With the NHRA Mello Yellow tour swinging to the Lone Star State and Texas Motorplex, outside Dallas, Mike Edwards and his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/K&N/Penhall team know they need to continue going late rounds in eliminations, but also understand that the only way to make sure the NHRA Pro Stock championship comes back to Oklahoma for a second time, is they need add to the collection of NHRA Wallys they have gathered this season.
Edwards enters the event in the points lead, 10 points clear of Jeg Coughlin Jr., but know he needs to win rounds to keep that position.
"We've had a solid race car all season, and know the only way to take advantage of the next five races in the Countdown is to win events and collect NHRA Wallys," Edwards reflected. "The first race in Charlotte, we did a good job, but just never found the speed we were looking for in a few areas and lost in the final four.
"Moving forward, we understand that the only way to control our destiny and the championship is we have to win races, and by winning is the only way you can make sure nobody can chase you down. 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. He considers it basically a home event with many family and friends making the short drive from Oklahoma, and second it is in the backyard of Interstate Batteries.
"These are the kind of events you want to put your best foot forward with all your biggest supporters at the track cheering you on," he said. "It adds a little pressure, but I look at it as a good type because you want to give something back to them at the end of the day."
To be able to get that Wally at the end of the day, Edwards knows he will have to be fast. The Texas Motorplex has been known since it was first built as the home of fast times and Edwards does not see any reason that trend will not continue this weekend.
"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. The weather forecast calls for temperatures mid 80s throughout the weekend. "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 nine of the 15 events he qualified, capturing the 1998 spring event title, and reaching the final in 1999, and 2006, and reaching the money round in 2010.
"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."
Designed by Earl Kendall, designer of the Mike Edwards t-shirts. See his website at www.earlsteeshirtdesigns.com
Mike Edwards and his K&N/Penhall/Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy team can mark the trip to the mile-high city as a true test that they hope helps them come the NHRA playoffs.
Edwards qualified No. 8, his lowest starting position of the season, but knew it should have been better. During Friday's first qualifying session, Edwards broke a rear spool and between runs inserted new gears and went to the starting line for the evening session. He posted the fourth-best time of the round, but at the scales was five pounds lighter than the mandatory 2,350-pound minimum.
"That was 100 percent a bad judgement on our part," Edwards admitted. "We never thought the new unit was a few pounds lighter than the one we took out, and it cost us a run that probably would have helped come Sunday."
In the opening round, Edwards drew Jeg Coughlin Jr., who sits third in points. With the error behind them, Edwards and his Chevy Camaro blasted to a opening round low 6.974 to oust Coughlin. In the second round, Edwards drew second-place in points Allen Johnson. This time, he could not card a victory as the pair both ran 6.98s, but the nod going to Johnson as his near perfect reaction stopped Edwards.
"Based on how the weekend started, we were fortunate to pick up a round win and come out with a tough lesson in making sure to pay attention to the little things," Edwards said. "We put ourselves in a bad spot on the ladder having to race Jeg and then Allen, who runs well on the mountain.
"We will head to Sonoma, knowing that we need to not have any more mental mistakes and go out and try and put this K&N/Penhall Camaro in the winner's circle."
After 14 of 24 events, Edwards still holds NHRA Pro Stock points lead over Johnson. Edwards has also clinched a spot in the NHRA Countdown to a Championship.
Mike Edwards will again don a new look for the Western Swing through Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle, as the 2009 NHRA Pro Stock champion will bring back the graphic design to recognize his partnership with K&N Filters.
"Working with K&N continues to be a great partnership on and off the race track," Edwards said. "Our marketing partnership has grown during that time and for the third year we have put together a program to fly the company colors."
This year it is a bit different as Edwards and his Chevy Camaro will have the recognizable K&N logo on the side of the car starting this weekend in Denver, and then continue in Sonoma and Seattle with the final race being the NHRA stop in Brainerd.
"Mike Edwards Motorsports is proud to be associated with such a reputable company and be a major component in K&N's strategic plan of marketing its products in the drag racing arena."
The Chevy Camaro will be decked out with the K&N logo prominent on the door, with the company's distinct color stripes, all on a black canvas provided by 1320 Wraps by Fineline. Edwards will also carry Penhall, Interstate Batteries, and I Am Second as associates.
