NHRA-Mike Edwards Racing
May 17, 2012The Thunder Road Show
Heartland Park Topeka
Edwards Hopes Topeka Home Event Helps To Get Back On Winning Path
When Mike Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries team pull into Heartland Park Topeka facility for the 2012 version, they will all know they have one thing in their corner that nobody else in Pro Stock will have this weekend - home-court advantage.
With the race shop just under 250 miles from the track, many family and friends of the entire team will be on hand. Edwards enjoys that setting because it gives him an opportunity to be at an event with the group of people that support him the most and possibly score an NHRA Wally.
"It is the closest track to the Tulsa area where all our family and friends live, so they make the couple hour drive north every year to be able to see us race in person," Edwards said. "That makes the Topeka stop a special place for all of us because it allows us to be surrounded by those who love and support us, which I believe, takes some of the pressure away. While you are focused on getting another Wally to drive back with the caravan on Sunday night, you are not consumed by everything and it might allow you to make the correct decisions and not second guess. On the flip side, it also adds a bit of pressure because you do not want to disappoint everyone that took time away from their lives to watch you race."
Whatever the formula is, it must work for Edwards and the team because they always seem to shine in the Kansas sun. Edwards has been the No. 1 qualifier the last three years to the facility and been part of a handful of finals at the track, capturing the title in 1999, from the No. 16 spot, and then in 2010 from the pole.
"I can say I have won this race from both ends of the spectrum," he said. "In 1999, that was one of those race days you could do no wrong from the starting line to making the right calls on the track. It meant a lot because I did something nobody before did, and that was winning from the No. 16 position." Then in 2010, Edwards qualified on the pole and marched to the final, only to use another starting-line holeshot to capture the victory over Allen Johnson, who upset Edwards the previous year in the money round.
"Topeka usually comes down to who does better at the start, because the track is very consistent throughout the weekend," Edwards said. "I just need to do my job like I did in the couple years I've won, and I can add to my Pro Stock trophy collection and have the biggest winner's circle photo with everyone coming up from Tulsa area enjoying the moment with us."
Qualifying Friday will be at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT and Saturday kicks off at noon CT, with the afternoon session each day scheduled for 2:30 p.m.