Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series is hard enough but when a driver gets near his hometown it can get harder. Carl Edwards grew up in Columbia, Missouri and considers the Kansas Speedway his hometown track since it is the closest Sprint Cup track to his home town.
Racing at your home track is even more stressful than racing at other tracks since there will be many more family and friends to entertain. There is also an expectation and desire to do well in front of the home crowd.
“For us and for me personally this race is as important as any race on the circuit.” Carl said, “A win here, this would be as big as any Daytona 500 that we could win, any Brickyard 400, any of that. This win that I plan on getting on Sunday is what we need to turn our whole season around and make this a great year.”
Carl Edwards has raced at Kansas Speedway before so he is used to the family and friends being at the track. He has raced here 10s times in the past and although he has no wins, he does have four top 5s and eight top 10s. This year though it will be different because the track is totally different. No driver has raced here on this track in this configuration.
“It is still my home track. It is a different surface though and is so much faster. I was really nervous about the changes being bad for our team in particular but we have been super fast in practice. Our 99 car has been very good.“
Carl does have some help this week. Bob Osborne his crew chief had taken a leave of absence from being at the race track. This week he will not be the crew chief but he will be there helping out where he can. Chad Norris will still be the crew chief.
“Bob is here in Kansas helping out and I think he knows how important this race is for me.” Carl said, “Chad Norris has been doing great and Bob is as good as any crew chief in the garage but he had health issues. He has been working through those. The key for us is to have some fun.”
The season has not gone the way Carl wanted this year. Last year he missed his first championship by one point to Tony Stewart and was expected to pick right up where he left off. It didn’t go that way and Carl and his team struggled all year. They missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Carl talked about his struggles this year. “The Ford folks actually produced a spreadsheet for us and showed me last week that we have been involved in an incident, with either a wreck or failure of some sort in over 15-percent of the first 26 races. That has been bad but the other this is we just haven’t run very well. It seems like our whole team has struggled a little bit with speed. Speed is really important in racing.”
Carl Edwards, in spite of the changes to the track and being in front of his family and friends thinks he will win this weekend at Kansas Speedway. When he does there will be one big party, a Carl Edwards type of party.
“Yeah, it would be like O’Doul’s all around and I am buying (laughter). We would probably stay up to 10:30 or 11:00 o’clock and listen to some Kenny Rogers or something. It would be a crazy party man.” Carl Added “I would actually probably get a little work done; maybe have everybody help me do some cleaning and organizing at the house. Maybe a work out or maybe do some Kettlebells or something. C’mon man! I would at least go out to dinner or something. Maybe splurge and have a piece of pie. I honestly don’t know what we would do if we won. Probably we would go back to Columbia (Missouri) and have everyone meet at Shakespeare’s Pizza and have some fun. It would be a good time.”
Carl is looking to have fun this weekend at Kansas Speedway and finish with a win. We might not all like to party like Carl but as confident as he is it will be one heck of a party.
Carl Edwards starts the Hollywood Casino 400 17th Sunday October 21st. Carl and his team will have some work to do as it is expected to be hard to pass on the new surface at Kansas Speedway.
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