EDWARDS PRIMED FOR MORE PRO STOCK SUCCESS TOPEKA, Kan. -- Drag racing's most memorable winning moments are often suspended in time. Take NHRA Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards for example. His victory at the 44th U.S. Nationals in...
EDWARDS PRIMED FOR MORE PRO STOCK SUCCESS
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Drag racing's most memorable winning moments are often suspended in time.
Take NHRA Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards for example. His victory at the 44th U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis will be forever remembered as one of the most emotional wins in NHRA history. On that day, he accepted the winner's trophy in memory of his late car owner John Kight.
But as a competitor in one of NHRA's most competitive professional categories, he knows that spending too much time celebrating the past can hurt future performance efforts. While the win will always be cherished, his attention now turns to the process of earning more victories.
Edwards and his JK Racing team will look to add to their list of Pro Stock accomplishments at the 10th annual Parts America Nationals, Oct. 1-4 at Heartland Park Topeka. The $1.8 million race is the 18th of 22 events in the $30 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
"That Monday at Indy was the most special day in drag racing for me and I've been racing since 1978," said Edwards, who continued his hot streak by posting a runner-up finish at the recent Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals at Reading, Pa. "When I worked for David Nickens and he won Indy in Competition years ago, I thought that was one of my greatest experiences. Winning the U.S. Nationals motivated the entire team. We have been up and down all year, but that win really made our season."
It was the second win for Edwards, the only other driver in the category besides Winston leader Warren Johnson, young Jeg Coughlin and Kurt Johnson to post multiple victories in 1998. His final round triumph at Indy, where he defeated the points leader with horsepower, is one he'll never forget.
"I was real shocked," Edwards said. "I can honestly say that I've never outrun Warren. I've beat him before but not too many people can say that they outran him. We didn't back into that race, we whipped some pretty good cars that day. We didn't get any breaks and we deserved what we got.
"Warren is still by far the car to beat. He's been doing this for a long time and has a lot of experience. We've been up and down this season but we've won two races and that's a lot more than most. With more consistency and a few more wins I think we could finish up there real high."
He likes his chances at Heartland Park. A resident of Broken Arrow, Okla., Edwards has run many laps on the Heartland Park quarter-mile.
"Topeka is normally one of the better race tracks we run on," Edwards said. "Even in the heat of summer the track stays pretty fast. It's always a great track for Pro Stock because the traction is so good there. We're going to do some testing the week before the race and we've already done some testing there so we feel like we'll have a little bit of an advantage there.
"We look forward to Topeka. Topeka and Dallas are probably our two closest tracks and we had pretty good success at the first race at Dallas earlier this year -- we won that race. It's close and we have a lot of people from home that travel up to watch. It's an important race for us."
With eight different winners in Pro Stock this season, Edwards realizes the challenge of improving his sixth place position in the Winston standings will be a tough undertaking.
"Pro Stock is the toughest class ever," Edwards said. "We need to move on up in points and see how high we can go this year. We're really proud that we've won a couple of races this season. When you look down the Pro Stock roster, there's not too many guys that have more than one win. Warren's been really tough this season."