Playoff spot secure, Edwards focuses on getting back to winning
KENT, WA – With one of the major goals for the season secured with a spot in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Mike Edwards and the Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries team can turn their focus to the bigger prize, the NHRA Pro Stock championship.
"When we earned our spot in the playoff in Sonoma, it allowed us to check off one of the goals for the year," Edwards said. "That is one of the bigger goals because if you do not make the playoff, you have no shot at the championship, which all of us are out here racing for.
"There's a lot pressure to get that spot as early as possible, so you can take a little breath for one, and then start looking at your program and where you need to improve. It is hard to make changes when you are trying to earn that spot; but now, we can maybe try a couple things and see if the car responds in a positive direction and not hurt in the long-term program."
With the tour heading to the Northwest, in the last of the three-race Western Swing, the trip to Seattle has always been one of Edwards' favorite journeys on the tour. It might have to do that it is one of the tracks that he's had the most success over his career. Edwards holds a .750 winning percentage at the track and three victories in 1996, 1997, and 2009.
"I don't know if it is the cooler temperatures, the great scenery, or just my comfort with the Northwest, but I always feel relaxed at the Seattle race," Edwards admitted. "I think that goes a long ways in producing good results."
The trip to the Northwest also brings on end to the NHRA Western Swing, where Edwards has picked up a second-round finish in Denver and followed it with a final-four showing in Sonoma. Carrying the special K&N wrap on his Pontiac, Edwards wants to wrap up the grueling three-week run with a fourth title in Seattle.
"That we achieved one of the goals of making the playoffs in Sonoma, now we are focused on getting the best race car we can have and go into the six-race dash with as much momentum as possible," he said. "That all starts this weekend in Seattle, where we can get on a streak and hopefully carry it to the end of the season and a second NHRA Pro Stock championship.
"We came into these three races with a plan to work on being more consistent each run down the track and that philosophy has really shown in qualifying, but not as bright in eliminations," Edwards said. "Now we need to continue that approach in Seattle and hopefully grab our third trophy of the season."
Edwards enters the event in fourth place, trailing the points leader by just over 200 points.