With family involved in the sport, T.J. Edwards got his introduction to racing by helping with his cousin’s late model. That grew a desire to get behind the wheel, which came to fruition in 2013 beginning with mini stocks.
Following success in both Mini Stocks and Late Models, Edwards jumped behind the wheel of a modified for the first time in 2019, a decision that was made as a group by him and his team.
“It’s something as a team we have always liked and we’ve always wanted to try, and as far as my uncle wanting to do in getting involved with it, so as a team we did it,” he shared.
With six feature top-five’s and four heat wins, everything came together at the end of 2021 with him being crowned the OSCAAR Modified Champion.
“It means a lot,” he reflected. “It’s one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve done in my career. It took a lot of help and a lot of luck in the same way to not have mechanical failures, to catch a blowing up motor in practice, and stuff. There’s very good people behind me that have helped me.”
Looking back at the season, Edwards says the most memorable moment has to be entire championship weekend at Peterborough Speedway, from the nerves entering the Autumn Colours Classic, to how things turned out at the end.
“We never would’ve thought we were going to accomplish that,” he added. “We just wanted to finish top-five in the points, learn, and take notes for next year.”
Edwards will return behind the wheel of the familiar No. 34 Modified in 2022, hoping to defend his championship.
“(We) just need the good finishes again like last year, and just find a little more speed, and then hope the same consistency and luck carries onto this year,” he commented.
With a schedule that is set to take him across the province, he states his excitement surrounds Delaware Speedway, in seeing how much speed is gained with the repave.
The hope is not only another championship, but also a return to victory lane as currently his most memorable win is his first career OSCAAR triumph at Jukasa Motor Speedway in 2020. Though while his sight is set on that at the end of the road, expect Edwards to have smaller goals along the way. It’s something he has done through his racing career to date, advising those coming up the ranks in keeping it as simple as “pass one car this race, pass two cars the next race,” as it helps keep you focused.
By Ashley McCubbin
Photo by Kelly Costigan