"We are excited to be a bigger part of the Mike Edwards Motorsports this year," said Tony Yorkman, K&N Sports Marketing Manager. "Being in the primary position for some of the biggest races of the season has the K&N family anxious to see the new livery that the team will be running the next four events.
"Mike is a big part of what K&N is doing. He not only helps us with brand awareness but he is a major component of the research and development program that has helped to improve K&N's line of products used on the track every week.
"With Mike's abilities, a great car and the group of guys he has supporting him, we are confident we will see the K&N logo in the winner circle a few times in the coming weeks."
Edwards has the same hopes for the new look. "We will hit Denver with the new design and plan to carry K&N to a couple winner's circles as we head west. As a team we are excited to do this for K&N and want to do them proud on the West Coast."
Edwards enters this weekends Mopar Mile-High Nationals fresh off his fourth victory of the season in Norwalk, a top the Pro Stock points standings, and as the only driver to clinch a spot in the NHRA Countdown To A Championship playoff.
With the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway outside of the mile-high city of Denver, Mike Edwards knows he is going to one of the tracks on the tour he feels at home. He proved that in 2011, when he walked off with the Wally, his second on the mountain in his career.
"I don't know why I feel so comfortable at Bandimere, because it is such a unique race and makes you change basically everything you do to attack the altitude and lack of air," said Edwards, who will debut the new K&N/Penhall design. "These engines love oxygen, which you don't have very much of when you are on the mountain at Bandimere Speedway and its 5,800-foot above sea-level facility.
"You would think that would make you hit sensory overload trying to be fast, but we go there and it is just a different feeling," he continued. "It has to be the great Bandimere family that owns the place. There's nobody that makes you feel at home more than they do."
The Denver stop is the first of three straight weekends that could help the K&N/Penhall/Interstate Batteries team solidify their place in the 2013 Pro Stock standings and build that much-needed momentum heading into the f playoff-style Countdown to a Championship that closes out the year.
Though he has captured four wins, been on the pole at 10 of the first 13 events, and the only driver to clinch a spot in the Countdown, Edwards knows the Western Swing through Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle, can be the difference in a championship run when the calendar changes to September and October.
"Many years this grueling trek west has made or broke many championship runs," said Edwards, of the 4,600-mile trip from the team's Oklahoma shop, said. "It truly is the biggest test we have during the season because each of the three venues is so drastically different and the travel doesn't allow for any of us to return to our shops and prepare for the next event. Everything is just on the fly and you better be able to make the right calls and keep ahead of the curve or this trip will swallow you up."
Even with the grind and travel of racing the Western Swing, Edwards's counts the three stops as some of tracks he loves heading to most.
"I have to say these three stops (Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle) are some of my favorite races on the tour though," Edwards admitted. "The setting of the facilities are all breathtaking and when it all comes down to it, the key is turning on the win light, so I accept the different parameters that are thrown at us and use them to strengthen the entire program.
"And the first stop in Denver, trust me, we learn some things on the mountain that makes us even better for the rest of the season at sea-level."
Edwards enters the three-race Western Swing in first place in points, and clinched his spot in the NHRA Countdown to a Championship with his victory at the previous event in Ohio.
When you have been racing for more than 30 years, you would be hard press to find something or somewhere you have never been in the drag racing world. Well, this weekend, when the NHRA Mello Yellow tour heads to New Hampshire for the inaugural New England Nationals, Mike Edwards and his entire I Am Second/Interstate Batteries/Penhall/K&N team will be wondering into unchartered territory. Edwards has never made it to New England Dragway in his career.
"It is weird to be going to such an iconic track from the early days of drag racing for the first time," Edwards said of New England Dragway, which has been around since the 1960s. "It holds a ton of history in the sport and to finally get to see the place in person and then compete for the first NHRA Pro Stock Wally at the facility is just one of those cool opportunities."
Being a track that Edwards has never made a lap down will add some challenges with his Chevy Camaro. "Not having any data on the track itself will make it a real battle for all of us in Pro Stock," he said. "Usually we have volumes of information on each track that we can fall back on to help with the tuning of the hot rod.
