Written by CompetitionPlus
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Mike Edwards and his program “A Team on a Mission,” continues to offer the perfect gift to kids around the country. With the support of fellow racers, business executives, the racing industry, and team owners, joined forces to raise more than $90,000 in helping send a kid to
a Young Life camp. To date, in only three short years, the “A Team on a Mission” has raised more than $200,000 in support of kids.
“This is a gift that will have a lasting impact on many young kids around the country,” said Edwards. “By working with the racing family, we are giving hope to many kids that need it the most and letting them know that people care about their future.”
The "A Team on a Mission" program is set up as a simple donation format. Edwards and a few of his fellow Pro Stock racers donate the amount needed to send a kid to a Young Life camp for every round of competition that he wins during the NHRA POWERade schedule. Fans, racers, and businesses, can either match Edwards’ contribution to the program, or develop their own style of donation, which can include a single donation, a set amount per event, or whatever way they would like.
“Sending a kid to a Young Life camp is a great thing and when we first started this program we only dreamed it could reach these numbers,” Edwards continued. “I hope race fans, fellow racers, and the corporate world can see the benefits of such a worthwhile donation and help make the 2008 season the biggest yet. As a racing family, the sky is the limit on how many lives can be impacted through such a program and I just hope we all can join forces to achieve what this program can accomplish.”
For the 2007 racing season, Edwards and the “A Team on a Mission” received donations from NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin and Pro Stock top 10 finishers V. Gaines and Allen Johnson, as well as Pro car owners Evan Knoll and Kenny Koretsky along with NHRA officials. Given corporate support to the project are Jeg's Mail Order, Roger and Ann Stull, W.W. Engineering, Torco, ProJacks, and Torco's CompetitionPlus.com.
Coughlin has been part of the program since its inception because of the impact it had on his life as a youth. “We enjoy being involved with Young Life and there send a Kid to Camp program. Mike and Lisa Edwards along with many others behind the scenes do an excellent job representing such a great organization. I am proud to contribute because Young Life had a positive role in my high school days. We had a local meeting when I was in high school and I enjoyed socializing with peers my age in a faith-based fashion. I look back on that as a very positive deal and I want to make sure others get the same benefits that I did.”
Also part of this program is at each event, Edwards and his team invites local groups of Young Life kids to the track where Edwards allows them to take in many of the drag-racing attraction and then speaks to them about racing and life-making decisions. To Knoll, sponsor of a handful of cars in the Professional categories, points to the hands-on efforts as a major reason he is part of the program. "I support Mike and the Team on a Mission program because they are just good people. He's an inspiration to the sport. He's a good man with a genuine heart."
"Mike Edwards is a champion in life and that's why I'm honored for Torco's CompetitionPlus.com to be affiliated with his Team on a Mission program,” said Bobby Bennett, Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com publisher, editor and advertising director for the online magazine. “You see a lot of people out there in his position that are speaking the words but don't walk the walk. Mike is a walking testimony through his actions. His team is equally sincere. This team is first class."
For 2008, Edwards is hoping to reach even loftier heights as he sees the “A Team on a Mission” continuing to grow. I hope drivers from all levels of NHRA competition, fans of fuel cars, door cars, and sportsman racing, and racing and non-racing related business help me to make a difference by getting involved. Every bit will help these kids future and that is something worth doing.”
To be part of this program, contact Mike Edwards Motorsports either at the track or by e-mail at
NHRA POWERade Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards wields a vicious axe on the starting line when it comes to starting line
reaction times. If you’re the least bit hesitant off the line, he’ll chop down the Christmas tree and leave you wondering what happened.
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.
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 comes in."
Edwards Adds Adams To Bolster 2008 Title Run
Not often does a talent like Terry Adams become available in the world of NHRA Pro Stock racing. When Mike Edwards found out that Adams and his 30-plus years of experience was a free agent, it only took a few quick phone calls for the tandem to join forces in 2008 to have Adams handle the crew chief duties for the Young Life Pontiac.
“I think this is a perfect fit to our team,” Edwards said. “Terry is a true racer through and through and has been around the sport long enough to have faced every scenario possible. I have the utmost respect in Terry and the talent and abilities he brings to the table.”
