Pro Stock, Edwards passed Allen Johnson’s 6.702 from Friday with a 6.644-second pass in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP that was plenty to give the Pro Stock points leader his NHRA-leading 11th No. 1 qualifier of the season.  

“We’re not the man anymore, we’re just holding on and trying to be as good as we can. There are a lot of cars faster than us right now. We’re real fortunate to be No. 1,” Edwards said. “(Sunday), Pro Stock is going to be awesome. All the Full Throttle fans are in for some great side by side racing. I'm excited."

Also in Pro Stock, Rodger Brogdon can clinch the 10th and final Countdown to 1 berth by winning a round, although he qualified 16th and will open with Edwards. Kurt Johnson still has an outside chance: if he wins the race – he qualified 13th and opens with Jason Line– and Brogdon loses in Round 1, KJ would move around Brogdon and secure the 10th and final playoff berth.

EDWARDS: TIME FOR THE A-GAME
Written by Kelly Wade; Photo by Roger Richards    Tuesday, 03 August 2010 09:03   

Mike Edwards is ready to ramp it up in time for the Countdown to 1

For many months, Pro Stock competitors who have drawn habitual No. 1 qualifier and heavily horse-powered Mike Edwards on race day have likely felt a distinctly sickening, sinking feeling in the pit of their respective stomachs upon realizing the challenge before them.

Edwards exhibited impressive power in his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP through much of the 2009 season and donned a dazzling crown of dominance during the Countdown to 1 to score his first Pro Stock world championship, and for much of 2010, the soft-spoken Broken Arrow, Okla., resident has continued to humbly stand above the rest.

The season-long points leader hasn’t been at the tip-top of his game as of late; in Norwalk Edwards qualified in the bottom half for the first time since the inaugural 2008 Charlotte event and went out in the first round, and two of the three Western Swing races ended in the second round for the reigning champ. But as far as Edwards is concerned, he possesses everything he needs to crank up the heat and charge towards a second Full Throttle Series Pro Stock title - it’s just a matter of focus.

“We know what we can do, we’ve just got to go out and do it,” said Edwards, who backed his statement with a class-leading eight victories and 10 starts from the No. 1 position this season.

“We’re okay, we just got into a rut there where it seemed like we were missing the good session for several races. Now we’re regrouping, and hopefully, we can get our program back to what we think it should be and get ready for Indy.”

Many recently speculated that Edwards had gone into test-mode in preparation for a double-barrel blast during the Countdown to 1, and with a lock on entering the last phase of the championship battle as the top seed, it could be conceded that he had room to experiment.

“We weren’t really testing,” he said. “There have been times when we tried a few things that might be off of what we normally do, but we were definitely not doing much of that on Sunday; we’ve been going back to what we feel was our best setup, but we just haven’t been running very good. That’s the bottom line.

“We were really blessed to have won a lot of races the first of the season. Now it’s time to regroup, and hopefully you’ve got your A-game coming up here pretty quick. If you don’t, you can get behind fast.”

Edwards Loves The Mountain And
Plans To Get Back To Early Form

When the tour heads to the 5,800-foot above sea level Bandimere Speedway, nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains outside Denver, Mike Edwards for some odd reason feels like he is racing at his home.
 
"I love coming to Denver," he said. "Everything about this race is cool. It is a challenge to tune a normally-aspirated engines at those elevations and that is part of what draws me. We might not be running 6.5s or even over 200 mph, but that doesn't matter, because it is one of those races that challenges every aspect of your team - mentally and physically."
 
Bandimere Speedway, Edwards looks to, as one of if not the premier track on the NHRA tour. "The Bandimere family does things right," Edwards said. "They seem to be out front on all the latest technology, more like they design the latest gadgets, to make a race track safer for us drivers. When you come to the mountain, you know the finger cannot be pointed at Bandimere Speedway for the reason you lost."
 
Edwards has been making the trek to the mountain since the late 1970s, with his Modified entry. Then the facility was a bit different, but Edwards performance on the track has always been near the top.
 
"That is probably another reason I enjoy coming here, is that I have always ran good," he said. "I won in Modified years ago, and then as a crew chief with David Nickens, George Marnell, Mark Osborne, and Ron Krisher we had some dominant cars on the mountain. Behind the wheel, I have been fortunate to make some really good runs and pick up the Pro Stock title in 2002 and be on the pole last year."
 
In fact, Edwards holds both ends of the track record with a 6.957 at 197.71 mph, which he set last year.
 
The Denver stop is the end of what is easily the most grueling stretch in NHRA history with eight races in 10 weeks. For Edwards, he hopes to cap the run with a book-end victory to go with his titles in Topeka, Chicago, Englishtown, and Bristol, that started the journey.
 
"We started this stretch doing everything right and picking off some wins, but since Norwalk we have not found that combination," Edwards admitted. "We need to get back to those kind of race weekends fast, so we have that momentum going into the playoffs come the U.S. Nationals. What better place than at Bandimere Speedway, my home away from home "
 


EDWARDS SETTLES IN 'AT HOME, '
TOPS PRO STOCK ORDER
Written by Susan Wade

Mike Edwards left his Coweta, Okla., home and drove his Pro Stock team hauler 2,100 miles to the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways this week.

“It has 130,000 miles on it, and he has put every one of 'em on it!” wife Lisa interjected. However, it was the last half mile in his race car which made the long trip worthwhile.

Staring down a hot, tricky track with a third-place showing from Friday, Edwards needed to go back to what he knew would work at Pacific Raceway; what gave him one of his five victories last year on the way to his first Pro Stock series championship.

“Yesterday we were trying a lot of things. We stepped out of the box a little bit and tried a few things and didn't really like what we saw. So we basically went back this morning to kind of how we ran the thing here last year,” the Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP driver said.

That worked in the third overall qualifying session early Saturday, as he nosed out Johnny Gray in the NTB Pontiac GXP by one-thousandth of a second. Edwards' 6.598-second elapsed time earn him his 10th No. 1 qualifying position in 14 races -- best in any pro class this season.

“We made a nice run. We barely inched out Johnny Gray. He made an awesome run, too.”

Gray, with a 6.599 in that same Saturday afternoon session, was the only other driver with a sub 6.6-second effort.

Edwards, who has qualified no worse than second for nearly an entire calendar year -- dating back to last July 25 at Sonoma, Calif. -- said he experimented a bit because “the conditions were favorable to what we were wanting to do for awhile. We thought the weather was going to be better this morning, so we thought yesterday's qualifying wouldn't hold up -- which it didn't. Most everybody ran a little bit quicker today. But we thought it was a good time to do it. I'm not much on doing that, but it was just the right opportunity, and I really thought it was going to work out.”

After Four Straight, Edwards Hopes To Continue Roll With A Couple Titles In Norwalk 

Mike Edwards thought the 2009 season, by winning his first championship in Pro Stock, was as good a season as you could have. The end result is still in question, but how the 2010 campaign is developing, Edwards doesn't want anyone to wake him up from his dream that is quickly turning into near perfection.

 "This has been a dream season so far," Edwards admitted. "To win just one race in Pro Stock is amazing, but to win four in a row in this class is incredible. I'm very blessed to have a group of guys that give 110 percent week in and week out. They never give up."

 With his recent triumph in Bristol - his fourth victory in a row and eighth of the season -Edwards is on pace for one of the best NHRA Pro Stock season on record. The best season in Pro Stock came in 2004 when Greg Anderson clicked off 15 event victories, grabbed the pole at 16 races, scored 76 round wins, and reached 19 finals. At this juncture of the season, Edwards is on nearly the same pace.

 "When Greg put that year together in 2004, I never thought anyone would even come close to doing anything similar," Edwards admitted. "Now I'm the one in the seat of the car that is having that same kind of season. I have been doing this for so long that it is so humbling in what we are doing."

 Now with the fourth race in a row and fifth in five weeks, with the tour stop at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, Edwards has a chance to add a fifth straight and in the process collect an extra bonus with the race-within-a-race K&N Horsepower Challenge.

 "Norwalk is a big event for our team," Edwards said. "Now that we are on this roll we do not want it to stop, so we are focused on getting another Wally and on Saturday grabbing our first K&N Horsepower Challenge. It is a special day for Pro Stock as we get to showcase this class on a different stage and with K&N on board, it makes it an even bigger deal for us."

 To qualify for the K&N Horsepower Challenge it is based on qualifying at the events between the 2009 Norwalk stop and this season. Edwards, based on his dominance in qualifying during that stretch easily grabbed the No. 1 spot and for the first time in the event, fans are able to vote for the No. 8 qualifier, that will be announced prior to the event.

 "It is an odd situation not knowing who we will be racing, but at a point, that does not matter as we need to go out and do our job and things will fall into place," he said.

 If Edwards scores his first K&N Horsepower Challenge and its $50,000 pay day, he will be shooting for an even bigger prize on Sunday. NHRA offers a double-up bonus to any racer that can win both the Challenge on the Norwalk Pro Stock title.

 "It is easy to see why my guys will be working their tails off all weekend," Edwards admitted. "We have these huge carrots dangling out in front of us and we want to make sure we are the one that leaves with the fancy checks and that Wally.

 "The thing is, there are seven other racers trying to achieve the same goal with the bonuses, and a whole slew of other racers trying to stop our run come Sunday. We look forward to the challenge."