"This time, we will have to go by to the seat of the pants tuning and hope we are making the right calls. Don't get me wrong, all those runs we have made this year will be beneficially, because at some point we had similar conditions and we can use that to our advantage."
Edwards has a strong feeling that New England Dragway might produce some fast numbers this weekend. With the track located a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean and temperatures predicted to be in the low 80s could be a recipe for low numbers.
"Like anything, these engines love oxygen and when we are at sea level and close to the ocean, there is some good clean air available and it helps make a ton of horsepower," he said. "I hope it leads us to our 11th K&N Low Qualifier bonus come Saturday, and then our fourth win of the year on Sunday."
Mike Edwards and his I Am Second/Interstate Batteries/Penhall/K&N Chevy team weekend came to an end in the second round of elimination when Edwards' car went silent with an enginer problem and could not get past eventual winner Rodger Brogdon at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.
Edwards qualified No. 1, marking the ninth time in 10 events in 2013, and moved him into elite company with NHRA as it marked the 50th time in his career to grab the pole and made him one of only 11 Professional drivers to reach the half-century mark, and ranks him fourth all-time in Pro Stock behind Warren Johnson, Bob Glidden, and Greg Anderson. His 6.632 at a track record speed of 208.23 earned Edwards the top spot at Bristol for the second time.
In the opening round, Edwards took care of J.R. Carr, to extend his win streak at Bristol to 17 straight rounds, before the engine broke in the second round, putting an end to the four year dominance in Bristol.
"It is always tough to swallow a loss when you have an engine part failure that takes out the engine and makes you abort a run," Edwards said. "It is never good to loss an engine in competition, but that is part of the sport. I have all the confidence in the engine shop. I can't remember when we had an engine loss in competition.
"We have several engines in our arsenal and we will drop in a new bullet and head to New England Dragway for the next race."
After 10 of 24 events, Edwards holds a 164 point lead in the the NHRA Pro Stock over Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin, who are tied for second.
This morning competitionplus.com posted a video highlighting the true mission behind Mike Edwards Motorsports. Thought everyone who follows Mike would like to take a look.
Below is the link to the video. Also, if you can leave a comment on the Facebook
link so the website host Bobby Bennett can see how we apprecate the website
not just focusing on the racing element only.
Mike Edwards: A Man On A Mission
This weekend, when the Mello Yellow NHRA Tour heads to infamous Bristol Dragway for the 10th stop on the 2013 season, Mike Edwards will be trying to pull off a fete that has not been reached in the history of Pro Stock. He will be trying to win the same event for the fifth straight title at the same track.
Though he has won at Thunder Valley four straight years, fresh off a victory at the last event on the NHRA circuit in Englishtown, his third of the year, holds a 152 point lead, and has earned the No. 1 qualifier at eight of the first nine events, Edwards and his I Am Second/Interstate Batteries/Penhall/K&N-backed team are reluctant to talk about their chance at making history this weekend.
But, anyone who has spent any time with Edwards, or seen him on the race coverage knows that he is not one to talk about himself in that regard. "The Pro Stock class is as tough as it comes," he said. "Look at the final last year that I won by less than 10-thousandths of a seconds. The competitors are some of the best in the business. You don't just gave a couple of teams fighting it out there are several guys and gals gunning for you."
Edwards enters the event at the four-time event champion and has won in different fashions, from having the best car on the property in 2009 and 2010, to getting a lucky break in 2011, and then using a starting-line advantage to hang on by a hair last year.
"I cannot point to one thing as to why we have been as good as we have at this facility," he said. "There is the confidence being the defending champ, which never hurts, and being comfortable with everything about the event. It is always exciting to return to Thunder Valley because of all the success over the years. But, you never want to take it for granted and that is why we tested in Bristol last week and tried some things that we feel will help is in the future."
As for a five-peat Edwards knows that would b a awesome to pull off, but knows there will be 18 other Pro Stock team that want the trophy just as bad.
"I know how quick this sport can bring you to your knees and know that bulls-eye is huge this weekend," he said. "It is going to be a knock down drag out brawl to take home the Wally this time. But, we are going to give it all we got and see what happens. We are excited about the way our I Am Second/Interstate Batteries/Penhall/K&N Camaro has performed to this point in the 2013 season. We must keep trying new things to go faster as the competition is not just sitting at home, they are working hard too."
