POMONA, Calif., Feb. 10, 2005 - Qualifying for the 45th annual NHRA Winternationals got underway today at Pomona Raceway with one round of Professional time trials. Mike Edwards leads first-day Pro Stock qualifiers after driving the Young Life ...
POMONA, Calif., Feb. 10, 2005 - Qualifying for the 45th annual NHRA Winternationals got underway today at Pomona Raceway with one round of Professional time trials. Mike Edwards leads first-day Pro Stock qualifiers after driving the Young Life Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.732 e.t. at 205.13 mph.
"This was a nice way to start the race and the season, so we're pretty pleased at this point with the performance of the Young Life Pontiac," said Edwards. "There were a lot of good cars that didn't get down the track, but hey, everybody had their chance and we had a very nice run, so hopefully we can build on that and go forward. We burned a lot of gas on the dyno over the winter and didn't spend a lot of time testing. Frank's (Iaconio) objective was to find us more horsepower. We had the same car that we used last year so we felt pretty comfortable with where we were there.
"We ran this engine for about 20 runs during testing in Las Vegas earlier in the week, hurt a valve and messed up the cam so I told Frank to get a plane ticket and get out here. He fixed the motor this morning and it ran okay. It was just one of those things that everybody goes through every now and then. Fortunately for us it worked out."
If Edwards' Young Life Pontiac can hold on to the top spot or improve through three additional days of time trials, it would be the Oklahoma native's first raceday pole since the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas in October, 2001.
"I think everybody had the rain we're expecting tomorrow on their minds when they pulled up today," said Edwards. "The goal was not so much to be real fast rather than being consistent, trying to get from A to B and getting qualified just in case the weather does turn."
The GM Performance Parts Pontiac driven by Warren Johnson is qualified in the No. 2 spot after running 6.733 seconds. Johnson is a five-time Winternationals champion (1987, 1993-94, 1997, 2003), has been runner-up at the season-opening contest four times (1985, 1986, 1991, 2000) and No. 1 qualifier five times (1999, 1996, 1993-95).
"It's a nice place for us to start," said Johnson. "We're pleased but we kind of wonder what happened to our speed. It's pretty well accepted by everyone who ran in that lane that something was wrong with the timer. We ran the fourth best speed to the eighth mile and ran good speed for the rest of the run. If we're lucky enough to make another run tomorrow, we'll worry about it then."
Jim Yates is qualified in the No. 3 spot in a Pontiac and Jason Line is fourth in a Pontiac. Ben Watson is eighth in a Chevy Cavalier, Dave Connolly is ninth in a Cavalier, Greg Stanfield is 12th in a Cavalier and Erica Enders is 16th in a Cavalier.
Qualifying highlights of the NHRA Winternationals will be telecast on ESPN2 on Saturday, Feb. 12, beginning at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. A three-hour broadcast of final eliminations will be telecast on ESPN2 on Sunday, Feb. 13, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.