It was quite a battle in Pro Stock between K&N's Mike Edwards and Allen Johnson throughout the entire NHRA National Event at Bandimere Speedway, but by the time the dust settled Edwards prevailed with the title "King of the Mountain," as many of the competitors refer to the championship at the Colorado facility.
Mike Edwards deemed "King of the Mountain" at Bandimere Speedway
Mike Edwards' Penhall/K&N Pontiac GXP at Bandimere Speedway
Edwards came out strong during qualifying and when the first two sessions were in the books Friday evening, he not only held on the number one position, but had made the quickest passes during each of the sessions, also gaining the maximum championship qualifying bonus points. Edwards best run of the day came during the second session when he posted a 6.989 at 196.50 in his Penhall/K&N Pontiac GXP.
"We're just going to have to make two solid runs on Saturday if we expect to hold on to the top spot," Edwards said Friday evening.
"It's not like we'll just be working on our tune-up for Sunday's eliminations. I've been racing for 30 years, and I just love racing here at Bandimere Speedway. It's always a challenge to make your car run real fast here, and I think that's why I like competing here so much."
Lurking in the shadows was both Allen Johnson and V. Gaines. Both teams were able to step up their programs for Saturday's qualifying sessions, finishing one and two for Sunday's eliminations. Although their runs pushed Edwards from his number one spot, he also managed to improve on the previous day's numbers and went into race day at number three after posting 6.986.
While Edwards may have missed out on the number one qualifying position, it certainly did not deter his team from making things happen on Sunday and it started with his first round match up against "The Professor" Warren Johnson. Edwards was able to make the most of his rather large starting line advantage and give the other teams something to think about with his quickest pass of the weekend and second quickest of first round when he put a 6.974 on the board.
The good first round number would also give Edwards lane choice in his Penhall/K&N entry for the round two pairing with Jason Line. Line was looking for a win on his birthday and thanks Edwards' slight edge on the tree and even quicker than his round before ET, would have to wait until next year to try again.
Edwards continued to not only outdo his competition on the starting line, but just flat outrun them. Even with the very high altitude the team's face when running at the Bandimere track, nearly 10,000 feet of adjusted altitude, Edwards and his crew seemed to have found something and made it work for them.
The final would pit Edwards and Allen Johnson in a battle of the 'Pro Stock Titans' and it would be their fourth meeting in a NHRA Pro Stock final. For the last several years, Johnson has been quite dominate during the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals and was looking to continue his fortune.
The driver's didn't disappoint and made it an exciting final all starting with a little staging dual, after both drivers lit the pre-stage and then took their time, before either made the move to stage. Whether Johnson had bumped in just a little deep or flinched, his uncharacteristic .009 red-light sent Edwards to the winner's circle for the third time this season and the thirty-first of his NHRA Pro Stock career.
The victory put Edwards a mere six points shy of Pro Stock leader Jason Line, with four events remaining before the NHRA Countdown begins.
"We might walk away with the Wally but Allen Johnson is still the king of this mountain," Edwards said after his victory. "It's so sweet to race up here. The Bandimere Family does such a great job with this track and the Mopar people do just a great job with this race."
The event at Bandimere is only the beginning of the three races in a row with the NHRA teams headed next to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California for race two and now Edwards with his eye on a sweep.
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