After working with the likes of Dave Connolly and Warren Johnson in recent years, Adams has proven he can tune a car to the pinnacle of the class and believes those stops in his journey will only make this destination a near perfect fit.
“Mike and I have the same personalities and understand what it takes to be the best in drag racing,” Adams said. “I know Mike would be a solid competitor out on the NHRA circuit if I never joined his team. But the two of us believe that by putting both of our brains together on the same task, we can only be that much better.”
The soft-spoken tuner from Millers Creek, N.C., has an impressive drag racing resume. A lifelong devotee of drag racing, since he first caught the bug in 1973, Adams has made a career out of the sport, earning a reputation as someone who doesn’t leave anything on the table. Adams has been involved in Pro Stock racing since 1977 when he started to compete on the IHRA circuit, where he scored a couple victories and finished in the championship bridesmaid position on two occasions.
In 1989, he made the switch to the NHRA circuit, and as a driver had limited success, that included a couple No. 1 qualifiers and a handful of semifinal finishes. But, as a tuner, Adams has shined the most, with seven victories and a K&N Filters Pro Stock crown to his credit.
“That is one thing I can’t get over about Terry,” Edwards said. “He is so soft-spoken, but every race car he touches does the speaking for him and it is loud and clear to everyone that he knows how to get the most performance out of every car he tunes.”
Adams feels the move to the Edwards camp might bring even more trophies and winning numbers. “This team knows how to win and is putting everything in place to be one of the real contenders and I want to be part of that experience.”
Another part that drew Adams to the Edwards team was the entire groups work with kids through Young Life program. “That is absolutely the best program at the track today. Anything to help an individual, especially a kid, is a positive. When you can give a kind message of inspiration it goes a long way. And that side of this race team is so incredible I can’t wait to be part of it each event.”
Edwards and Adams will begin on-track preparation in the coming months when they hit the testing trail with the Young Life Pontiac.
Edwards Plays Host To Capernaum Kids
Mike Edwards and his Young Life team for nearly six years have opened their pits to many kids through the Young Life program with disabilities and this was no different in the recent NHRA stop in Atlanta for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, where Edwards welcomed some special individuals on Sunday to give them a taste of racing.
In Atlanta, the Young Life Capernaum Ministries, which is a program of Young Life especially for kids and young adults with disabilities, paid the Mike Edwards Motorsports team a visit. It marks the fifth time the group has joined Edwards in Atlanta, but the first time to catch the sights and sounds of NHRA racing on a Sunday. "In the past we've gone on Thursday, it is still loud and everything, but Sunday, was a whole different experience for these kids," said Robert "Skeeter" Powell, who heads the Capernaum group for the Atlanta area.
This year's trip marked the largest group ever that Edwards hosted. "This year it took two vehicles to get us all there," Powell said. "The van that carried the wheelchairs was packed and we had to call on a friend to bring his vehicle to take more kids and their chairs. The numbers are growing, and most of the 'selling' is being done by the students who have been before."
While at the track, the kids took in as much of the events as possible and spent time with Edwards and his team learning about racing and Godly principles.
"There are not many places we go where we are loved so much and so well," Powell added. "It is so obvious that they care. The best part is to see one of the team members in the midst of working on the car, covered by grease and oil, taking the time to answer questions about the car, drag racing, and life – being personal for Christ's sake with one of the kids who in life is treated like a leaper by most of the people around them. They remember, and it makes it easier for us to talk with them about God's love for them when they see people like Mike, Lisa Edwards, and the entire team."
"When these kids come to the track it is a special time for me," Edwards said. "They have such great spirits about them; it makes you just love spending the day with them. I really enjoy talking with the Capernaum kids and try to say something to encourage them in their daily lives, but by the time they leave I'm the one who feels encouraged and blessed to have been with them."
The Capernaum group plans to join Edwards again in Bristol. "This is such a great opportunity, not only for these kids, but for any high school kid, to do something most don't get to do in a lifetime," Powell added. "Mike Edwards Motorsports gives us an opportunity to have a high adventure surrounded by people who know God and love him and know us and love us."
The Capernaum Ministries gives young people with disabilities an unforgettable and life-changing experience and the chance to have fun, make friends, develop self-esteem and begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.