Mike Edwards was the No. 1 provisional qualifier in the Pro Stock division of the 30th Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway Friday night.
But the Oklahoma resident realizes his position is tenuous. Being No. 1 Friday doesn’t guarantee you’re crowned the champion Sunday.
Edwards finished Round Two with a 6.595 elapsed time and qualifying speed of 208.65 mph on his way to his fourth No. 1 qualifying spot of the season. But he knows Jason Line and Greg Anderson lurk close behind in their Summit Racing cars.
“We need to run better, and I think there will be some guys that run better than (6.595), but I’m still happy with our run,” Edwards said.
Anderson, No. 2 in season points, qualified second at 6.597 and 208.84 mph. Line, the points leader, is third at 6.000 and 209.23.
“We haven’t been consistent all year long,” Edwards said. “We’ve struggled with these new chassis. We’re just trying to get it dialed in better. I’m more comfortable than I was but we’re still not where we need to be to be really consistent.
“That’s what it’s going to take, somebody to be consistent. Anybody in that top 10, if they catch fire come Charlotte (N.C.) it can really happen.
“It’s so close. I cant stress enough how close it’s going to be. Anybody can take you out. You have to be really consistent, you have to stay on top of the track to win the deal.”
Friday started out a perfect Minnesota day with nary a cloud in the sky and about 75 degrees but it finished overcast with much cooler conditions.
“We’re used to it, it happens about every race we go to,” Edwards said. “You just have to make the right adjustment at the right time.
“These cars are so close, one to 16 is so close, it’s so competitive. These races are won by 1,000ths of a second. You just have to make the right adjustments at the right time, and you might squeak in there.”
In Friday’s first-round qualifying, Edwards churned out a 6.620 ET, which was fourth-fastest at the time.
“It seems like when you run at 11:00 on Saturday morning the air is so much better, and the track is really good,” he said. “The track is awesome here, though. I don’t think the track will be any better (Saturday) but I think the conditions will be better.”
In Friday’s preliminary Round One, Allen Johnson, who’s third in season points, set a track record with a pass at 209.17 mph. He wound up fifth after two qualifying runs.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com and at 855-5861.