Now that a few days have passed since Mike Edwards collected the closest victory in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series history, when he and the Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries team nipped Allen Johnson by less than one-10-thousandth of a second at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers to secure his fourth straight Bristol Pro Stock victory, he’s even more amazed at how close that finish really was.
“How do you even measure less than 10-thousandths of a second?” Edwards said. “I guess I can truly say I won by a hair."
No other form of auto racing, track and field, swimming, or any other events have produced a winner by less than one-hundredth of a second.
By way of example, the tightest Indianapolis 500 finish was in 1992 when Al Unser Jr. edged Scott Goodyear by a margin of .043-second. NASCAR has had two finishes of .001, the first in 2003 at Darlington Raceway when Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch, and the second in 2011, when Jimmie Johnson edged out Busch by mere inches at Talladega Superspeedway.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when Michael Phelps pulled off his come-from-behind victory in the 200-meter butterfly in his quest for eight gold medals, he won by a margin of .41-second, one of the closest finishes in Olympic history.
“It was an unbelievable finish that even today it’s hard to understand how close it was,” continued Edwards, who used a .005-second reaction and 6.674 to edge Johnson’s .018 reaction and 6.661. The margin of victory on the time slip read “<0.0000.”
“That is just how close NHRA Pro Stock racing really is, and we were blessed that our win light came on. It could have easily gone the opposite way. That race will easily go down in the history books as one of the closest races ever and for sure the closest final, and to be involved in such an exciting race is indescribable.
“I have won and lost a lot of races that were close, but to win this one by less than an inch is a testament to just how tough NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock racing is and leaves very little room for errors.
“It is unfortunate that there had to be a loser in that race. Both teams did an awesome job of giving Allen and me fantastic cars to drive. And as drivers, you just want to do your part, and having both of us have lights better than 18-thousandths from perfect, we did our jobs as well. It truly was nearly the perfect race from both teams, and we were fortunate to get the win light.”