By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
While Queen of Diamonds II Jet Dragster pilot Sarah Edwards lives in Conn., Atco Dragway has been a home away from home for the young driver, as the facility is where she started to hone her craft. She was able to return to the facility earlier this month, which is her only appearance in New Jersey this season.
This Thrill show happens once a year at the South Jersey facility. Originally this year’s event was scheduled to take place on June 2nd. However, due to rain in the forecast, the event was moved to Wednesday, June 6th.
“Heading back to Atco is always a humbling and bittersweet feeling,” Edwards said. “When I started, I raced there every summer for four years and now I race all over the country — so that one race a year back at my home track just feels so good. The Capone family, who owns the track, as well as their incredible staff, have always welcomed us and taken such good care of me as a new racer.
“When we started bracket racing as a family, we knew just about nothing; but with everyone’s help and encouragement, from track owners to the individual racers, we got the hang of it. Today, I credit all those I raced with at Atco with helping mold me into the driver I am today. Their knowledge, advice, and support have contributed to my racing foundation. Now that I am driving professionally and living my dreams, it makes coming home to Atco so much sweeter.
Edwards faced Ernie Bogue, the driver of the Beast from the East Jet Dragster. She won both times during the Thrill Show.
During her first pass, she went 5.358 at 299 mph, as Bogue had problems. Then, in her second pass, she went 5.335 at 299.40 mph.
“Ernie Bogue and I face off a fair amount of times during the race season, which is cool, because we can keep a running leaderboard amongst ourselves of our wins and losses,” she said. “Ernie has a fast car and so do we, so when we race it’s all up to the driver and who is going to cut a good light. In the second round at Atco that Wednesday night, I actually had no clue which one of us won that race until I got all the way back to my pit.
“It was close, I could see him out in front of me a little bit, then in the shutdown [area], I missed the light, they have on the side of the wall to see if I had won or not. My crew was 99.9% sure I took the win, but I really didn’t know for certain till I looked at the time slip. There it was — a whole shot win, my favorite.”
Even on a Wednesday night, despite being several hours away from home, Edwards was joined by her boyfriend Stephen, her parents, and her brother.
“I am actually extremely fortunate that both my mom and dad are able to attend every single race,” Edwards said. “We are a package deal for sure, and where I go, they follow. When work allows, my boyfriend Stephen is able to come out to the races with all of us, too. For us, it is really a family commitment and operation. Aside from my immediate family, I have enormous support from our family-friends.
“When a ‘local’ race, like Atco, comes around, or the previous races at [Old Bridge Township] Raceway Park [in Englishtown, N.J.], I can have upwards of 20+ people coming through the gates just there to see me. I am fortunate my friends and supporters travel out to the races from anywhere from 30 minutes down the road to 3 hours, just to watch me do my thing for 10 seconds out of the whole night. The love and support they show is incredible, and the best part is, it never gets old! They return to the track year-after-year. Some of our friends have even made the trek from CT all the way out to Ohio for a one-day race. That’s enthusiasm like no other! We have taken friends, who have never been to a drag race in their life and turned them into absolute drag racing groupies. It is probably one of the most enjoyable experiences; to see other people loving what you love.”
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