Bristol kicks off a stretch of seven races in an eight-week span that will take the team coast-to-coast, with stops in New Hampshire, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, California, and Washington.
Mike Edwards and his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/Penhall/K&N Chevy team weekend came to an end in the second round of elimination when Edwards could not get past Vincent Nobile at the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kan.
Edwards qualified No. 1, marking the seventh time in eight events in 2013 that he started from the pole. His 6.618 earned Edwards the top spot at Topeka for the fourth time.
In the opening round, Edwards was handed an easy victory when Steve Kent fouled at the start. Against Nobile, Edwards could not chase down the better light of Nobile and dropped the decision.
"We came up a little short this weekend," Edwards said. "How about .0064-seconds short to be exact. Even though we did not win, I couldn't be more proud of our team. The guys fought through some tremendous obstacles.
"From breaking an engine prior to the second qualifying run, which included installing a new bullet in less than 25 minutes and still go out and qualify No. 1. To having transmission problems on the fourth qualifying run.
"Overall it was a good weekend to grab another K&N Low Qualifier bonus and get a few Mello Yellow points."
After eight of 24 events, Edwards holds the NHRA Pro Stock points lead over second place Jeg Coughlin.
When Mike Edwards and his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries team left the Atlanta Dragway facility on Saturday, though they had the Wally after capturing the victory, and a firm grip on the NHRA Mello Yellow Pro Stock points lead, they knew the next stop at the NHRA Kansas Nationals, in Topeka, Kan., was their home field.
Like in all sports, battling in the friendly confines with many of your fans in the stands can only help, and it has for Edwards over the years. And this time around, the only thing the team is looking for is to secure a 37th NHRA Wally and celebrate with all their family and friends.
It is the closest track to the Tulsa area where all our family and friends live, so they make the couple hour drive north every year to be able to see us race in person," Edwards said. "That makes the Topeka stop a special place for all of us because it allows us to be surrounded by those who love and support us, which I believe takes some of the pressure away in some regard because of the comfort you have. It also adds a bit of pressure because you do not want to make the trip for not for everyone that took time away from their lives to watch you race."
Whatever the formula is, it must work for Edwards and the team because they always seem to shine in the Kansas sun. Edwards has been part of a handful of finals at the track, capturing the title in 1999, from the No. 16 spot, and then in 2010 from the pole. He also had three straight No. 1 qualifiers from 2009 through 2011.
"I can say I have won this race from both ends of the spectrum," he said. "In 1999, that was one of those race days you could do no wrong from the starting line to making the right calls on the track. It meant a lot because I did something nobody before did, and that was win from the No. 16 position." He defeated Troy Coughlin in the final on a holeshot.
Then in 2010, Edwards qualified on the pole and marched to the final, only to use another starting-line holeshot to capture the victory over Allen Johnson, who upset Edwards the previous year in the money round.
"Topeka usually comes down to who does better at the start, because the track is very consistent throughout the weekend," Edwards said. "I just need to do my job like I did in the couple years I've won, and I can a third NHRA Pro Stock trophy to my 2013 collection."
Edwards Hopes To Return To Winning Ways In Atlanta
After missing the final at the last stop on the Mello Yellow NHRA tour, Mike Edwards and his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/Penhall/K&N team, plain and simple, want to get back to winning events. And Atlanta comes with even more excitement, being in the backyard of Coca-Cola and the perfect place to showcase Mello Yellow NHRA Drag Racing.
"Since Coca-Cola began its partnership with NHRA, the trip to Atlanta has carried extra meaning with all the executives who come out and taste drag racing and catch the vision of why we love this sport so much," Edwards said. "I believe that is why the relationship continues to grow with the Mello Yellow brand this year and I hope we can continue to grow the sport.
"As far as on the race track, the last race did not unfolded as we had hoped coming off the win in Charlotte," Edwards said. "We were strong during the four-wide racing in Charlotte, and then we went to Houston and made a poor run the first qualifying session and was behind at that point and to top it off had weather delays, and we just came up short in the first round."
With it being a quick turnaround with only four days from finishing up Houston and the start of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, Edwards' strategy is to find the form that carried him to back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009 at the facility.
