MIKE EDWARDS NEW ENGINE PROGRAM
Recently Edwards was wielding an ax, but not the kind that yields better reactions. In fact, the former Sportsman world champion turned professional championship contender, was swinging the real deal – knocking down hundreds of trees that succumbed to a vicious ice storm that paralyzed parts of the Midwest including his hometown of Coweta, Oklahoma.
Edwards, his wife Lisa and his parents own forty acres of wooded land some thirty miles southeast of Tulsa. Their house is located deep in those woods which meant there were lots of fallen trees and debris to clear out of the driveway.
“I have developed a lot of respect for Paul Bunyan,” Edwards said. “The whole experience hasn’t been exactly pleasant considering that we were out of power for much of last week.”
The ice storm, which pelted the area with up to one-and-a-half inches, has resulted in 15 deaths in Edwards’s home state. As of last week, nearly 100,000 residents were still without power.
“It was rough for us,” Edwards said. “We burned a lot of gas keeping the generators running.”
Edwards said his power returned on Tuesday. The interruption was yet another setback for Edwards who has big plans for 2008, that is, if he can avoid interruptions like the ice storm.
“The main problem that we had is that it took us a while to find a suitable building and then you start ordering parts and machinery – that stuff doesn’t happen overnight.”
Edwards and primary backer Roger Stull have embarked on a new engine program based in Charlotte, NC. He’s also added veteran Pro Stock tuner Terry Adams as a crew chief for 2008.
Edwards pointed out that he’s running behind on a new shop that he expects to be fully operational by February 15, 2008.
“We don’t even have a dyno,” Edwards said. “Our shop isn’t even done yet. We’re behind. Way behind. We’re not sure when the first engine will come out. Things didn’t go as smoothly as we planned in the early going and we’re a bit behind, that’s all.”
Joining Adams is former Victor Cagnazzi employees Nick Ferri and Mark View.
“The main problem that we had is that it took us a while to find a suitable building and then you start ordering parts and machinery – that stuff doesn’t happen overnight,” Edwards added. “Hopefully we can catch up soon. There’s no one thing that put us behind in this venture – not even the ice storm. We were already behind the eight ball when that happened.”
This marks Adams’ second stint with Edwards. He left Warren Johnson’s operation to join Edwards.
“He joined out team close to the end of last year,” Edwards said. “I guess his previous program didn’t work out and he wanted to get a jump on 2008. Terry’s worked with me before and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s good help to have. I think our association will be good for me.
“Having him will be valuable since I will have another person that has a good knowledge of what is going on.”
Edwards will carry backing in 2008 from construction giant Penhall and Young Life.
The Team on a Mission concept will still remain in effect for 2008. Edwards and several drivers on the NHRA POWERAade Championship Drag Racing tour have all pledged to send a child to the Christian-based camp for every round of competition they win.
That statement brings a smile and a wince from Edwards.
“We had quite a few drivers like Jeg Coughlin, Jr. and Allen Johnson that sent a whole lot of kids to camp,” Edwards said. “They were joined by quite a few drivers and companies to make a difference in these kids lives. We raised about $90K for them.”
Then Edwards winces.
“I guess I didn’t send too many to camp on my wins,” Edwards said. “We just had a tough season.”
That’s why Edwards stands excited about 2008.
“Make sure you get that correct – we’re cautiously optimistic,” Edwards said. “That’s where the faith thing kicks in.”