PONTIAC RACING NOTES & QUOTES 44TH ANNUAL U.S. NATIONALS FINAL ELIMINATIONS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1998 Pro Stock winner's press conference with questions asked by attending members of the media. Mike Edwards (JK Racing Pontiac Firebird)...
PONTIAC RACING NOTES & QUOTES 44TH ANNUAL U.S. NATIONALS FINAL ELIMINATIONS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1998
Pro Stock winner's press conference with questions asked by attending members of the media.
Mike Edwards (JK Racing Pontiac Firebird) "This is everything John (Kight) and I worked for when we started our partnership in 1996. All of the hard work has now led to this. It's just unfortunate that he couldn't be here with us today. He means as much to me as a father. This is the one race that we always dreamed of winning. I'm surprised that a big rainbow doesn't break out over in the horizon with John's smile looking down upon us. This win was for John Kight."
How does it fell to win the U.S. Nationals and to break up the Johnson winning streak here?
"Kurt broke up my streak at Seattle so I think I owe him one for that. We struggled here all week in qualifying. We missed during the good session Friday night and we made a pretty good pass in the morning session on Saturday. We were just running so-so, couldn't find anything that would get the car down the track, so we kept throwing things at it. Last night we made a move that if we hadn't of made it, probably would have lost in the first round. We knew which way we wanted to go with the John Kight Racing Pontiac Firebird, so we went that way. We just stepped it up and ran 7.09 and a couple of 7.07s. Then in the final, ran the 7.03 after finally making some good calls. Mike Elliott and Barry Forester are so dedicated to me and have meant more than I can say to this program. I have to thank my wife Lisa. She's stood with me through all of this. She has to be as tough as nails to put up with me. Mary Lou, John's wife, she's let me live the dream that John and I started, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate every thing that she has done. Today is just totally awesome, totally awesome!"
With the air cooling off today, were you surprised that you could out run Warren Johnson in the final?
"I was real shocked. I can honestly say that I've never outrun Warren Johnson. I've beat him before but not too many people can actually say that they outran him. I don't know if he had problems -- he must have. But a wins a win and that's the way I look at it right now. I did what I had to do. We didn't get any breaks and we deserved what we got. We whipped some pretty good cars today."
What does the future bring for you?
"Hopefully we can take this race, go to Reading and build on it. This Pro Stock is the toughest class there ever was. We just have to build on this win and keep going. We have a great engine program with Reher-Morrison. Those guys have been really good to us. We need to move on up in the points and see how high we can go this year. Bruce (Allen) had some real bad luck in the two good sessions. You look at the qualifying sessions and Bruce's Firebird was the fastest car under the worst conditions. Bruce will get it all together. That's a great team and he's a great driver. I have a lot of respect for that team. It won't be long before they're in the winner's circle."
You were kind of choked up here today. Are you an emotional person?
"No, not really. I guess winning the U.S. Nationals after everything that has happened in the last year makes it a little difficult. I've won several races but the whole thing with John and what he meant to us. The emotional thing is just a part of winning this race."
Could you have written a better script yourself?
"I tell you what, I have a lot of respect for Warren Johnson. If it weren't for Warren Johnson and Bob Glidden there wouldn't be any Pro Stock racing. They're the leaders of the class but I guess it was just my turn today."
How special is winning Indy?
"This is the most special day in drag racing for me. I've been driving since 1978. When I worked for David Nickens and he won in Competition eliminator, I thought that was one of my greatest experiences. I couldn't be any happier. I want to thank God for what he's done for me. He's very strong in my heart, my life, and we're very religious people. Without God today, this never would have been possible."