Edwards Continues Hot Run In Bristol By Scoring Fourth In A Row, Eighth Overall

Mike Edwards continues to roll as he collected his eighth title of the season and fourth in a row when he didn't rely on his horsepower only or his driving skills, it was a combination of both as the Bristol conditions made it difficult each round.

Edwards opened eliminations in the No. 2 spot, only the third time this season he did not start from the pole. That minor setback in qualifying did not hamper the Penhall/Interstate/K&N team from making a run to their ninth final of the season.

Edwards opened by ousting upstart Bob Yonke, before handling Jason Line, with a 6.71, that was low e.t. of eliminations. As has been the case recently, Edwards has turned the table on Jeg Coughlin Jr., when Coughlin slowed in the semifinals.

Waiting in the final was first-time finalist Rickie Jones, who the round earlier wounded his primary engine. Knowing he had to take a shot at the Tree, Jones took a shot, but came up on the short end with the red-light, that handed Edwards the victory. The foul start by Jones was a blessing, as Edwards got out-of-shape and had to lift, coasting across the finish stripe for the victory.

Winning Four In A Row, Edwards Goal
As NHRA Tour Heads To Bristol

With the NHRA tour, nearing the mid-point of eight races in a 10 week span that reaches to both the coasts and stop between, Mike Edwards is still perfect in a quest to score victories at each of those stops. He is the only driver on the NHRA tour, who still has a shot of sweeping the Eastern and Western Swing.  

The run began in Topeka, where he used a better reaction to hold off Allen Johnson. He then followed, in what many our calling the best Pro Stock race of the year, when he came out on top in Chicago over Jason Line. Then a week later, backed that up with his first three-straight win run of his career, when he handled NHRA rookie Shane Gray on Monday of the rain-delayed festivities in Englishtown. 

With the next stop Bristol, the chances of Edwards continuing his run seem promising after what he accomplished at the famed Bristol Dragway in 2009. It was the first race where Edwards and his Penhall/Interstate/K&N crew truly flexed their muscles. At last year's stop, Edwards carded the low e.t. of every round of Pro Stock competition, and did it with no driver coming within two-hundredths of his time, as he walked away with the NHRA Wally. 

"Last year was truly a special event in Bristol," Edwards remembers. "It was the event where all the hard work everyone with this team had put in came to fruition and showed on the racetrack. It was the first time in my career, where I knew I had the best car on the property and I needed to make sure that turned into a victory." 

The win, kick started a run where Edwards reached the final round at the next four events, which catapulted him into the point chase and built the momentum for his championship run. 

"Bristol is where we started making that run toward the top of the points and just got the confidence going with us and we never looked back," he said. "I hope the 2010 version just continues to build on what we have accomplished to this point of the season. It has been a dream of what we have been able to do and I just do not want it to stop." 

Following Bristol, Edwards and the team will head to Norwalk, Ohio, before heading west with events in Seattle, Sonoma, Calif., and Denver, Colo. 

"We are in the middle of what is easily the hardest stretch of racing since I started competing in Pro Stock," Edwards said. "We don't get any time between events, so everything is on the fly and it is quickly becoming taxing on the crew, parts, and are backsides with all the miles we have to travel. If we survive the next five events and continue moving forward that will become one of the shining moments of my career, because it we would accomplish something that has so many variables to control."

 In Bristol, Edwards can lock his spot in the NHRA Countdown To One Championship playoff if he garners a combination of 122 points over the No. 11 in points, who currently is Bob Yonke. 

"At the start of the season, our first goal was to get back into the playoff and put ourselves in position to win a second championship, and now we are close to being able to achieve that, so we our focusing on making that happen and moving to the second phase of the season."

 

A Seventh For Edwards

Every time it looks like Mike Edwards is about to be caught by the competition, he pulls another rabbit out of the hat.

Edwards worked his way through the competition in the rain-delayed NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ to collect his seventh win of the 2010 Pro Stock season.

In the final round, against Shane Gray, Edwards posted a solid performance from the tree to the finish line. Edwards was first off the line, .012 to Gray's .058, and fastest down quarter mile, 6.596 seconds at 209.39 mph.

“It is a dream season,” admitted Edwards. “Last year, I thought, was the ultimate dream. We won the championship. But, this year is just a dream come true. It really is. I've done this a long, long time and I never dreamed I could experience this kind of success in this class.

“We've got a great team and we've committed ourselves to making a big effort to do this. It is good to see the results.”

While Edwards continues to make his dominance in the division look easy, he admitted to be extremely nervous when the final round was rained out on Sunday evening.

“You just don't know,” admitted Edwards. “I was nervous. You get in a routine. You get comfortable and sure about yourself. We just really, really couldn't commit. We changed the transmission and rear end yesterday, I don't know how many times.

“Luckily, it worked out great for us.”

EDWARDS: I AM FIRST BECAUSE I’M SECOND


Written by Bobby Bennett    Sunday, 13 June 2010 10:00  

Mike Edwards has no qualms about sharing his performance secret.

He’s first because he’s second.

“Well I am, I am second in my eyes,” Edwards contends. “God is first for sure.”

Following his seventh No. 1 qualifying effort, his latest at the NHRA SuperNationals, Edwards became the first NHRA Full Throttle professional drag racer to clinch a berth in the Countdown to 1. Edwards has led the NHRA Pro Stock point standings since February.

Edwards says his success is no coincidence and while he’s not preaching to anyone, he’s just one of many professional athletes who are open and up front about their spiritual life. And because of that, Edwards has become a staunch supporter of www.iamsecond.com website, a stop on the web where leading athletes can provide their testimonies. The website url is underneath his No. 1 on the side window.

“God is first in my life,” said Edwards, the defending class world champion. “This doesn’t really matter to me at all. It really doesn’t.”

Edwards is not so naïve to believe his declaration won’t draw criticism, but he says he can’t help but be at peace in his life even if he has his critics.

“Everybody’s got their own opinion on everything but you know, I have a strong belief and I just know where my faith is at and I know where my ending is going to be,” Edwards said. “And I’m sorry about the way they feel about that. If they feel that way then I’m really sorry for them because they’re really missing out on a lot of blessings that they could have here on Earth. Not even compared to what we are fixing to have.”


EDWARDS NAILS INCREDIBLE PST RUN
Written by by Bobby Bennett; Photo by Jim Garrahan    Saturday, 12 June 2010 08:00

Mike Edwards can count the number of times he’s made a perfect run on one hand. Friday night he used one of those digits to quantify his Friday evening run at the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, NJ.

Edwards’ 6.513 second pass was the second quickest run in NHRA Pro Stock history and his 211.49 mph speed enabled him to grab both ends of the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park track record en route to the provisional pole position.

“I think it paid to be in the back of the line,” said Edwards, who is the current national record holder with a 6.509 elapsed time. “The conditions just kept dropping drastically. It really paid off for us. I knew when I threw out the parachutes I couldn’t get any better than that run.

“I think that run in Richmond could have been a 6.46. When you can run a .954 (60-foot clicking) that’s just incredible for one of these cars. The quick runs were out there. We swung for the fence and got away with that. We knew when we left the trailer the car was hot. Just before I made the run, I stood up there and watched all of the big numbers come up. I had to go back to my car, I couldn’t stand watching it anymore.”

According to Edwards, the altitude dropped 600 feet from the time his team left the pit area until they ran.

“Any time the conditions get like that, you know the track is going to be awesome,” Edwards said. “It was out there for us to make an awesome run. Hat’s off to my team. It’s good to have a great day like this … but …”

Then Edwards paused and paid tribute to Neal Parker, the Top Alcohol Funny Car racer killed Friday afternoon in a qualifying accident.

“My heart is real heavy for Neal Parker and his family,” Edwards said, voice cracking with emotion. “It’s a tragic loss anytime we have something like that happen with one of our racers. My heart goes out to his family … my thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Edwards Goes For NHRA Three-peat In Englishtown

With victories in Topeka and Chicago, Mike Edwards will be shooting for a feat he has not been able to accomplish in his career a three-race win streak when the tour pulls into Old Bridge Township Raceway Park for the NHRA SuperNationals.

 "We have not been running as well as we would like the last few races, but the outcome we have thoroughly enjoyed," Edwards said. "You can't beat the feeling leaving a national event as the one holding the Wally; it is a pretty special feeling."

 For Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate-backed team, to score a victory in Englishtown it would only add another special moment to what is turning into a dream season.

 To this point in the season, Edwards has secured six victories, the most in any one season for reigning NHRA Full Throttle champion, been on the pole at eight of the 10 events, holds a commanding points lead, and has compiled a 30-4 record, but Englishtown is a place that Edwards has always wanted to pick up the trophy.

 "Growing up, Englishtown was one of the special events on the NHRA tour that all the big guns competed at and some of the kings of the sport have been victorious," Edwards recalls. "I have come close in the past, but it is one of the few tracks I have not tasted victory and I want to change that this weekend."

 After the Chicago victory, the team took the few short days to examine the progress the last few events and worked on correcting a couple areas they highlighted as a weakness.

 "I say it all the time, these guys on my team are the best in the sport," Edwards said. "They don't care how many hours we work, what the conditions we test, or the many miles we spend on the road. All that time is used to make sure this Pontiac runs better each time out, and I am so blessed from our Lord and savior that I have such individuals in my life. It makes it fun to work shoulder-to-shoulder with a group like this.

 "Now we just need to bring home our seventh Wally of the season, and set our sites on sweeping the Eastern swing."