"Atlanta conditions are always tricky and we will face similar challenges as Houston with lots of humidity. Tuning will be the major obstacle this weekend. We want to continue to make steady progress forward in Atlanta and start building some momentum as we head into the heated part of the NHRA schedule." Edwards knows this is the time of the year that you better be on the top of your game because of factors like a hot race track, back-to-back events, and little time to test.
Edwards enters Atlanta on top of the points and hopes to build on that as the tour heads to tracks he has tasted success in the past.
"We are hoping that Atlanta kicks off the run for us to continue building on what we accomplished the first six races and hopefully a comfortable position in the points chase and possibly the top spot come time for the NHRA playoffs," said Edwards. "With Topeka, and stops in Englishtown and Bristol waiting in the wings, those are facilities we've had success in the past and only help us know we can build some momentum heading into the summer events."
In Houston, Edwards's streak of five consecutive events as No. 1 qualifier ended, and the team as a whole want to start a new run in Atlanta. "We plan to get back on track and some great qualifying runs and try and get the K&N Horsepower Challenge money for the No. 1 qualifier spot."
Covering first win of 2013, momentum,
No. 1 qualifying streak, 1996 Houston, and e.t. record
You are heading into Houston off your first win of the season last week. Looking back, how big was that?
Edwards: "For the team as a whole that was a huge weekend in Charlotte. We made really good runs every pass down the track and that resulted in us taking home the NHRA Wally. After the first four races having a really fast car and not getting a win, it was beginning to make you think that it might not be in the cards for a victory this year. But the win builds the morale of the team, which a few of the guys had never reached, and it gives you that taste and it makes you work harder to get back for some more."
With that win under your belt, how does that momentum work from race-to-race?
Edwards: "That is a tricky thing in drag racing. A victory gives you the confidence that you know you are doing things right and moving in the right direction. At the same time, you do not want to rest of your past and think you can just show up and win races. I have been around this sport way to long to know that you are only good as your last run down the race track. We get a few days to enjoy the win and maybe it will boost us some because of the confidence thing, but come Friday after the first qualifying session, we are all back on the same ground trying to win the next trophy."
Right now you have qualified No. 1 at the first five events of 2013, how do you keep that going?
Edwards: "It has been an amazing start to the 2013 Pro Stock season. I never thought that this Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/Penhall/K&N team would have enjoyed this much success in qualifying. Pro Stock is such a competitive field and nearly every car that pulls to the starting line each qualifying session is capable of going to the pole and to be able to do it five-straight times.
"To hopefully keep it going this weekend, we are going to go at qualifying the same way we have the first five stops and that is to make sure we get from point A to point B on every run and continue to improve and move forward and make better and better laps. It sounds easy when you say it, but actually making it work on the quarter-mile is tough. My guys are amazing and are doing there jobs at a top level and that allows us to make the right moves and be in the No. 1 qualifying position come Sunday."
Your first career Pro Stock victory came in Houston in 1996, does pulling into the track bring back good memories?
Edwards: "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. I don't know why, but it seems like we always do well when we come to Houston. 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."
For the second time this year, you reset the NHRA Pro Stock E.T. record, what doest that mean to you and the team?
Edwards: "My setting the NHRA Pro Stock E.T. record for a second time this season is just an award to all the long hours and hard work every single member of this team puts in. It is the culmination of everyone doing what they are supposed to and the right moment. I can't tell you how proud it made me to get that time slip and be able to enjoy the moment with the normal group that travels to each event and the guys from the engine shop who only get to come to a couple races.
"With the engine shop just down the road from the track, running that number in Charlotte meant even more because everyone got to feel what it was like to be part of the fastest car. I hope we continue to grow from it and get even hungrier because the ultimate prize is winning the Mello Yellow NHRA Pro Stock championship, but that moment in Charlotte I will cherish for a long time."
Written by CPTV, Kathy Fisher
Mike Edwards raced to his fifth consecutive No. 1 position of the season in Pro Stock, powering his I Am Second Chevy Camaro to a national elapsed time record of 6.471 seconds at 213.64 mph. It is Edward’s 46th career No. 1 position and he will open eliminations against Vincent Nobile, V Gaines and Frank Gugliotta.
