Edwards looking for strong Countdown start
COWETA, OK – For nearly eight months and 17 events, every NHRA Pro team has been focusing and putting all their resources into grabbing one of the 10 spots in NHRA's Full Throttle Countdown To A Championship playoff.
With Mike Edwards locking down the sixth spot in the Pro Stock field, he can now turn his focus to the six-race run that will determine the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock champion, which he hopes begins with a victory at the first stop, the NHRA O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at zMax Dragway outside Charlotte this weekend.
For Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries team, his spot in the playoffs has been secured for the last three races, allowing him and his team a chance to fine tune a few areas of the operation, which he hopes gives them an advantage in the chase for a second NHRA Pro Stock title.
"Things have not gone perfect for us as a team since we clinched our spot; meaning we haven't picked up any more Wallys," Edwards admitted. "If you look at the last race, the U.S. Nationals, we had a fast car in each qualifying session, but did not have that same consistency in eliminations, which has been what has slowed us come Sunday each event. We have used every waking hour, which has not included much sleep, working on the car, engines, and every aspect of the team. As a group, we feel confident we have everything in place to make a run again this season."
To Edwards, this trip to Charlotte feels similar to the 2009 journey. It was also the start of the Countdown and that year Edwards came in and dominated the field to kick start his run to the championship. "As a team, we have discussed that everything is in place just like 2009, and we need to capitalize on this opportunity to come out in Charlotte and be the best car and grab the early momentum and use that to our advantage the following three weeks at races in Dallas, Reading, and St. Louis."
With the points adjusted for the Countdown to One, Edwards sits in the sixth spot, trailing points leader Allen Johnson by 70 points and second place Jason Line by a mere 40 points.
"If we can come out these next six races and do what we did in 2009 during the course of the Countdown when we won the Pro Stock championship, I know we can reach that ultimate goal we sat at the beginning of the year," said Edwards. "The entire team is focused and ready to go out and do all we can to win the championship."
Charlotte is the first of four consecutive weeks of competition for the NHRA Pro Stock field. The tour heads to Dallas, Reading, Pa., and St. Louis, in the span that will go along way to crowning a champion. The six races close with stops in Las Vegas and closes in Pomona, Calif.