Mother Nature Tried Her Best, But
Couldn't Deny Edwards Of Chicago Victory

When an event is impacted by rain, such as the event at Route 66 Raceway, just outside of Chicago, was it pushes everyone to their limits in many different ways. From the standing around and waiting factor, to not sure what is going to happen, it raises the stress level on all sides.
 
Mike Edwards and his Penhall/Interstate/K&N team took all the delays in stride and walked away with their sixth trophy of the 2010 season, marking the most victories in one season by Edwards in his career.
 
It wasn't an easy victory for the reigning Pro Stock champion as he had to again dig deep to grab the title from one of the sports best, when in the final he cut his best light of the season to equal Jason Line out of the gate and hold him off to avenge a final-round loss earlier in the season.
 

With the victory, Edwards moved into a tie for seventh on the all-time win list in Pro Stock with the late Lee Shepherd at 26 victories.

"That's what Pro Stock is all about," said Edwards. "The first thing Jason said to me was 'Man, you were late.' What a great way to finish the day. We weren't at our best today but we managed to pull off another win. It just feels great."
 
"I cannot say enough about the guys I have surrounded me with, they are the best at what they do and make my job as the driver that much easier. With the weather and all the delays, they never lost focus on what we were at Route 66 Raceway to do, and in the end, they gave me a race car that was good enough to win."
  
"We don't have much time to celebrate this victory as we have a short turnaround before we are back on the track in Englishtown. We are going to use these few days to charge our bodies and look over everything and see where we still need to really focus and make better."
 
I can't wait to get back in the car Friday and see if the good Lord willing I can win three in a row."

Chicago Qualifying 

Mike Edwards qualified No. 1 with a 6.629, to earn his eighth pole of the 2010 season. During qualifying, Edwards collected nine bonus points for having low e.t. in all three of qualifying session, as rain cut qualifying short on Friday.
 
Rain hampered Friday's qualifying pushing the single run of the day until late in the evening, with Edwards grabbing the top spot with a 6.66.
 
With rain again impacting qualifying on Saturday, forcing the schedule later in the day, Edwards locked down the top spot with his 6.62 in the second frame and backed it up with the quickest run of the last session with a 6.64.

Chicago Eliminations

From the No. 1 position, Mike Edwards opened competition against Richie Stevens, who was making his return to NHRA Pro Stock competition after more than a year layoff. Edwards, did not let him return to the winner's column though as he carded his first of three straight 6.60s in eliminations.
 
The second frame paired Edwards with Greg Anderson, who throughout their careers a sizable advantage in the win column, with a 31-11 mark. Edwards added a 12th to his column when his better light and 6.60 easily outpaced Anderson's 6.63.
 
Right before the semifinals, Mother Nature made a return to Route 66 Raceway for the third straight day, pushing the conclusion of eliminations late into the night. That did not hamper Edwards though as against posted a 6.60, to stop the upset bid of Rodger Brogdon's 6.63, and setting up a rematch of the Gainesville final with Jason Line
 
Under the lights, the pair put on a Pro Stock show in the money round. The two left with almost perfect reactions, Edwards a .007 to Line's .006, and the two were welded together the entire quarter-mile with Edwards squeaking out his sixth victory of the season by a mere four-thousandths, 6.594 to 6.599.

Edwards Works Even Harder After Topeka
Triumph To Continue Streak In Chicago

Many racers would be happy to leave any event with a Wally in tow and take a minute to savor the moment. After the kind of year Mike Edwards has enjoyed in 2010, you would think he and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries team might follow that plan after the Topeka victory, the fifth of the season.

Instead, on Monday morning after Topeka, just as he and his team have done many weeks after a victory or anything short of that, Edwards was making laps in his Pontiac GXP. This time was even quicker, with Topeka only a few hours from the Coweta, Okla., shop, Edwards and the team were on the track bright and early Monday morning, making laps at Edwards' home track of Tulsa Raceway Park.

 I know we won the event in Topeka and I am proud of how we went about our business at that event, but nobody on the teams was satisfied with our performance," Edwards said. " I didn't think we ran as well as we should have and the only way we are going to get any better is to test, and test some more."

 Monday was not enough, as the crew made the short trip again on Tuesday morning before the sun came up and Edwards was on the track for more testing. "To steal a line from one of our sponsors, Interstate Batteries, my team is an 'Outrageously dependable' crew and they do everything possible to make us better, and this time it was running the wheels off this Pontiac GXP."

 One might wonder why Edwards is working extra hard after what he has done to this point of the 2010 season, which includes seven wins, a trip to the semifinals at minimum at all but one race, and qualified No. 1 or 2 at every event, and most importantly holds the biggest points lead in all the professional classes. It all comes down to; he wants to stay in that position.

 "You have two choices in Pro Stock, you can stop working and it will be only a matter of a couple races and the Pro Stock field will pass you by," he added. "This is easily the most competitive class in motorsports and some of the best minds our working countless hours to get better. The second choice is to try a work harder than everyone else and stay on top. We have elected to follow the second path.

 Not only was Edwards burning fuel at Tulsa Raceway Park, but the guys in the engine shop were burn the midnight oil as well, in search of finding that horsepower edge that Edwards has shown over the last year.

 "I'm blessed to work with a group of people that are tremendously dedicated to winning, from the race team, engine shop, to our incredible sponsors; we are all pulling the rope the same direction."

 The next few weeks will be very challenging for all NHRA professional teams as the NHRA tour races Chicago, Englishtown, Bristol and Norwalk in consecutive weekends.

 "Four races in four weeks are going to be a test of everything we are made of," Edwards added. "And to top it off, one of the biggest event in Pro Stock, the K&N Horsepower Challenge is at the end of the run in Norwalk and that is worth $50,000, so it something we take real serious." Going into the final three races to earn points for the K&N Horsepower Challenge, Edwards currently holds the top qualifying spot.

Edwards Adds 5th Title In 2010 

Taking a different approach than his has for his first four wins of the season, Mike Edwards reverted to a trait that helped him become the driver he is, when he used the holeshot to score the fifth crown of the year in Topeka.
 
In the final round, against Allen Johnson, Edwards did not have lane choice and had been outperformed in the e.t. department the previous two rounds.
 
Edwards knew he would need to be as sharp as possible on the starting line, as his team did everything they could to close the performance gap with an engine change before the final. In the lane that in the previous three rounds, yielding only three victories, Edwards knew he would need to be on his game.
 
Edwards left first, .016 to .026, and held on by a slim three-thousandths at the other end, as his 6.717 held off Johnson' 6.710.
 

With the win, it also marked a couple milestones. The victory is the 25th Pro Stock title in his career and is the 300th time in his career that Edwards has turned on a Pro Stock round win light.

"It was a great win today in Topeka! We are so very blessed in to being able to do what we do; it was a incredible win. We had over 30 friends and family join the excitement today. It was truly an awesome day.
 
"The guys did an amazing job, they worked really hard for this win. We've got some of the best guys in the business, Josh, Jon, Terry, Al, Paul and Nick! And I guess the driver did a pretty good job today too.
 
"We are going to test this week and run the wheels off this car and hopefully find a few things that will help us get back to the winner's circle in Chicago in a couple weeks. It is never ending in Pro Stock; if you stop these competitors will pass you by."

 

 

EDWARDS ESTABLISHES
TOPEKA TRACK RECORDS

All season, Mike Edwards has been a dominant force in the Pro Stock ranks.

That didn’t change Friday at Topeka.

The reigning world champ ran a 6.638-second time at 206.99 mph to take the top qualifying spot at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Summer Nationals. The time and the mph were both Heartland Park track records.

“We made a great run tonight, it was just awesome,” Edwards said. “I’m really happy with my guys. I guess anytime you can hold a (track) record that’s good. Qualifying No. 1 is more important than the track record for sure, if we can hold on to it. I was really pleased with my guys tonight and we will see what happens Saturday.”

Edwards came to Topeka with 830 points, 255 more than second place Allen Johnson. Edwards has four wins this season and one runner-up finish. If Edwards keeps the pole position, it would be his seventh of the season, 29th of his career and second at Topeka. Johnson is second in the qualifying ladder at 6.656 seconds.

Despite his stellar performance, Edwards isn’t taking anything for granted.

“We’ve ran really well, but we do not feel like we quite where we were last year,” Edwards said. “We’re running good, do not get me wrong, but I feel like we're just a little off, just a little bit, in a couple of places.”

Edwards Gets A Shot At An Atlanta Three-peat

One of the luxuries of the NHRA tour is that when you score an event Wally, you get the privilege of savoring that victory for an entire season. What only makes that first victory even sweeter is when you can back it up the next season with yet another triumph. Well, this weekend, Mike Edwards is going for a rare feat in any sports, including drag racing of claiming three straight victories at the same track. Edwards returns to the Atlanta Dragway, where he is the 2008 and 2009 defending champ and trying to pull off something he has yet to do in his career, when for a third straight time at the same facility

"It is always fun to come back to a track and try to defend that title," he said. "This time it is especially sweet because I haven't lost in Atlanta for two full seasons. The nice part is when you pull back into the facility, it floods you with all those fond memories of those past couple victories and it rekindles your drive to get back to that winner's circle even more because you want that feeling again."

