As the old saying goes, the home is where the heart is. For Carl Edwards, it could be the site of what he feels would be his most important and biggest win of his career.
A win at Kansas, says the Columbia, Mo. native, would top a Brickyard 400 win. In fact, winning at a track located a little over 129 miles—just over two hours driving time—away from his home would top a victory at the series's premier event, the Daytona 500.
A look at last years race at Kansas, Edwards's determination showed very clearly in a move that was talked about for a quite a while. Heading into the final turn, Edwards was battling Jimmie Johnson for the win. However, Edwards decided to take the all-or-nothing approach, driving deep into the corner to try and get by Johnson. It worked, that is until Edwards's car got a nice stripe of white along it's right-side door. Once he made contact with the wall, all momentum was lost and he was forced to take a second place result.
“If I can win at Kansas, that would be the biggest win on the schedule for me,” Edwards said. “The Daytona 500 would be great. The Brickyard 400 would be great. But Kansas, I don’t know if you could top that just because it’s so close to home. Last year was such an amazing race and I thought we were going to get it. It was so close.”
One thing's for certain, a win could be crucial in his dwindling championship chances for this season. After finishing last year's chase second to Johnson's record-tying third consecutive championship run, he sits 153 points behind the points-leader in 11th spot after just two chase races.
Edwards has five starts at Kansas Speedway in the Sprint Cup Series, making his debut at the track in NASCAR's top series in 2004—where he finished 22nd on the lead lap. He finished third and sixth in 2005 and 2006, respectively. He was involved in a mid-race accident back in 2007 causing him to finish 37th before his runner-up finish last year.
After scoring nine wins in the Sprint Cup Series last season, Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac Ford haven't gotten their stars to line up yet this season.
Besides Edwards, Clint Bowyer (Emporia, Kan.) and Jamie McMurray (Joplin, Mo.) also call Kansas their home-track in the Sprint Cup Series.