Seattle: Edwards preview

Edwards Moving On After Stormy First Half KENT, Wash. - All good things must come to an end. The often-used cliché is usually uttered when no other optimistic explanation can be offered to describe a disintegrating situation. This is the case...

Edwards Moving On After Stormy First Half

KENT, Wash. - All good things must come to an end. The often-used cliché is usually uttered when no other optimistic explanation can be offered to describe a disintegrating situation. This is the case for the former two-car Pro Stock Team of Mike Edwards and Ron Krisher.

Prior to 2001, Edwards last competed on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series two seasons ago. He was victorious twice in four final round appearances and finished seventh in the Winston standings despite seven DNQs (did not qualify). Upon completion of the '99 season, Edwards accepted the position as crew chief for the then-unrenowned Krisher.

After finishing no higher than 17th in the Winston standings, Krisher blasted onto the NHRA scene in 2000, scoring his first two career victories, earning five No. 1 qualifying positions, and was only one of five Pro Stock drivers to qualify for every race. Among other factors, Edwards was one of the big contributors to Krisher's success.

Both drivers will be squaring off for battle as the NHRA returns to the Pacific Northwest for the 14th annual Prolong Super Lubricants NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts, July 27-29, at Seattle International Raceway. The $1.7 million race is the 15th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

With the triumphs they endured in 2000, the team of Krisher and Edwards set their sights on the 2001 NHRA Winston Pro Stock championship with the debut of a two-car team, with Edwards as the second driver and crew chief for both Chevy Cavaliers. The season was progressing smoothly with Krisher scoring a win in Atlanta and Edwards winning in Chicago. Both drivers were in the top 10 of the Winston standings and making a charge towards the top. Then it happened -- the split. According to the two drivers, outside influences and a difference in racing philosophies played a role in the divergence as both drivers went their separate ways.

After scrambling to make the necessary moves to compete in the events after his Chicago win, Edwards has made the most of his new racing endeavor, scoring the No. 16 qualifying spot at the following race in Columbus, Ohio. Despite a first round loss in the Buckeye State, Edwards moved on to St. Louis where his qualifying position improved (No. 9) and he made it to the quarterfinals of eliminations. Then in Pomona, Calif., his third event back in his Young Life Chevy Cavalier, Edwards scored the No. 1 qualifying position and was the runner-up to Jeg Coughlin Jr., beating Krisher on a holeshot in the semis en route to the final round. The success was expected, just not as quick as Edwards achieved it, especially in what is arguably the NHRA's most competitive class.

"Pro Stock is one of the toughest classes out there in motorsports right now," said the 43-year-old Edwards. "You have 25-30 cars come out to try and qualify and then you see guys win from the 16th qualifying spot. That tells you right there what kind of competitiveness is out there and what kind of cars are out there. If you can qualify for a race, you have a chance to win."

With the introduction of the new Cavaliers, Pontiac Grand Ams and Dodge Neon R/Ts to the Pro Stock category, in conjunction with the unforeseen obstacles Edwards has faced this year, the Broken Arrow, Okla., resident has been presented with many difficult situations.

"The biggest challenge is just trying to get better, especially with reaction times," said Edwards, a two-time winner at SIR. "Staying consistent is a challenge too. As a driver you want to get everything right such as getting your shift points. But the main thing is just to try and get better each run. You've got to be mentally in control and stay very focused and concentrate on what you're doing. That's what it's all about.

"We feel really good about the rest of the year. We're looking forward to racing and staying competitive. The engine program is just amazing. (Engine builder) Reher-Morrison has given us a great motor with lots of power. We're hoping to continue our success and try and win a couple more races."

-K&E-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Ron Krisher , Mike Edwards