For the defending NHRA Pro Stock champion, the first part of the 2010 season has been nothing short of impressive. He has earned the No. 1 qualifying position at all but one event, reached at minimum the semifinals at the first seven events, while capturing four titles in five final-round appearances, to build a commanding points lead. For the team, the only goal this weekend is to add a 25th Wally to the collection.

"We are doing almost everything right thus far and just hope the run continues in Atlanta," Edwards commented. "Atlanta is real special with this team. It is where we won our first race with the in-house engine program back in 2008 to get this entire thing rolling in the direction it is."

 

Edwards Shoots For Fifth Victory 
At NHRA's Annual Stop In St. Louis

When momentum is on your side, good things usually happen, and that has been the case for Mike Edwards in his start to the 2010 season. He has collected four victories and reached five finals over the course of the first six events. Throw in a semifinal finish and five No. 1 qualifiers, Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Pontiac has taken full advantage of momentum on his side.

"Some times you just get on a role and everything just clicks," Edwards said. "It is not that you are doing anything different, but I feel the confidence is there and so you just know you can get the job done."

After capturing his first title in Las Vegas, marking the 13th different track on the NHRA 2010 schedule that he has been to victory lane, Edwards hopes to add a second St. Louis crown to his 2006 triumph.
 
"This has been a major hit or miss stop for us," Edwards admitted. "We have struggled at times at Gateway Int'l Raceway (four DNQs), and then taste the pinnacle of the event by grabbing the Wally in 2006 and helping tune Ron Krisher in 2003. So, I hope what has happened in Pomona, Phoenix, Charlotte, and Las Vegas carries over to this weekend and we can keep taking advantage of that friend momentum on our side."
 
Currently Edwards holds a commanding lead in the NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock points, topping second-place Allen Johnson by 261 points, and third place Greg Anderson by 315 points.
 
"We have had a great run to start the season, one of those you could only dream about," he said. "Everyone around me is doing their job at such a level that it makes things like this possible. We have put ourselves in position to make a run at a second championship. We just need to keep that old friend momentum in our camp for the rest of the season and see what happens."

Perserverance Pays Off As Edwards Finally Picks Up First Pro Stock Victory In Las Vegas

For Mike Edwards, the journey to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has always been one he has dreaded. Throughout his career, the track has never been kind to him. In his previous trips, Edwards never wheeled his hot rod past the second round. To many, the prospects of returning under that scenario isn't a promising ordeal, but for Edwards in 2010, he knew he could turn that around.

When the dust settled in the Pro Stock battle, Edwards not only advanced past the second round for the first time, he carried that to his fourth victory of the season, to easily position himself as the star of first quarter of the NHRA season.

"What can I say about what we did this weekend," Edwards admitted. "I knew this track had gotten me enough times that one of these days it was going to pay me real big. This time it took care of that by letting me leave with the Wally."
 
The weekend didn't start as well as Edwards hoped, as he recorded only the fifth best run of the opening session, a position he had not been in for nearly a year. "We made the decision to change the engine and see if that would fix the issue," he said. "We weren't sure if we just missed the setup or something else was going wrong and we didn't want to let the cool temperatures of the second session get away from us."
 
The change was exactly what the Penhall/K&N/Interstate Pontiac needed as Edwards and his team never looked back. In the Friday afternoon session, Edwards moved to the pole, which he backed up with the two best runs of Saturday, setting him up for maybe that Sunday he longed hope for in Las Vegas.

"The team responded to what happened in that first session and really focused on making the best run we could each time out and we did just that," Edwards said. "I know I sound like a broken record, but the guys I have around me and the support from everyone is what is making this entire team click like it is."

Come Sunday, Edwards used the lane choice to his advantage in each of the rounds as he ousted Rickie Jones. Then to solidify he first time in the final four in Las Vegas, Edwards turned to his driving prowess he built his reputation on to down multi-world champion Warren Johnson, when his .014 light, the best of eliminations, easily pulled away from Johnson, 6.74 to 6.79.

"At that point I had accomplished something I had never done at The Strip, so I kind of relaxed and just went after it." In the semifinals, he nearly equaled his quarterfinal reaction, with an .019 launch, and backed it with a 6.73 to down Greg Anderson's 6.75.
 
Waiting in the final was Greg Stanfield, who downed Mike Edwards Motorsports engine customer Ron Krisher in the semifinals. In the title bout, Stanfield took his best shot at Edwards, but came up short when his 6.81 could not hold off Edwards' 6.75 to give him his 24th Pro Stock victory. The reigning world champ now owns a substantial 216-point edge on second-place Allen Johnson.

"To come here and run in conditions that were 180 degrees different than Houston and make the adjustments and make the car do what it did here, those guys are awesome, so hats off to all my guys.

"If you look back last year, and we got in these conditions and summer came around, we felt like we could get back to our form, and we really ran good in the summertime. The tracks get worse, and we feel like we've got a really good handle on those conditions, so hopefully it can stay hot, maybe not this hot, but start getting hot. It feels good to come out here and win at Vegas. I've been coming here a long time and ran really, really well but just could never close the deal. It feels good."

For Edwards, four wins, a runner-up, and semifinal finish to start the 2010 season, he couldn't ask for a better way to push the message if his marketing partners.

 "It is awesome to be able to score another victory for Penhall, Interstate Batteries, K&N, and all the other companies behind us trying to help us get a second championship," Edwards said. "Roger Stull has been the brains behind this entire program and each of us collectively know we would not be even close to where we are at without his direction."

Time For Las Vegas To Give
Edwards A Winning Hand

The one track on the NHRA tour that has given Mike Edwards and his Penhall, K&N, Interstate Pontiac the roughest time has been The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For some reason, that even he cannot explain, Edwards has not had the kind of luck he would hope in the Nevada desert.

Over his career, Edwards has posted good runs at the facility, grabbing the pole in both trips in 2009, but when it comes to Sunday that is a different matter. It is one of only two tracks on the NHRA tour that Edwards has not reached a final round; the other being Brainerd Int'l Raceway. To make it even worse, Edwards has never graced the final four in Las Vegas, that is over a course of 18 starts.
"Not sure why I have never done well at this track," he said. "If I knew exactly what it was I would fix it and start turning on a ton of win lights in the desert. We do make good runs, but little things have bitten us in the past that we cannot explain. We have taken this week between Houston and Las Vegas and made sure to do our necessary maintenance and go that extra little bit to maybe eliminate any chance of something slowing us this weekend.
 
"In all honesty, this should be one of my favorite tracks on the tour," he admitted. "We have many found memories of Las Vegas over the years of racing and we always hope those would carry over to the quarter-mile."
 
When Edwards first broke into Pro Stock, his roots were tied to Las Vegas with team owner John Kight. "Through that relationship we have many close friends in the area and just enjoy getting a chance to visit with them and talk about the past."
 
This weekend, Edwards and his team have elected to take the approach that Las Vegas is a new facility on the tour and they are going to come out and conquer it.
 
"We are looking at this weekend and a chance to start a new book with Las Vegas and make the first chapter about walking away with the Wally," he said. "That would be the triumph we need to move forward in the season and get some momentum going before we hit the summer months of racing."

Edwards Has Huge Respect For Pro Stock

When it comes to NHRA Pro Stock racing, Mike Edwards understands that the gap from being at the top and the bottom is about as thin as a hair. The reigning NHRA Full Throttle champion has tasted every aspect the factory hot rods has to offer and through that nearly 20 years of experience as being a driver or crew chief in this competitive world, Edwards has a respect for the class, the competitors and its history. 

"I can't tell you how much respect I have for everything about Pro Stock," he said. "It takes a lot of commitment, patience, and a little racing luck to even make a dent in this class. It is easily the toughest group of racers in motorsports period and I am proud I get to pull to the line each race weekend against the caliber of competition Pro Stock offers. 

"The difference between the top and bottom is so minimal that you can just look at the class right now, we have drivers like Bob Yonke in his first competition reach the final; Shane Gray in his inaugural event picking up a round win; Jason Line and Greg Anderson one of the strongest teams on the tour; the likes of Jeg Coughlin and Greg Stanfield who can drive anything to the winner's circle; and then you have Warren and Kurt Johnson and Larry Morgan who have helped make this class what it is. That is not to take away from Ron Krisher, Allen Johnson, V. Gaines and the other 20 racers who have helped raise the bar to a level only us select few in Pro Stock understand." 

To Edwards, who has captured 23 victories in his career, knows the word dominance has very little meaning in Pro Stock. "To me that word is not part of any equation with this class," he said. "You have to keep working harder and harder each day to keep up with everyone because the second you stop and think you have it figured out will be when you find yourself quickly out of the Sunday equation and scrambling to get back." 

Pro Stock has that special place with Edwards, and as the champion, he understands that bulls-eye is on him and he just hopes he can continue to progress and stay with the rest of the field. 

"It is humbling experience being the champion of the class and the torch bearer right now," he said. "A few of the guys told me that things would change; at the time I didn't understand what that meant. It is such an honor to help promote and move Pro Stock forward in a direction we all want the class to go. I know my time in this position will be short and I just hope I can do my part to make the factory hot rods even a better class than when I started."

Houston Is A Special Place To Edwards

When the NHRA heads to Houston Raceway Park each spring, Mike Edwards knows he is going to a track that he loves racing at. The trip to Houston has always been one of Edwards' favorite on the tour for a couple reasons. 

