Lee Edwards, more commonly known as “The General”, started his racing career in the early 1950s with a 1939 Plymouth coupe that was powered by a Chevrolet engine. It wasn’t long before he realized he wanted to go quicker and faster than he could with the coupe. When he saw Don Garlits make an appearance in his Chrysler powered dragster at a local track, Lee decided to build his own dragster. After competing in his own car for a few years he accepted a driving opportunity in Jim and Allison Lee’s blown Chrysler powered gas dragster, one of the top cars in the area at that time.
While he did enjoy the power and acceleration of the dragsters, in the early 1960s he built a Chevy powered 1948 A/Gas Anglia coupe. The car was a regular winner at the area tracks and it wasn’t long before it was considered the quickest and fastest A/Gas car in its class, often reaching speeds of 150 MPH with ET’s in the low nine second range.
Two racers who inspired Lee were Don Carlton and Ronnie Sox. They were not only his competitors but also his true friends. When he began racing in pro stock, he enjoyed competing against those guys the most. Lee soon became one of the most successful pro stock competitors on the IHRA circuit. His first pro-stock car was a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro with a big block Chevy motor. Lee’s first pro stock win came at the 1972 IHRA Winter Nationals in Lakeland, Florida when he beat Arlen Vanke. Lee went on to notch another 11 IHRA pro-stock national event wins and compete in 17 final rounds. In 1977 Lee won his first IHRA Pro-Stock World Championship. He followed that up in 1978 with his second IHRA World Championship trophy. In 1977 he also won the IHRA Professional Championship, accumulating more points than any top fuel dragster, funny car, or pro-stock driver that year.
As successful as Lee was in the pro-stock ranks, it was when IHRA instituted though wide-open “Mountain Motor” rules for its Pro Stock class that he really began to shine. He was one of the first competitors to build a 490 cubic inch “Mountain Motor”. Within two years he had increased the size of his engines two 570 cubic inch, and later he increased them even more to the upper 600 cubic inch range.
In 1980 Lee retired from driving, but continued to build some of the most competitive engines available for drag racing, as well as, the popular truck puller classes. He did it all from his shop, Lee Edwards Racing Engines, in Calverton, Virginia.
In addition to his two IHRA World Championships, Lee’s honors include being inducted into the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.