“Today was an awesome day,” Edwards said. “I never would have believed that we could be No. 1 at the first five races. That’s so hard to do. So far, qualifying has been great, but I need to work on race day. Hopefully we can run good tomorrow.”
Covering Challenges of Four-wide racing, testing,
No. 1 qualifier streak, and the three-race swing
With the Four-wide Nationals different than all the events on the schedule, how do you even prepare?
Edwards: "This will be the fourth time attacking this different style of racing, and you have to approach this race so different than everything else we do because of how much is going on at the startling line as you deal with what three other cars are doing instead of one.
"The Four-wide Nationals is one of the hardest events to prepare for. We are so trained to be paired with only one car and able to focus in on racing a single opponent. This weekend, you have to triple that and battle three other drivers.
"The best part is, once the Tree comes down, it comes back to what I have been doing since 1996; trying to make the best run down the track as possible."
What is the key to winning the Four-wide format?
Edwards: "I believe the key to the race is having lane choice and a car you can fully trust. Everyone has a comfort level and this race is no different. That we have done it now a few times, we know which lane is best to be in to deal with the distractions. But the key, is having a car under you that doesn't need everything perfect each run and allows you to compensate and adjust on the fly, and sometimes might just save you from yourself if it is fast."
You tested since the Las Vegas event, how did that go with your Chevy Camaro?
Edwards: "Every time we make a run down the quarter-mile we believe we are moving forward and finding out exactly what this Camaro likes. It has been a fast car from the beginning, but we want to fix the small hiccups that have not allowed us to win races. We have tested pretty hard and think we have found some of the causes.
"At the same time, we have been working closely with K&N in airflow management and believe we are making great strides in that direction. Basically, as a team we are attacking this from all angles to make us more consistent and continue to be fast."
You have been the No. 1 qualifier at the first four races, what do you need to do to keep your No. 1 qualifier streak alive?
Edwards: "To make if a fifth race in a row, we have to come out the first run and make a solid run and not get behind the curve and chasing the setup. If we are close that first session, we can build off that and hopefully end up on top of the field come the end of qualifying on Saturday.
"It is cool honor to be No. 1 qualifier, because it is a reward to the entire team that they are doing their jobs at a high level and that we are moving in the right direction with the entire program."
Charlotte is the first of three events in a row and four in five weeks. Do you do anything different when you are about to embark on three grueling weekends?
Edwards: "Having three races in a row puts a huge strain on the entire operation. We are not like NASCAR and have full staff facility getting ready for the next event. We have a small group of guys, who each weekend is hands-on with many facets of the team. The engine shop will put in extra hours to make sure we have a big enough arsenals of engines ready for the grind.
"A lot of the prep work we have already done in making sure we have enough parts to get through those four races and have a stocked trailer for anything we might need. It will be a push, but if you get on a roll the first race, you might be able to stay hot and turn it into a really good four-race stretch."
Mike Edwards and the Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/K&N Chevy team stellar weekend came to an end in the final four when an unexplainable issue caused the Camaro to shake and force Edwards to abort the run, and fall short at the NHRA Gatornationals.
"After how well we ran the previous six runs, I didn't expect the day to end that way," Edwards said. "We are not actually sure what happened. It is a puzzling parts failure that we will have to evaluate the coming days and try to make sure whatever it was does not happen again."
Edwards qualified No. 1 for the 44th time of his career, and third straight of the season. In the course of doing so, he earned the Pro Stock e.t. national record of 6.473. And prior to the semifinal issue, Edwards' Camaro was the quickest car of every session, including the opening round when he equaled his national record mark, and then posted a 6.488.
"It is a great consolation prize that we are leaving Gainesville with the national e.t. record, and more importantly the points lead," Edwards said. "We have a lot of work still to do and to be able to earn both of those this weekend is giving us real promise when we have it all together and really hit our stride."
After three of 24 events, based on the national record and its bonus of 20 points, Edwards holds the NHRA Pro Stock points lead by 16 points over second place Jeg Coughlin.
Mike Edwards and the I Am Second/Interstate Batteries/K&N Chevy team became the quickest in NHRA Pro Stock history during the first qualifying session for the the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Edwards scorched the quarter-mile in 6.473 and then backed it up in the afternoon session with a 6.480 to earn the honor.