It might have to do to the fact that it is one of the tracks that he's had the most success over his career. Edwards holds a .656 winning percentage at the facility, which is the best of the tracks the NHRA tour visits. In half the events Edwards has competed in at Houston Raceway Park he has reached the semifinals at a minimum; advancing to three victories (1996, 2002, and 2006) and a runner-up (1999).

The 1996 win has extra meaning to Edwards even to this day, as it marked the first time he found himself in an NHRA Pro Stock winner's circle. "I love racing in Houston," he said. "I just seem to be comfortable and it shows in what I do on the track. 

"That 1996 race still seams like yesterday. I still see them handing me my first Pro Stock Wally and just thinking that nothing can get better than that moment," Edwards recalled. "I don't know why I do well at Houston Raceway Park. It might have something to do with the ideal conditions that we normally get, the great fan base we have in the Houston area, or just my comfort with everything about the event, but I always feel relaxed. I think that goes a long ways in producing good results." 

Last year, Edwards made a bit more history at Houston Raceway Park when he became the first driver in Pro Stock to eclipse the 212 mph barrier in the semifinals. "I was just lucky that I made a good run at the right time to be able to reach that plateau. That is such a great feeling to be able to do that." 

For the 2010 edition, Edwards hopes the track and his past keep in step and allow him to continue his current run. Over the course of the first four races, Edwards has competed in every round of competition in Pro Stock, walking away with three victories and a single loss in Gainesville. 

"My entire team is so focused on making good runs. That makes getting in the seat of the car a blast," Edwards admitted. "They are all doing there jobs at such a high level it makes the one driving the car look like really good, but I know it is all the hard work in the engine shop, the race shop, and at the track that is making this whole thing gain the momentum it has. I just get to go along for the ride of my life each time down the quarter-mile."

 

Edwards Wins Four-wide Inaugural Race

The Pro Stock final featured Greg Stanfield, Bob Yonke, Edwards, and Jason Line, and the outcome was never in doubt after the green. Edwards tattooed the Tree with a .009 light and ran 6.59 to win easily, ahead of Line's 6.63. Yonke was third with a 6.66, and Stanfield shut off to a 12-second pass. Edwards raced to his third victory of the season and 23rd overall in Pro Stock, holding off Jason Line, Greg Stanfield and Bob Yonke. Edwards finished in 6.596 at 210.05 in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to take his second win at the North Carolina track and first-ever in the four-wide configuration.

"I must have been real shallow because that should have been a red-light; I rolled the beams a little but got away with it," admitted Edwards of his final-round reaction time. I'll tell ya, this four-wide deal is hard on people, but it's been a great weekend,” Edwards said. "It was fun; it was confusing a lot of times, but it was fun. It was different, but you still had to do everything right. I had a good time, and anytime you can win a race it's a great time. This is a great start to hopefully another great season. I feel real blessed to have won again and thank God and give him all the glory.”

"It was fun; it was confusing a lot of times, but it was fun. It was different, but you still had to do everything right. I had a good time, and anytime you can win a race, it's a great time. This is a great start to hopefully another great season."

Edwards Hopes To Be First NHRA
Four-wide Pro Stock Champion

When NHRA announced the creation of the Four-wide Nationals at Zmax Dragway in Charlotte, N.C., Mike Edwards knew that it would become one of the most talked about events in recent NHRA history. Little has changed that view in the last few months, as the momentum has continued to build for the unprecedented event.

"All I know is it is going to be wild needing to concentrate on what three other drivers will be doing," he said. "It is the unknown for all of us and that is what's making it exciting. Everyone asks how are you going to handle this or that with that event, but all I know it is still a quarter-mile race and that is our goal to be the fastest and the rest will take care of itself."

The Four-wide nationals will feature qualifying and elimination with four drivers on the track at one time. 

"In the driver's seat of our Penhall/K&N/Interstate Pontiac, this will be a hectic race and each of us will have to be thinking about a lot of things," Edwards said. "From the fan's seat, this will be one incredible event and not sure why any drag-race fan will not be in Charlotte this weekend. There will be plenty of excitement, great drag racing, and one of us will be the first to walk away as the four-lane champion. That is my team's goal. 

"This will be a great weekend of racing in North Carolina," Edwards said. "As a professional driver you do not get many opportunities to do something special like what is in front of us. We will have to be on top of our game for the entire weekend to get the honor to leave with trophies in both hands."

If Edwards can pull off the victory, he will open the season with three wins in four races and on course to defending his championship 

The best part is Edwards dominated the NHRA event in Charlotte in 2009, where he carried off the Wally and grabbed the NHRA Pro Stock points lead and never looked back.

Edwards Nearly Pulls Off Rare Pro Stock Double
Scores Rain-delayed Phoenix Crown And Earns Gainesville Runner-up

Heading into the weekend in Florida, Mike Edwards's goal was to win seven rounds of competition, the three concluding rounds of the Phoenix event and follow with four more at the Gatornationals. Well, he competing in all seven of those eliminations round, but in the final lap down the quarter-mile at Gainesville Raceway, Edwards' it was the only time his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Pontiac did not turn on the win light.

Edwards walked away with the rain-delayed Arizona Nationals title, which was moved to be held in conjunction with the Gatornationals, when he downed Greg Anderson, Allen Johnson, and first-time finalist Bob Yonke to secure his 22nd NHRA Wally.

 Heading into Sunday's elimination, as was the case at the first two events, Edwards was the top qualifier and had clicked off the quickest runs in each of those sessions. In the opening frame, Edwards blasted to the third quickest and fastest pass in the history of Pro Stock with a 6.520 at 212.23. He followed it up with convincing round wins over Ronnie Humphrey and for the second straight day the Dodge of Johnson in the semifinals.

In the money round, and the only person standing between him and a clean sweep was Jason Line, who took a shot at the Tree to overcome an e.t. deficit. The gambled paid off as he held off the quicker Edwards to end any hope of the Florida sweep.

 "With some of the rule changes before the event, I wasn't sure where we would be going into the event," Edwards said. "My team did a great job of making whatever adjustment we needed to make to compensate to those changes. We were doing everything just like we have the last year and it nearly turned into that perfect weekend. Jason did just a little better job on the starting line and got me. I know you cannot win them all, but this is a solid way to start a championship defense with two wins and a runner-up in the first three stops. I cannot complain."

 After three events, Edwards has a commanding 132 point lead over second-place Johnson. The next race on the tour is the first-time ever four-lane nationals in Charlotte, March 25-28.

 "I'm looking forward to something a bit different," Edwards said of the upcoming event. "I know as a driver it will not be that easy, but for the fans it will be an amazing show. I just hope I can get the first trophy from that event.

EDWARDS VICTORY GIVES CLOSURE
TO ARIZONA NATIONALS
Written by Susan Wade    Saturday, 13 March 2010 19:33

Mike Edwards mercifully but powerfully put a period Saturday on the end of the ill-fated National Hot Rod Association's Arizona Nationals.
 
This race that spanned 20 days and 1,800 miles, survived rain delays at both Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix and Gainesville Raceway a continent away in north central Florida,  and seemingly had no winners, in one sense -- certainly no winners circle celebration -- finished during the final day of qualifying for the Tire Kingdom Winternationals.
 
Edwards, driving the Penhall/Interstate Batteries/Young Life/ART Pontiac GXP, defeated Greg Anderson, Allen Johnson, and surprising first-time finalist Bob Yonke to claim his second victory in as many events this season. He also has the distinction of leading the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history but also that of being in position to win two national events in one weekend.
 
Ron Krisher spoiled Edwards' streak of qualifying quickest in every session and every elimination round this season with a 6.540-second pass late Saturday that landed him No. 2 in the order behind Edwards.
 
Edwards winced at the broken string but clearly had other priorities Saturday.
 
"Especially with conditions changing so much, it kind of put a little bit of pressure on us. You're qualifying. You're racing. It's the second round and you're qualifying," Edwards said. "You just try to go as far as you can and push it and see what happens."
 
What happened along the way was particularly disappointing for Rodger Brogdon, Krisher, and Anderson.
 
Brogdon ran career-best elapsed time and speed against Yonke with his 6.561-second, 210.77-mph quarterfinal run but lost on a holeshot by eight-thousandths of a second. Greg Stanfield followed with a holeshot victory over Krisher, who posted his career-best E.T. (6.555). In the next pairing, Anderson set a track-record 211.86 mph -- close to his early-day prediction that a Pro Stock driver would hit 212 mph this weekend. But he lost to Edwards, who used a 6.537-second E.T. to top his 6.569.
 
Yonke applied his 6.590/209.98 winning performance in the "Arizona Nationals semifinal" to qualify for the Gatornationals. He had been unqualified in his Pontiac GXP, 18th in the order, going into that round/session.
 
Edwards won with a 6.552-second blast at 211.16 to Yonke's 6.604/209.36.     
 
The Pro Stock class has a year to sort out the situation at Firebird International Raceway, where drivers Gordie Rivera and Vinnie Deceglie overturned in separate qualifying accidents.
 
"I think we all know that there was something wrong with the track (at Phoenix)," Edwards said. "I'm not going to point fingers at anybody. It's over with. I hope it's behind us. We're not going back there this year."
 
The NHRA Tech Department mandated changes between the Phoenix and Gainesville races in an attempt to stabilize the Pro Stock cars. Edwards said they're rules and he will live by them. 
 
"The changes they've made, we've all accepted them. If it's better for the class, that's good," he said.

