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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Greg Edwards’ success in 2012 helped his team decide to expand their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing efforts in 2013.
Edwards, 41, of Poquoson, Va., won his third NASCAR Late Model track championship at venerable Langley Speedway, a .396-mile paved oval in Hampton, Va., in 2012.
He will begin the new season in the UNOH Battle At The Beach on the short track at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 18-19.
“We’re putting together a schedule to do as many races as we can and do our best,” Edwards said. “We’re planning on going to Daytona (with Randy Sears’ car) and work our way into the UNOH Battle At The Beach in February. We’ll start our regular season (in James Long’s car) in March at Myrtle Beach and Southern National. We might have three or four races completed before Langley opens this year.”
The Sears Sand and Gravel team is building a new car for Edwards to drive at Daytona. They did well in another major league event last April. It’s the team Edwards won the pole and finished second to Tony Stewart with in the 2012 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
“I’ve been to Daytona International Speedway many times, but driving through the tunnel towing a race car behind us for the first time is going to be special,” Edwards said. “Racing on the short track on the backstretch with drivers and cars from so many places is going to be interesting. It’s going to be an awesome experience.”
In addition to his performance in the Hamlin event at Richmond, Edwards posted a huge win in November. In Long’s Eagle 97.3 Chevrolet, Edwards closed out the 2012 season in November by taking a $12,000 win in the 200-lap Thanksgiving All-Star Classic for NASCAR Late Models at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C. Blake Jones finished second in the 35-car field followed by Josh Oakley, Tommy Lemons Jr. and Brandon Brown.
“We proved to ourselves we can compete with the best there is at Langley and anywhere else,” Edwards said.
In his fulltime ride with owner Long, Edwards won the 2012 Langley championship by less than 20 points over C.E. Falk III, the track’s three-time and defending champion. Falk finished third in the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national point race.
The competition between the two was intense.
“Me and C.E. banged each other around most of the year,” Edwards said. “There were a lot of races we thought we could win but came up short. The team backed me all the way. We won the most poles (seven), and led a lot of laps.”
Edwards placed eighth in the 2012 NASCAR state point race with two wins, 14 top fives and 16 top 10s in 17 starts. All but one of those starts came at Langley. He made a single start at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.
“Virginia Beach radio station 97.3 The Eagle committed to us to run the full season for the championship in 2012, and that allowed us to go after it,” Edwards said.
Edwards’ three Langley championships have come in three different decades in the years of 1998, 2006 and 2012. He might have won more titles, but there were seasons when he ran abbreviated schedules.
The Edwards family has long been connected to the historic Langley track. Danny Edwards Sr. is a longtime car sponsor and Danny Edwards Jr. is a five-time NASCAR Late Model champion.
“I’ve always been at the track as long as I can remember,” Greg Edwards said.
He began his driving career in the Grand Stock division in 1988 and took that title in 1991, before moving up to Late Models.
In addition to owners James and Mary Lou Long and crew chief John McMasters, team members include Dave Jones, Phil Goodwin, Brett Huggett, Craig Bauer, Nate Matter, Justin Puakea and Jeff Knapp. The race car uses a Creech Racing Fabrication chassis and is powered by a Charlie High Racing Engine. Sponsors include 97.3 The Eagle, Danny’s Glass and CBX Modular Homes. Edwards will continue to drive for Sears in selected special events.
Edwards was honored for his track championship during the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in December.
A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 counted toward their states and national point totals and
the champions are decided on overall point total. Once a driver reaches 18 starts, their total would increase incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results.
Under the point structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner receives two points for every car in the event up to 20 cars. Second place receives two fewer points and so on through the field. Race winners receive an additional five points. For example, if 20 cars are in the field, the winner receives 45 points, second place 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 35 points, second 28 and third, 26.