He’s not only been earning points during eliminations. Edwards leads all drivers in (3-2-1) qualifying bonus points with 46. He’s also added 40 points to his current series lead by setting the national elapsed time record twice, in Gainesville, Fla. (6.473 seconds) and in Charlotte, N.C. (6.471 seconds). NHRA awards drivers a 20-point bonus for setting a national E.T. record.
“Setting the NHRA Pro Stock E.T. record for a second time this season is just a reward to all the long hours and hard work every single member of this team puts in,” Edwards said. “It is the culmination of everyone doing what they are supposed to and the right moment. I can’t tell you how proud it made me to get that time slip and be able to enjoy the moment with my team.”
If Edwards is going to capture his second win of the season and further increase his series lead he’ll have to hold off the Summit Racing Chevy tandem of defending winner Anderson and recent Houston winner Jason Line. Anderson and Line seem to rise to the occasion whenever their team sponsor puts its name and logo on an NHRA event. Defending world champ Allen Johnson, four-time champ Jeg Coughlin, Phoenix winner Erica Enders-Stevens, V. Gaines, Vincent Nobile and Shane Gray are all among the drivers to watch in the 200-mph factory hot rod category.
In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher is again a championship contender after securing victories at Phoenix and Las Vegas behind the controls of his U.S. Army dragster. Antron Brown and Spencer Massey have had success this year as well and will be aiming to top their Don Schumacher Racing teammate in the standings. Al-Anabi Racing’s Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta, Houston winner and local favorite Bob Vandergriff, Clay Millican and Morgan Lucas will challenge for the Atlanta win as well.
The extremely competitive Funny Car category is led by two-time season winner Cruz Pedregon and his “No Name” crew. Courtney Force also has proven to be a tough challenger on the strength of two final-round appearances and one win in Pomona. Others to watch in the wildly unpredictable 8,000-horsepower category are Four-Wide Nationals winner Matt Hagan, 15-time world champ John Force, defending event winner Capps and defending world champion Jack Beckman.