Gainesville Friday Wrap-up

Edwards, who will face Greg Anderson tomorrow in the continuation of the weather-delayed Pro Stock eliminations from Phoenix, covered the distance in 6.610 at 208.97 in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to lead his category.

“We figured the track would be pretty good,” said defending world champ Edwards. “Of course, it rained most of the day, but when it did dry off, we had cloud cover all day, so we knew the track would be cool. So we thought the track would be pretty good, and it was.”

The Edwards-Anderson matchup will be one of four quarterfinal rounds left over from Phoenix that will be completed during tomorrow’s first qualifying session (noon). The semifinals will take place in the second qualifying round (2:45 p.m.). The two Phoenix finalists will then get an additional run tomorrow.

“[With Phoenix eliminations tomorrow], the focus does change,” Edwards said. “You’re doing two things at once. It’s different. You know, you’re qualifying but you’re also racing, so your mindset’s going to be a little different, that’s for sure. It’s going to be a little nerve-racking because if conditions change a lot, we’ll have to make a lot of changes to these cars, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Edwards Gets A Shot At Rare Pro Stock Double

When the weather conditions cancelled much of Pro Stock during the NHRA Stop at the Arizona Nationals, and with poor forecasts the next couple days, NHRA, with the support of the remaining eight drivers left in Pro Stock, created a rare opportunity this weekend at the Gatornationals. NHRA carried the remainder of eliminations to Gainesville Raceway to be completed during qualifying. 

It opens the door for one of eight drivers, including reigning Pro Stock champ Mike Edwards, to walk away from Florida with a pair of Pro Stock Wallys. 

"This will be a great weekend of racing in Florida," Edwards said. "As a professional driver you do not get many opportunities to double at the same track. We will have to be on top of our game for the entire weekend to get the honor to leave with trophies in both hands." 

If Edwards can pull off the sweep, he will open the season on a three-race win streak and on course to defending his championship.  

The twist is Edwards has never carried off a Wally when the tour hit Florida. He has reached the final in 1997 and the final four in 2007 and 2008. "We have always run fast in Gainesville because the track and conditions are usually close to perfect," he said. "It makes for a fun and fast race for everyone involved. You can't miss the setup at all if you want to be the last one standing."

 The continuation of the Phoenix elimination will start with the second qualifying session for Pro Stock, with the final coinciding with the last qualifying round on Saturday. 

"We are ready for the double pressure of trying to win Phoenix, qualify strong, and then come out Sunday and take another trophy."

Edwards No. 1 Again

When you’re on top there’s only one place to go and defending NHRA Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards knows that all too well.

Driving the Penhall-sponsored Pontiac GXP, Edwards stands on the cusp of his eleventh consecutive No. 1 qualifying effort with a 6.609 elapsed time at 209.46 during the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix.

Edwards has now led 24 consecutive qualifying sessions dating back to July 2009 in Denver.

“I want to get every inch of the race track that I can get and that first sixty feet is just as important as the last sixty feet,” said Edwards, when asked if his qualifying philosophy began with an aggressive launch.

“We are always, at every point, trying to get every ounce of performance we can. That’s the mindset we have. There are times when you can do that and times when you can’t. That just comes from making a lot of laps.”

An aggressive nature is something that will come in handy for Edwards, who qualified on the pole at this event last year yet lost in the quarter-finals to teammate Ron Krisher.

“I have never got that perfect knowledge of Firebird,” he said. “It always throws me some curve ball that I wasn't planning for. It is one of those tracks that you cannot let anything go unnoticed and you better do your homework because it will be something little that will derail your chances.”

Qualifying No. 1 provisionally gives Edwards the feeling his program has matured in the last year.

“Our main objective all of last year was just to be consistent,” said Edwards. “We wanted to just race the track, race the conditions … no matter what everyone else was doing … whether we were behind or ahead. We just really wanted to focus on the conditions and be consistent. I think we’ve done that. We just have to maintain.”

Edwards prepares for the conditions at hand, but when faced with the prospect Saturday could be impacted by rain, he decided to turn up the wick for insurance.

“We stepped up a little bit tonight hoping that we could run a little better,” Edwards admitted. “The conditions were not as favorable as the first run. We ran good, just couldn’t improve on the first run. We expect tomorrow to be a different day because of the conditions we expect to get. We’ll see what the challenges are.”

And after tomorrow, if Friday’s efforts hold, he’ll be celebrating yet another unbelievable feat. He still finds it hard to fathom for the last seventh months, no other Pro Stock driver has led the class into final eliminations from the No. 1 seed.

“That to me is pretty awesome … that’s Greg Anderson stats … and that’s hard to do,” Edwards said. “We've been able to go from one extreme to the other, one end of the country to the other, from 4000 feet to sea level at Richmond. There are a lot of changes that have to be make to make those cars work in those kinds of conditions. I’m proud of my team to make the adjustments and set-up on the cars to make it all work. “

Edwards is confident that what got him to the dance was more than just a fast car.

My whole team makes it happen … they are outrageously dependable like my sponsor Interstate Batteries,” Edwards said. “I’m so happy I just give the Lord all of the praise and glory.”

Fresh Off Victory, Edwards Hopes To Continue Trend In Phoenix

Mike Edwards could not have asked for a better way to open the 2010 season and the defense of his Pro Stock championship, than what he did in Pomona. He not only captured his 21st NHRA Wally, but did it in such dominant fashion. Edwards was low e.t. of all eight runs in Pomona and if all goes according to script, plans to continue that streak even further this weekend at the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix.

 "What a way to start the year," Edwards admitted. "We hoped we could come out and still be one of the stronger cars, but to do what we did, only shows how dedicated every single person around me was in the off-season. It proves they all put in those extra hours to make sure we stayed in the same position."

 Edwards hopes they help him get over a major hump at Firebird Int'l Raceway. Though he has qualified in the No. 1 spot on two occasions (2001 and 2009), he has never had his Penhall/Interstate Batteries/K&N Pontiac in the final round in the desert. Edwards has reached the semifinals only twice in the 13 appearances, and neither of those were when he was the top qualifier.

 "I have never got that perfect knowledge of Firebird," he said. "It always throws me some curve ball that I wasn't planning for. It is one of those tracks that you cannot let anything go unnoticed and you better do your homework because it will be something little that will derail your chances."

 Edwards has another streak he will try to keep intact, that of consecutive No. 1 qualifying efforts. He has started eliminations from the top spot at 10 straight events, dating back to 2009, which is the fifth longest streak in Pro Stock.

 "That all comes down to having a car that we know," he said. "We have thousands of pages of notes on this Pontiac and are at a point that it doesn't matter what the conditions we probably have some really good notes to help us get the car set correct for that run. That is a huge advantage being able to lean on the past and know the car will react a certain way."

THE SAME OLD SONG FOR EDWARDS
IN POMONA: DOMINATION

Written by Bobby Bennett, Photo by Roger Richards    Monday, 15 February 2010 09:00

The field can shuffle.

New cars and drivers can come into the mix.

But for the Pro Stock class, the more change that comes, the more the end result remains the same.

Defending champion Mike Edwards, dominated qualifying and eliminations, to the point he captured every possible point available short of setting a world record en route to winning the 50th NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Ca.

For eight consecutive rounds of qualifying and eliminations, Edwards returned to his pit area as the quickest 500-inch Pro Stocker on the property.

“This is a major win,” said Edwards, who last won the NHRA Winternationals title in 1981 as a sportsman racer. “What a way to start the season. My team is like Interstate Batteries slogan, Outrageously Dependable. That is what my team is, they are outrageously dependable. They make this car go up and down the track. It's a pleasure to be a part of this team, these guys are so good. We're just real fortunate to have what we have and I just want to give God all the glory and praise because without him this team is nothing.”

Today the competition needed a measure of divine intervention as Edwards flat dominated every time he covered the quarter-mile. And in the final, when Greg Anderson strapped a .03 light on him out of the gate, Edwards speed by just in time to score his 21st career victory.

“I need every bit of that last round,” admitted Edwards. “Greg, he walloped me there on the starting line. “I was hoping that track was a little bit longer. I saw a lot of Summit for a long ways, but it's was a great time to make a great run.”

Many believed the competition would bridge the monstrous gap Edwards held much of last year, but the increased competition only made Edwards dig deeper. 

“You have to be ready every time you pull up there,” he said. “There's a big bulls-eye now and I'm not use to that. I got a little use to that last year when I got beat on several hole shots. Hopefully I can turn that around this year and get some of those back.”

At the end of the day, although he scored the victory, Edwards reflected on the tough off-season his final round opponent has experienced including a house fire and medical issues with team owner Ken Black.

My hats off to Greg and Jason and all those guys, the tough winter they've had,” Edwards said. “Ken, hope he gets well soon. We miss him. We love the challenge they give us.”

Edwards Writes Perfect Season-opening Script
Grabs Victory And Pole
Enroute To Dominating Performance

Twenty-nine years after winning his first Winternationals title in Modified Eliminator, Edwards, frustrated twice by Summit teammates Greg Anderson (2006) and Jason Line (2009), scored his first Winternationals Pro Stock title by besting Anderson, 6.57, 210.47 to 6.61, 209.62. Anderson got the holeshot, .031 to .069, but Edwards ran him down to win his 21st Pro Stock Wally by just .003-second.

