Edwards Leads Bristol Top Qualifiers

Mike Edwards will attempt to win his fifth-straight event at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway on Sunday. (Rhonda Hogue McCole Photo)
Mike Edwards will attempt to win his fifth-straight event at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway on Sunday. (Rhonda Hogue McCole Photo)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – NHRA Pro Stock points leader Mike Edwards will go for his fifth consecutive victory at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers Sunday at Bristol Dragway from the No. 1 qualifying position.

Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Del Worsham (Funny Car) also earned No. 1 qualifying positions and will lead their categories into Sunday’s noon eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

With warmer weather conditions for Saturday’s two qualifying sessions, no one improved on Edwards’ Friday run of 6.632 seconds at a track record speed of 208.23 mph in his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro. Edwards has dominated the Pro Stock competition at Bristol in the last four seasons. He defeated hometown favorite Allen Johnson last year in a close final round and outran finalists Erica Enders-Stevens in 2011, Rickie Jones in 2010 and Greg Anderson in 2009.

“I love coming to this track and racing here,” said Edwards, who will meet JR Carr in the opening round. “It has been good to us over the years. It’s great to be running good here again. If we could get five in a row at this place, that’s phenomenal for me. We are just going to take it like we have been doing all year long. You never know. We feel like we have as good a chance as anybody.”

The 2009 Pro Stock world champ earned his ninth No. 1 of the season, second at Bristol Dragway and the 50th of his career.

“That’s a goal that I have been trying to reach for a long time,” Edwards said. “One of my goals starting out the year was to reach 50 No. 1s. It’s truly a blessing that we have been able to do that and an awesome feat for me.”

Hometown favorite Johnson qualified second in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger with a 6.645 at 206.70 and will open eliminations against Lewis Worden. Erica Enders-Stevens qualified third in her Charter Communications Camaro with a 6.651 at 207.11 and she will face Lucas Oil Ford Mustang driver Larry Morgan.

In Top Fuel, Massey earned his first No. 1 of the season and the seventh of his career with his Friday track record performance of 3.775 at 326.79 in his Schumacher Electric dragster. He’ll face veteran driver Doug Herbert in the first round.