je_header interviews Atlantic Champion John Edwards

Bob Mayes Congratulates John on his Sebring VictoryEFORMULACARNEWS.COM: Before we begin, I just want to congratulate you on your championship-winning season. You must feel pretty proud of your accomplishments.

JOHN EDWARDS Thanks, it was a very intense season, and I'm very thankful that I was able to come out on top.

EFCN: Let’s start things off by looking back at the 2009 season. You returned to Atlantic Championship after a one-year hiatus, in which you won the Star Mazda Championship. What were your thoughts going into the season? Was your goal right from day one to win the championship, or merely to perform at your best, and ideally be challenging for wins week in and week out? When, if at all, did you think you were the man to beat in the championship fight?

EDWARDS The goal was to win the championship from the very beginning. That being said, there is a lot that must fall into place in order to win, as was demonstrated in the season-finale. Ironically, it wasn't until the very last race that I realized I was not one of the favorites for the championship, but that is when it came together.

EFCN: You not only won the series title, but also visited victory lane four times, stood on the podium nine times, and captured three pole positions. What do you think was the key to this success?

EDWARDS We were very methodical and had a great atmosphere within the team. This was highlighted after our worst results of the season (not counting my DNF) in the doubleheader at New Jersey. Rather than freak out, we analyzed what we needed and rebounded with a stellar last half of the season. Though I would rather have not suffered through the bad results in New Jersey, the process we went through will help me in the future.

EFCN: As we all know, winning a title takes a lot of hard work. Does one race or battle standout in your mind? Who was you biggest adversary and what track challenged you the most?

EDWARDS The qualifying session at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca season-finale was by far the most intense session all year for me. The Newman Wachs cars were much quicker than the rest of the field. My teammate Jonathan Summerton and I constantly snatched pole from each other during the 40 minute session, often by only a few hundredths of a second. To add to the pressure, I needed that solitary point for the pole in order to tie him in the championship, knowing that I would win the tiebreaker. Eventually, I got pole by 0.051 of a second, and that made it the most satisfying session all year.

EFCN: Being as the Atlantic Championship is a development/feeder type championship, what do you think learned this season that will make you a better driver and help you prepare for your next racing challenge?

EDWARDS As always, I learned a few driving tricks that will help me on track, but the bigger lessons are in working with the people around me to make the car and myself faster. The analytical side of racing between sessions is equally as important as driving.

EFCN: For drivers looking at racing in the Atlantic Championship next year, what would you say are the benefits of the series, and how would you recommend they prepare for the upcoming season, so they can make the most of the opportunity?

EDWARDS The Atlantic series is a great training ground. They are also some of the best cars I've ever driven. Though there were not many cars this season, the competition at the front was just as intense as any of the last few years. I look forward to watching the Atlantic competition for many years to come.

EFCN: Before we look at the future, tell us what it means to you to win the 2009 Atlantic Championship title?

EDWARDS The cool off lap at Mazda Raceway gave me one of the most overwhelming feelings I've ever had. This is the biggest accomplishment of my life, but I'm still looking forward to bigger things for the future.

EFCN: Looking towards the upcoming 2010 season, how are things falling into place thus far? We know it originally looked like you might make the move to the IndyCar Series. Is that still a possibility? If not where are you looking at racing? Have you had the chance to test anything recently? If so, how did it go?

EDWARDS Unfortunately, a sponsor backed out who we had hoped to keep, so Indycar is no longer a possibility. However, I tested an Indy Lights car at Sebring and it went well, so we're in the process of talking to teams and figuring out the best option. I wish I could be more specific, but hopefully I will know more soon!

EFCN: As always, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and best of luck next year.

EDWARDS Thanks, hopefully I'll be talking to you again after next season!

Fast Facts about the Atlantic Champion John Edwards: 

When did you start racing? When I was eight years old.The Champ at Laguna !How would you describe your driving style? Smooth
Favorite track? Spa-Francorchamps
Favorite driver? In IndyCar Justin Wilson and F1 Kimi Raikkonen.
Favorite non-racing website? They have those?
Favorite movie? The Hangover
Favorite music group? Kings of Leon
Favorite food? Sushi
If you weren’t racing cars what would you be doing? Sitting at home thinking about racing cars.
Current road car? It's broken, so I'm thinking about upgrading to a Mazda RX-8.

John is proudly sponsored by Mazda.

GOZAPIT brought timely updates to John's Website - Thanks GOZAPIT !