Edwards Quietly Leads Charge of Single-Car Teams Defending Houston Champ Sits Third in Pro Stock Points BAYTOWN, Texas, March 27, 2007 - In this era of multi-car teams and well-funded racing budgets, NHRA Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards seems ...
Edwards Quietly Leads Charge of Single-Car Teams
Defending Houston Champ Sits Third in Pro Stock Points
BAYTOWN, Texas, March 27, 2007 - In this era of multi-car teams and well-funded racing budgets, NHRA Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards seems to quietly be leading the charge as a one-car wonder in his class. As a single-car team, Edwards finished fourth in the final NHRA POWERade points standings last year, and the Oklahoma native is coming off a semifinal appearance at Gainesville (Fla.) two weeks ago and sits third in this year's early points standings as he prepares his Young Life Pontiac GTO for this weekend's 20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on March 30-April 1. Edwards is the defending event champ at Houston as he narrowly defeated fellow Pontiac driver Jim Yates in last year's final round for his first win in nearly four years. Edwards visited the winner's circle again at St. Louis and also had runner-up finishes at last year's season-opener at Pomona (Calif.) and Dallas.
"We were extremely pleased with the year we had last season," Edwards said. "I still have a hard time believing that we finished where we did. We finished ahead of a lot of good teams who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. It's going to be even tougher this year. There are more good teams coming in with good drivers and that's only going to raise the bar even more in NHRA Pro Stock. Our job is to keep working hard to meet the challenge. It's nice to get off to a good start like we did last year. Believe it or not, that was what propelled us through the entire year.
"The fact that we qualified for every race is what probably pleased me the most. To finish in the top five was awesome, but you have to qualify to actually put yourself in a position to finish that high, and to be one of only four teams to do that says a lot about this program. You travel to 23 different events and face 23 different sets of variables from air temperature to altitude to track conditions, going from Denver where the corrected altitude can be up to 10,000 feet at times, and then racing two weeks later in Sonoma where you're competing again at sea level. That's a pretty big feat in itself and I'm pretty proud of that."
Edwards is in his sixth year associated with Young Life, and he and his wife Lisa have established an inspiring program with the youth ministry organization to help mentor young kids by hosting a group in nearly every race market on the 23-race NHRA circuit. Every round win by Edwards also results in a kid being able to attend a Young Life camp.
"Last year was the second season that we did the 'Send a Kid to Camp' program," Edwards said, "and with the help of various race teams and sponsors, we were able to send about 175 kids to camp. That's really incredible when you sit down and think about it - 175 kids that got to go to camp that otherwise wouldn't have, spending a week in a positive setting where they are the top priority. To give that many kids that opportunity is quite a feat. It's been an awesome deal and we would like to keep that program growing every year. Lisa started it a couple of years ago and now it's really taken off. We would like to get more teams and more companies involved. Lisa has actually attended a Young Life camp and has seen just how outstanding they are."
O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals Houston Pre-Race Stats & Facts
* Greg Anderson drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to his second Pro Stock win in just three races this season last week at Gainesville. His final-round victory over Larry Morgan was the 45th career win for the three-time Pro Stock champ and it was Pontiac's 173rd victory in NHRA Pro Stock competition, the most by any manufacturer in the history of the sport.
* Mike Edwards in the Young Life Pontiac GTO defeated Jim Yates in an all-Pontiac GTO Pro Stock final last year at Houston by the slimmest of margins - .0098 seconds. It was Edwards' first of two wins in 2006 (St. Louis) when he finished fourth in the final points standings.
* Anderson's win vaulted him back to the top of the Pro Stock points standings with an early-season 103-point lead over teammate Jason Line.
* Anderson became the first Pro Stocker to exceed the 210-mph mark when he went an astonishing 211.20 mph. However, teammate Line did him one better by leaving Gainesville with the national speed record for Pro Stock when he powered his Pontiac to a speed of 211.69 mph in eliminations.
* Event winner Anderson also left Gainesville with a national record as he lowered the Pro Stock elapsed-time standard to 6.536 seconds in his first-round win over Justin Humphreys. This was the fifth consecutive year Anderson has set the national elapsed-time mark in Pro Stock.
* Showing amazing qualifying consistency, either Line or Anderson have qualified their Pontiac GTOs No. 1 in 11 of the past 12 races dating back to Sonoma (Calif.) last July. The lone hiccup was when Greg Stanfield qualified his Pontiac No. 1 at Reading (Pa.) last September. In fact, a Pontiac has occupied the top spot in Pro Stock after qualifying for the last 15 NHRA events, a string dating back to Englishtown last year in June.
* Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt is Pro Stock's other event winner this season with his 36th career win in the second race of the season at Phoenix. It was the 135th all-time win for Chevrolet in NHRA Pro Stock competition, and the red bowtie brand has won 15 NHRA manufacturers championships, the most of any manufacturer in the sport.
* Line's Pontiac holds the Houston Raceway Park Pro Stock track record for elapsed time at 6.686 seconds set at this event last year. Defending Houston champ Mike Edwards set the Pro Stock track record for speed last year at 206.95 mph.
* GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson has been the man to beat in Pro Stock over the years at Houston Raceway Park, leading the class with six career wins (1990, 1994, 1998, 2000-fall, 2001, 2005) and eight No. 1 qualifiers (1991, 1993, 1995-1999, 2003, 2005). The next nearest competitors to Johnson in career wins are Chevy driver Jeg Coughlin and Pontiac driver Mike Edwards with three wins each. Coughlin's three wins include back-to-back victories in the fall event in 1997-1998. The two-time NHRA Pro Stock champ's third win came in 2000. Edwards is the defending event champ to go along with wins in 1996 and 2002.
* Kurt Johnson has two career wins at Houston (1999, 2003) and Pontiac drivers Greg Anderson (2004) and Tom Martino (1997) each have one win.
* After 3 of 23 races, seven drivers in GM-branded cars occupy a spot in the top 10 of the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings. Greg Anderson (Pontiac GTO) is in first place with 311, defending NHRA Pro Stock champ Jason Line (Pontiac GTO) is second with 208 points, Mike Edwards (Pontiac GTO) is third with 181 points, Dave Connolly (Chevy Cobalt) is fourth with 180, and Greg Stanfield (Pontiac GTO) is fifth with 157 points. Kurt Johnson (Chevy Cobalt) is in sixth place with 156 points, and Jeg Coughlin (Chevy Cobalt) is in seventh with 139 points.
* In Funny Car, Tony Pedregon in the Q Racing Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car also has a national elapsed-time record as he established a national record for Funny Cars at 4.659 seconds during qualifying at Phoenix earlier this year.
* In the Funny Car standings, Pedregon is in third place in a Chevy with 243 points and Jeff Arend is seventh in his CSK Chevy with 138 points.
-credit: gm racing