Prior to beating Anderson, Edwards' Penhall/Interstate/K&N Pontiac was the quickest car in all four qualifying sessions and had low e.t. of every preliminary round as he motored past Justin Humphreys, Greg Stanfield, and Allen Johnson with blasts of 6.604, 6.610, and 6.615 to reach the final, his 40th in the class. It's the second time that Edwards has racked up the maximum points available at a race; the first was in Richmond, Va., late last year.

"It feels good to come out here and win a race right off the bat," said Edwards. "It's a major win. I was telling Lisa last night before we got to go to bed I won this race 30 years ago in Modified; it's been a long time. What a way to start the season. Interstate Batteries' is outrageously dependable, and that's what my team is. They just make this car go up and down the track. It's just a pleasure to be a part of this team. These guys are just that good. We're just fortunate to have what we have."

"I needed every bit of that last run there. Greg, man, he walloped me on the starting line. It was a great race in the final there in Pro Stock. My hats off to Greg, Jason, and all those guys with the tough winter there. Ken Black, we all want to see him back out here because we all miss him. Those guys are an awesome team, and we love the challenge they give us because they're the best - they've got a lot of championships."

Many believed the competition would bridge the monstrous gap Edwards held much of last year, but the increased competition only made Edwards dig deeper. 

"You have to be ready every time you pull up there," he said. "There's a big bulls-eye now and I'm not use to that. I got a little use to that last year when I got beat on several hole shots. Hopefully I can turn that around this year and get some of those back."

Pomona Preview

Pomona Preview

Race 1

It's A Numbers Game

2

In 2009, Mike Edwards lost in the first round only twice, the best record of any Pro Stock driver. Other round finishes - 2 (first round), 6 (second), 6 (semifinals).

 

5

Mike Edwards clicked off a career best five victories in 2009 to vault him toward his first championship. It pushed his career win total to 20.

 

6.509

At the stop in Richmond, Mike Edwards grabbed all the headlines in the first round of Pro Stock when he became the first driver to clock a 6.50 run when he ousted V. Gaines in the opening round with a 6.509. The 6.509 e.t., currently stands as the quickest run in NHRA Pro Stock history.

 

9 (14)

Though speed does not win races, it does prove how dominant one team can be during the season. Mike Edwards carried off nine track speed records during the course of the season. At the same time earned a total of 14 top speeds of the event honors. From the Topeka event at end of May, through the Dallas stop in October, Edwards garnered 11 of the 12 speed marks during that stretch.

 9

Mike Edwards closed out the 2009 season with a nine-race No. 1 qualifying streak, which started at the NHRA stop in Brainerd. During the Countdown to One, the streak became a benefit to Edwards in the championship race as he earned the low qualifier bonus at all six events, a total of 48 points.

 

12/16

At half of the events in 2009, Mike Edwards left the facility with a track e.t. record to his credit. To put that into perspective, he ran faster than any driver in Pro Stock history has ever done at 12 of the stops, while only one other driver broke a track record during the 2009 campaign. To add to the accomplishment, Edwards earned the low e.t. mark for the event at 16 stops. At the last 16 races, Edwards earned the low e.t. honor at 13 of those events.

 

16

When Mike Edwards grabbed the pole at the season-ending Auto Club Finals in Pomona, he tied a record many thought would never be touched again when he equaled Greg Anderson's mark of 16 No. 1 qualifying efforts in one season. Edwards earned the top spot at two-thirds of the NHRA events in 2009, with the next best being Anderson's four poles, while four other drivers earned a single top qualifier.

 

53

Mike Edwards compiled the most round wins in 2009 with a total of 53. To put it into perspective for Mike's career, prior to the 2009 season he had compiled 221 round wins since he first got behind the wheel at the end of the 1995 season. The 53 round wins more than doubles his previous best of 26 in 2008 and 25 in 2006 and 1996.

 

212.03

During the semifinals in Houston, Mike Edwards achieved a mark few thought would ever happen when he blasted through the 212 mph barrier and becoming the first Pro Stock driver in that window when he lit up the scoreboard with a 212.03 mph speed

 

Carrying Big No. 1 Will Be A Bulls-eye Edwards Will Enjoy

Coming into the Kragen NHRA Winternationals, Mike Edwards knows all eyes are on his team and what they can do for an encore performance to the 2009 season. When he walked off with the NHRA Championship Wally at the end of the year, Edwards knew the off-season would be one of the more stressful because they could not sit back and just plan on being as dominant. 

"We know we set a target on us when we clinched the championship," he said. "That gave us the motivation in the winter months to work those extra long hours in the engine shop or check everything on the car a third or fourth time; because we knew everyone else was working that much harder. It is nice to have everyone gunning for you, but if we show up in Pomona for the Winternationals and fall on our face, nobody will remember what we did in 2009." 

To start the year, Edwards will stay in the trusty Pontiac GXP that carried him to the 2009 championship. The car that has more than 650 runs on it might be close to retirement, but Edwards is having a problem of parking that ride. 

"I know that car is getting tired and might not have a whole many more runs in it," he admitted. "We just wanted to make sure we came out the start of the season with not changing too many variables and get the momentum going again. We do have a new car sitting in the wings, but haven't had the chance to really test it much over the winter because as everyone knows, the weather hasn't been that cooperative to do so. Our plan is to stick with the old reliable GXP for as long as we can and start testing the new car and when the time is right we will make the change." 

For the Winternationals, Edwards looks forward to representing the Pro Stock class as its reigning champion. 

"It will be a weird feeling that first time they announce my name as the reigning champion; I still don't think it sunk in," he said. "Pomona will be one of those races I will remember for a long time because of what we did in 2009, but it also is the place to start new memories for 2010 that I hope build to the same finish nine months later at the same facility."

Big off season in sponsorship arena for Mike Edwards Motorsports

After capturing his first NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock championship, Mike Edwards and his team did not just sit back and relax with the championship Wally in the Oklahoma shop. Instead, they were out pounding the pavement trying to come up with addition support for the team to allow them the opportunity to defend their title. Through the hard work, Edwards was able to develop marketing partnerships with Penhall Company, Interstate Batteries, and K&N Filters to strengthen his cause in 2010. 

"We have worked so hard to gain the additional backing needed to stay at the top of the Pro Stock class," Edwards said. "These three companies fit with what we are trying to accomplish with Mike Edwards Motorsports and allow us to continue to carry the message this team has been founded on from the beginning of giving back.

 "The great part is it only adds to the sponsors that have stood by us and are back in 2010," he continued. "With companies like A.R.T., Young Life, Contemporary Corvette, KME, and Marengo, they have helped us lay a solid foundation over the years and have helped us develop a marketing model that other groups are seeing the positive strengths it can bring to them as well."

Edwards starts 10th year with Young Life "Giving Kids Hope"

Before every event, Mike Edwards hosts an event, "Giving Kids Hope," a group where local chapters of Young Life bring kids to the track to allow them to get a glimpse of the drag racing world and interact with Edwards' team, take pictures, play games, and enjoy some food. At the end of the evening, Edwards sits down with the kids and talks about drag racing and how his relationship with God has shaped his life and given him direction and let these kids know that people do care about them and want them to succeed in life.

 The 2010 season will mark the 10th year that Edwards and his team have hosted this event that more than 20,000 kids have participated in over the decade.

 "I can honestly say that this is the one part of the weekend I always look forward to," Edwards said. "How can you not love being around kids and feel the energy they bring for life; it just lifts your spirits and makes you realize what truly is important in life. Win lights are great come Sunday, but what we do before the race weekend even starts makes a bigger impact for the future.

 "That we have done this for nearly a decade, we have kids who are now adults coming back and talking to us and thanking us for this program because it has helped them on their journey," Edwards continued. "From the beginning, we wanted to race to help kids, and by getting those conformations is truly a blessing."

 If your Young Life group would like to take part in the pre-race evening events during an NHRA stop in your area, contact Marilyn with Mike Edwards Motorsports at mrobinson@mikeedwardsmotorsports.com.

 

K&N Joins Forces With Reigning Champ
Edwards For A Second Title Run In 2010

The identifiable K&N Filters logo will return to the ranks of NHRA Full Throttle racing when the orange, red, and black colors will grace the reigning Pro Stock world champion Pontiac of Mike Edwards for the 2010 season.

 K&N"K&N has been a sponsor of many in the series and is the title sponsor for the K&N Pro Stock Challenge and we are excited to be able to join forces with such a company," Edwards said.

"It is a really honor for them to continue to expand their motorsports efforts with Mike Edwards Motorsports. This partnership will help our team to continue to move our operation in a certain direction and allow us to gain even more knowledge using the company's expertise in engine airflow."

K&N will be found prominently on the scoop of Edwards car, as well as have a presence on the side of the vehicle. "We have some special projects in the works with the group at K&N and these marketing strategies will be noticed throughout the course of the season," Edwards added.

"We have been working on this partnership for quite some time and to join efforts with somebody like Mike Edwards will only benefit our company even more," said Bob Harris, K&N Corporate Race Account Manager. "As a company, we are thrilled to start a deeper relationship with the reigning world champ than we have had in the past in many areas including support with technology.

"Another huge asset of becoming a marketing partner with Mike and his team is the association with the Young Life program," Harris continued. "The things Mike has done with Young Life in helping send kids to camp goes to show what kind of person he is away from the track and that is something that drew us to him."

The reigning NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock champion opens his 2010 defense this weekend at the 50th annual NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.