With the run, Edwards also grabbed the provisional pole after the first day with two more qualifying sessions on Saturday. If it holds, it will be his third straight No. 1 qualifying effort to open the 2013 campaign.
"We knew coming in that if the conditions were right the e.t. record would fall," Edwards said. "I just didn't think we would be the one earning that honor after the first day. There is still two more days of racing and the conditions are only supposed to get better, so we have to continue to work hard.
"We are excited that we have this honor today, but now we need to turn our focus in making sure we keep moving forward with the Chevy Camaro and hopefully we can hold on to the e.t. record, which is way cool."
Mike Edwards and the Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/K&N Chevy team nearly made it a clean sweep, but in the final round fell just short to Erica Enders-Stevens in the NHRA Arizona Nationals final.
"I am disappointed I did not get this Camaro into the winner's circle," Edward said. "It is tough when you know you have the best car on the property and don't win. I am just proud that we bounced back from the Pomona first round loss and made it to the final. Now we have a few weeks to work on the car and make it even better."
Edwards qualified No. 1 for the second straight event, and 43rd of his career, and fifth straight at the Arizona facility.
He made his run to the title bout by ousting Steve Kent in the opening round, and taking care of Pomona champ Vincent Nobile. In the final four, he knocked off mult-time NHRA champion Greg Anderson, before dropping a close final to Enders-Stevens.
"We are excited about moving forward and seeing how much better we can get," Edwards said. "It is back home to Oklahoma for a few days and then out testing heavy to get ready for Gainesville
Battery Leader, Faith-based ministry will help charge Mike Edwards Motorsports
Interstate Batteries will return for its third season in the NHRA as primary sponsor of the Mike Edwards Motorsports Pro Stock team and will be sharing the sponsorship with newcomer I am Second.
The 2013 sponsorship package features Interstate Batteries on the hood of the Edwards Chevrolet Camaro for 11 races, Interstate Chairman Norm Miller's faith-based ministry I am Second as the primary sponsor for nine events, and K&N as the primary sponsor for four events.
The sponsor partnership begins with the I am Second brand as primary sponsor on Edwards' Chevy Camaro with Interstate Batteries, Penhall, and K&N as associate sponsors for the first four races of the season, including the season opener in Pomona Feb. 14-17. The first of 11 races for Interstate Batteries as the primary sponsor and I am Second, Penhall, and K&N as associate branding will be April 19-21 in Charlotte.
"Interstate Batteries is proud to return for our third year as a partner with Mike Edwards and his team for the 2013 season," Miller said. "We are also excited about the opportunity to introduce NHRA fans to I am Second.
"Mike's outrageous dependability and commitment to excellence represent the core values of Interstate Batteries, and his heart for helping people live successful lives makes him a great partner for I am Second. We look forward to our best season together yet."
Interstate Batteries has been associated with motorsports for 30 years, dating back to the company's initial involvement with the Interstate Batteries Great American Race in 1983. Since then, Interstate has expanded its motorsports support to not only include NHRA Pro Stock racing, but also NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams (founding sponsor, Joe Gibbs Racing) and AMA Supercross/motocross teams (JGRMX).
"Interstate Batteries is a proven brand for consumers and in the motorsports community," Edwards said. "We are excited to continue our very successful relationship with a company that exemplifies a championship team."
Edwards, the 2009 NHRA Pro Stock champion, finished sixth in points in 2012 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock division with two wins. Thirty-four of his 36 victories have come in Pro Stock.
About Interstate Batteries
Interstate Batteries delivers Outrageously Dependable® portable power solutions. The Dallas-based company distributes automotive batteries, franchises and operates retail battery stores, recycles batteries, and provides motive and critical power products. Interstate sells products throughout North America, Australia, the Caribbean and Latin America. Interstate employs more than 1,600 team members throughout North America. For more information, visit interstatebatteries.com.
About I Am Second
I am Second is designed to help people discover the truth that will help lead them to a life of maximum fulfillment. It is for everyday people like me and you - all of us - living the ups and downs of our lives. The authentic stories on www.iamsecond.com provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled.