One would think that after obtaining numerous polls and already racking up five NHRA Pro Stock victories during the first nine events on the 2010 tour, when a small break in the action would come along a team would take a moment to rest.
Edwards wins United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Mike Edwards at United Association Route 66 Nationals
Not the case for Mike Edwards Motorsports. The very next day after grabbing the win during the NHRA event in Topeka, Kansas, the entire team was back out on the track with Edwards making laps in his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP.
For a team in hopes of maintaining their NHRA Pro Stock Champion status, they know like many others, there can never be enough testing.
"We test in all kinds of weather conditions and it just helps to add information to your notes," explains Edwards. "We have lots of computer data from the car and we use the same weather station that most other teams use. The Computech setup and it's pretty accurate as it can give you up-to-date information every fifteen seconds."
"You have two choices in Pro Stock, you can stop working and it will be only a matter of a couple races and the Pro Stock field will pass you by," he added. "This is easily the most competitive class in motorsports and some of the best minds are working countless hours to get better. The second choice is to try a work harder than everyone else and stay on top. We have elected to follow the second path."
The NHRA professional teams had a weekend off following the Topeka event before rolling into Joliet, Illinois for the United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals, where Edwards between event testing paid dividends back to the team.
The Joliet event was yet another on the 2010 NHRA tour that was plagued by weather, even numerous tornado warnings a little too close for comfort. Even with all the weather delays, professional qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals was only shortened by one session.
Edwards' 6.629 E.T. during qualifying session two, would be all that he needed to grab and hang on to the number one spot all while adding to his points lead for the coveted K&N Horsepower Challenge. The highly sought after crown for the 2010 Challenge Championship will be contested for in just a few short weeks during the Norwalk, Ohio NHRA event.
Air conditions changed drastically over the course of the event keeping teams on their toes, by going from thick-sultry air during the first sessions to almost the complete opposite for race day on Sunday.
"The weather was a lot better for the first two rounds on Sunday and then it was even better for the second two rounds after the long-long rainouts in the middle of everything," noted Edwards.
Edwards started off race day by laying down the quickest Pro Stock pass of the weekend to that point, a 6.605 in his winning effort over the number sixteen qualifier, Rich Stevens in round one.
That would pair him up with multi-time champ Greg Anderson, where Edwards continued to tweak the E.T. in his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP by posting a 6.603 over Anderson's best effort of the event, a 6.634.
Edwards and the other three remaining Pro Stock competitors would have plenty of time to think about their upcoming semi-final rounds, as Mother Nature dumped on the facility just outside of Chicago shortly after 3p.m.
As if "she" was listening for the call to the lanes, shortly after 5p.m. when the track was ready and professional rounds were to resume, yet another torrential downpour struck the event, this time with enough winds to even blow away several of the advertising inflatables.
When the rain finally ceased and the officials finalized track prep, for what must have seemed like the umpteenth time during the event, it was time for some unusual night competition.
Edwards notes that the semi-final round was the one where a little luck might have come into play from him. "We really felt like we got away with the win against Rodger (Brogdon). We were not at our best and we were real fortunate to win that one I thought."
His final round opponent would be Jason Line and with identical (6.601) semi-final E.T.'s, it would be Line with lane choice due to his faster MPH.
"It was dark by the time we ran the final and I will say I'm not a fan of running in the dark," commented Edwards. "These cars are pretty hard to see out of because even though the track is lit very well, all those lights actually cause quite a glare though the windshields on our Pro Stock cars going down track."
While neither Line nor Edwards had been stellar in the reaction time department throughout earlier rounds, they certainly seemed to have saved them all up for when it truly counted, both posting "double-oh" lights and were only .001 apart when they left the starting line. It was Line with the ever-so-slight advantage.
And even though Line managed to just nudge into the 6.50's and post his quickest pass of the weekend, Edwards still managed to nip him at the stripe by a mere four thousandths of a second, giving the fans who stuck it out one very exciting final round.
His ongoing testing paying off, Edwards left the event with his sixth event championship for 2010 in seven final rounds and claimed his twenty-sixth NHRA Pro Stock win.
Competition for Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP moves next to the 41st annual NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, New Jersey June 11-13, 2010.
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