Reigning NHRA Pro Stock Champion Mike Edwards set foot on the grounds of the famed Gainesville Raceway this past weekend with a shot to do what few professional drivers ever get to do, and that's win two NHRA National events in one weekend.
NHRA Pro Stock Champion Mike Edwards
Mike Edwards Penhall/Interstate Batteries/K&N Pontiac
The scene was set when the final rounds of the NHRA Arizona Nationals were delayed and rescheduled to take place during this past weekend's Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. By doing so, Edwards became one of eight Pro Stock drivers with the unique opportunity to double up and went into the event well prepared for the extra pressure.
Having already stamped his mark on the NHRA Pro Stock class very early in the season, Edwards has managed to claim about every point possible in just the first three events, starting right out of the gate with a victory at the Winternationals in Pomona.
Mike Edwards win in Gainesville Raceway in Florida
During the event at Gainesville, Edwards continued to build on his momentum by first grabbing the Pro Stock Wally for the delayed NHRA Arizona Nationals and his run didn't stop there.
His Penhall/Interstate Batteries/K&N Pontiac also was the quickest car in two of the three qualifying sessions for the Gatornationals and by the time the dust settled, Edwards had added yet another No. 1 qualifier to his streak, a streak that started at the NHRA stop in Brainerd in 2009 and has continued with the first three events of 2010. Now totaled at twelve, Edwards has one of the longest No. 1 qualifier streaks in Pro Stock history.
While all NHRA professional drivers earn championship points for both qualifying placement and round wins, the Pro Stock drivers have an extra qualifying incentive in that of the revered K&N Horsepower Challenge.
With Edwards' continued domination of the Pro Stock pack and his numerous No. 1 qualifiers, he secured a spot in the 2010 K&N Horsepower Challenge, to be held during the NHRA event in Norwalk, Ohio later this summer.
"The K&N Horsepower Challenge is just an awesome opportunity for NHRA Pro Stock," Edwards noted. "K&N has given us the platform to race and be seen. Steve Williams and all the employees at K&N have been a tremendous help to our class and every team works extra hard to make the top eight so we can run for the substantial amount of bonus money that K&N has put up for us to shoot for at Norwalk every year."
Edwards continued to power his way through the Pro Stock class during the regularly scheduled Gatornationals. He made his quickest pass of the weekend during his first round victory over Rickie Jones, nailing down an ET of 6.520 at 212.53 MPH, which is also the third quickest and fastest pass in the history of Pro Stock.
Making it to his third final of 2010 in as many events, Edwards found himself paired up against former Pro Stock Champion Jason Line, whose semi-final ET lagged a whopping four hundredths of a second behind that of Edwards.
On paper, it looked as if Mike Edwards was just one round away from adding to his early season sweep.
"We ran well and we had a really great weekend. After winning the Phoenix race earlier in the weekend and then we made it to the second final, but we just came up a little short against Line," Edwards said referring to his hole-shot final round loss. "It was just driver error in the final. Jason has a super light and I just didn't get what I was looking for."
"But really, what a great weekend," he added.
As the "Pro Stock Bull's-eye" is firmly placed on Edwards back in what is already one of the most competitive classes, he continues to look for ways to stay ahead of the game.
"You try to find every little bit you can and we test and test and test to stay at the top or even get to the top. It is 24/7, I can tell you that," said Edwards. "We are running good thanks to all of our sponsors like K&N coming on board this year plus Penhall, Interstate Batteries and A.R.T."
Look for the excitement to continue when NHRA makes its next stop on the 2010 Full Throttle Series at Concord, North Carolina and the Inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals March 25-28.
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