 

Edwards To Again Fly Penhall Colors In 2010

The reigning NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock champion Mike Edwards has been busy in the off-season in the sponsorship front as he will again fly the Penhall Company logo during the 2010 season. The distinctive Penhall Company logo and colors are part of a multi-year partnership.

"At Mike Edwards Motorsports we are excited to have the Penhall Company back as part of our team and to be able to compete under their brand name during the 2010 season and beyond," said Edwards, who also championed the Penhall name in 2007 and 2008.

Penhall"The Penhall Company has played a major role in my team's mission of reaching kids around the country," Edwards continued. "We are honored to represent the Penhall Company and again be part of that groups marketing strategy in the drag-racing arena."

Since 1957, Penhall Company has set the industry standard for safety, quality and value. Penhall Company encompasses 39 strategic US locations and employs more than 1,200 professionals, with current and ongoing expansion into Canada. The company has dedicated the last 50 years to honing its specialized concrete cutting, drilling, grinding and demolition services.

Penhall Company has been instrumental in the evolution of premier motorsports facilities across the US, Canada and even overseas. Penhall is responsible for developing techniques to improve the ride and surface texture of the quarter-mile tracks. Specialty items such as the Track Vac that removes water from the racing surface and the rubber applying machine used by NHRA were designed and built by Penhall; all of which have contributed to safer, more consistent and faster racing.

"We are excited and honored to be part of Mike Edwards Motorsports and their passion to give kids hope" added George Bush, Penhall Company President and COO.

The reigning NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock champion opens his 2010 defense this weekend at the 50th annual NHRA Winternationals in Pomona

EDWARDS FEELS FORTUNATE TO BE BACK
Written by Stan Creekmore; Photo by Roger Richards    Sunday, 07 February 2010 11:40

Mike Edwards is a humble man, a humble champion and a dedicated racer.
The 2009 NHRA Pro Stock Champion refused to count his chickens before they hatched last year, but now, with the 2010 season just around the corner, Edwards faces beams with joy when someone says, 'hey champ'.

“That sounds good doesn't it?” he says in response to the accolade.

Good enough to sustain him over the winter as the team faced the daily possibility of not being able to defend their title.

“It feels good,” admitted Edwards, when asked how it felt to be in Las Vegas at the Pro Stock Showdown. “These things, it take a lot of money to get them out here and make them run the way we try to run. We were real fortunate over the winter to have some great companies step up to help us.”

Over the winter, Penhall and Interstate Batteries both stepped up, giving the team a big boost. Contemporary Corvette stepped up their involvement with the team after joining the team late in the year last year. Additionally, A. R. T., a company that has a long history with Edwards, continues to provide support.

Winning the championship is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Edwards. Defending it, means the dream continues.

“It's awesome,” said Edwards. “To win in this class, with this competition we have today, makes me have to take a double take when I look at that car and it has the number 1 on it. It still feels awful good. It is just real humbling and I am thankful to get a chance to do it again.”

Edwards is sincere when he speaks of being humbled. This is a guy who doesn't even put his name on the car. His is a team, with no I in it. The team won a championship, not just the driver.

“It was a tremendous effort by all these guys. They just worked as hard as me. Harder sometimes. They just put the effort out to make it happen. We were fortunate. We had some breaks. We ran so good. I mean, 16 number one qualifiers, that's pretty good.”

Can the team repeat in 2010?

“We'll go to Pomona and see where we stack up,” said Edwards. “Whatever happens there, we'll try to get better after that. It's a long season. We'd like to get off to a good start and see what happens.”

Full Throttle Champ Edwards
Tops Qualifying in Las Vegas

Picking up where he left off last year, NHRA Full Throttle champ Mike Edwards drove to the top spot during qualifying for the annual Pro Stock Showdown at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Through four rounds of qualifying, Edwards was the quickest with a 6.681 to pace the 13-car field He also set top speed of the event with a 206.99-mph blast. Edwards is the current LVMS track record holder with a run of 6.623 seconds at 207.27 recorded last November.

"It remains to be seen where we stand compared to the rest of the field but it's good to get back in the car and make a few runs," said Edwards. "This winter, we did a little R&D but for the most part, everything is basically the same as the last time we ran it in Pomona. Most of the runs we made today, including that 6.68, were pretty good so I'm happy."

Edwards' Pontiac GXP arrived in Las Vegas sporting a new paint scheme that prominently features a variety of sponsors including Penhall, A.R.T. Interstate Batteries and K&N Filters. "For a while, we were a little uncertain about our future, but it was a big blessing to have everything come together with Penhall and Interstate Batteries joining us."

MIKE EDWARD WILL RACE 2010 WITH SPONSORSHIP FROM INTERSTATE BATTERIES

Mike Edwards Motorsports has established a new partnership with Interstate Batteries for the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock season. Interstate Batteries will serve as a predominant sponsor for the 24 race season on the 2009 NHRA Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards Pontiac.

The partnership with Mike Edwards Motorsports marks Interstate Batteries return to NHRA competition.

"Our racing organization shares Interstate Batteries core values ... and with that alliance behind our team, we believe this is will be a winning combination in 2010," Edwards said.

The distinctive Interstate Batteries logo will grace the front hood of Edwards' car. The partnership will also carry outside the NHRA circle as Edwards will be part of Interstate Batteries marketing approach in other arenas in 2010.

"Interstate Batteries has been a familiar brand in motorsports for almost 20 years and we're pleased to return to NHRA to be a part of Mike Edwards Motorsports continued success this season," said Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller. "Mike's outrageous dependability as a competitor fits Interstate Batteries' promise to consumers.  This sponsorship is also a great opportunity to build upon the excitement of the I Am Second campaign that continues to spread virally."

After finishing fourth in the NHRA Pro Stock championship standings in 2008, Edwards rewrote the record book in 2009, not only did he earn five victories, he become the first Pro Stock driver to eclipse the 212 mph barrier, set the national e.t. record at 6.509, and qualified on the pole at 16 events, including the last 9 of the season. With the additional support, expect Edwards and the entire team to be in contention for the 2010 championship.
Edwards and the team plan to begin preseason testing in preparation for the defense of the NHRA title during this weekends Pro Stock Shootout at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including additional days following the event, before heading to the NHRA Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals the following weekend in Pomona

EDWARDS CONFIRMS HE WILL RACE IN 2010

Defending Champion Returning With Same Game Plan – Win The Title

NHRA Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards left the NHRA AAA Finals in Pomona, Ca, last November, uncertain of what the future held for his race team. Today he sees the horizon a lot clearer.

Edwards confirmed with Attitude’s CompetitionPlus.com that he will race a 23-race schedule in 2010.

“We’re coming out with the same car, same crew, same everything that got us to the dance last season,” admitted Edwards on Monday afternoon.

Edwards confirmed that he’s lined up several new associate sponsorships, that he is not ready to name at this time.

The defending champion harbors no thoughts that his championship defense will be easy by any stretch of the imagination.

“It’s gonna be tougher,” he said. “It’s going to be just as hard this year as it was last year. We are just going to have to keep at it constantly, whittling away at it. Nothing’s changed. (We're) trying to find every bit of power we can find. Just because you are at the top doesn’t give you a free pass to relax.”

Edwards will continue his lease engine program with Ron Krisher in 2010.

As for the paint scheme this season, Edwards said it will be similar to last year's with a few changes.

“We don’t know who will be on the door right now,” Edwards said.

Edwards plans to begin his preseason testing next week in Bradenton, Fla.

2009 DOT COM AWARDS - WINNERS

Every year since Attitude’s CompetitionPlus.com began publication in 1999, this Internet magazine has offered race fans the chance to choose the best driver/individual suited for awards based off their performances on and off the track. The following are the results of our reader ballots offered during the Christmas holidays. Each year's competition grows in size as Attitude’s CompetitionPlus.com continues to expand its readership. For the fourth consecutive year, the vote totals have exceeded the previous years totals

MIKE AIELLO PERSON OF THE YEAR

Mike Edwards

Few can argue the worthiness of this individual’s appointment to our most prestigious award.

Mike Edwards has exemplified both on and off the track that he’s a champion. Whether it’s generating funds for the Young Life organization or entertaining inner-city youth at various national events, Edward doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.

On the track, he graciously accepted defeat, in the few times it came.

And, in beating the competition, he was a gracious winner.

Edwards did what he needed to win, and when it came to his one engine lease customer, the champion saw to it that his customer won too.

Edwards was also presented the Mike Aiello Spirit of Drag Racing award, an honor founded by 1320tv.com and now presented by Attitude’s CompetitionPlus.com.

This reader-generated vote confirms what we knew all along.

Mike Edwards is our Mike Aiello Person of the Year winner.

PROFESSIONAL RACER OF THE YEAR

Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards was the quintessential “win when it counts” professional racer during the 2009 season. There were times when he was “owned” in the regular season but when it came to the Countdown to 1, he was the “owner” of the competition.

Edwards dominated qualifying so much that his 16 No. 1 qualifying efforts tied a five year mark established by fellow Pro Stock racer Greg Anderson. And for Edwards, that domination parlayed into a gaggle of bonus points towards a championship. The bonus points renewed a confidence that was shaken at times during the regular season, and had it not have been for a crucial loss here and there, Edwards could have clinched the title earlier than the Pomona finale, way earlier.

It’s no surprise that Edwards was voted the Professional Driver of the Year award by our readers. This was his year and his actions confirmed it.

 

MEM