Mike Edwards had already proved his driving skills during the 2013 season, prior to his recent arrival at the Brainerd International Raceway, in Brainerd, Minnesota. He had already earned four NHRA Pro-Stock titles this season, and sported an impressive resume, with 38 career wins.
Mike Edward and his Camaro were recently unstoppable at the Brainerd International Raceway
In spite of a record any driver would find satisfying, Edwards showed up at this event with something to prove. For some reason, he had never managed to pull off a victory at Brainerd, and it was due time for change.
"As a team, we knew we had the car to win the event, explained Mike Edwards Motorsports Publicity manager, John Miller. "We just had to make good runs on Sunday, and maybe get a little "racing magic. We were coming off the Western Swing, and it was the last race carrying the K&N colors on the Chevy Camaro. So we wanted to go out with a bang and give them a Pro Stock victory.
Mike Edwards is a strong advocate of maintenance, and depends upon K&N products to keep the internal components of his race car engine contaminant free
Mike had never reached the final at the track," he continued, "and had competed at Brainerd every year since 1996, minus one season, when he took the year off as a driver.
"It's a great facility on the NHRA tour. The lakes and trees lend to one of the coolest settings we go to. For some reason, we never had a winning combination. It was nothing the track threw at us, we just never figured it out until this year."
And figure it out they did, as Mike Edwards and his Chevy Camaro proved unstoppable at the recent event, in spite of the hard knocks that often come with the sport. After suffering through ignition issues while qualifying, Mike Edwards and his crew hastily put their noses to the grindstone and made the needed changes prior to eliminations.
Although there were a few competitors who would likely prove "the man to beat," Edwards and his team went into the event knowing that each and every driver was capable of earning the victory title. That in mind, they focused on one competitor at a time.
Mike Edwards started his run from the number four position. Although this was his second lowest starting position throughout the entire 2013 campaign, that certainly didn't deter his pursuit for the championship.
Edwards immediately took out Greg Stanfield, positioning him in the following round with Allen Johnson. Scoring a mere five-thousandths faster than the competitor who was second on the overall points race, Edwards posted a 6.630 and a near perfect 0.007 reaction time to inch his way past Vincent Nobile, and earn a much deserved spot in the final against Vieri Gaines.
Not only was Edwards on the verge of putting his lack of success at this particular venue behind him, but it was also a first in the sense that he had never had the opportunity to meet up with this driver in a final.
The air grew saturated with anticipation, as the Christmas tree deemed the race underway. And when the roaring engines returned to an idle, Mike Edwards had earned the victory.
"It was huge to win at Brainerd," ensured the team's publicity manager. "When you go to the same place year after year with no success, you begin to dread the next year when that event rolls around. To get a win, we can return in 2014 knowing we have conquered that hill, and maybe can start a long winning streak.
"Winning any race is always huge," he continued. "But Brainerd was even bigger. It gave us the momentum that helped carry us to a win at the U.S. Nationals. It put us in a position at the start of the playoffs, that if we did not excel, we had a buffer. Thus, it has helped keep us in the title chase with a couple of races left."
Mike Edwards and his team are acutely aware that consistent success depends a great deal upon their engine's ability to operate at its optimal performance. that in mind, they depend upon K&N products to ensure the internal components of their engines remain contaminant free. The team uses a K&N hood scoop air system and oil filters on their race car and use K&N products on their support vehicles as well.
"K&N is the best product on the market," he ensured. "We have used K&N filters as long as I can remember, and they always perform flawlessly. It is great to be associated with such a company that strives for perfection in all they do. That is clear in the product they produce and the reputation they carry throughout the automotive industry.
Looking to the future, Mike Edwards' game plan is plain and simple. "We just have to be consistent and fast. Those are the two main ingredients of success. As a driver, I have to leave on time and do my job. We will come out and do our best, and make everyone proud to be part of Mike Edwards Motorsports."