2013 STP 400: Carl Edwards anxious to get first Kansas win

USA TODAY Sports

Forget the Daytona 500, the race Carl Edwards wants to win more than anything is this weekend's event at Kansas Speedway -- his home track.

The NASCAR race Carl Edwards wants to win more than any other isn't the Daytona 500 -- the sport's most prestigious event.

No, instead the native of Columbia, Mo., wants more than anything to finally get a victory at Kansas Speedway -- the place he considers his home track.

"It's a special place," Edwards said Friday at Kansas. "A Cup win here, truly, would be as big as the Daytona 500 or any other race for me. It's a really special place for me."

Despite never having been victorious at Kansas, with eight top 10s in 11 total starts the 1.5-mile oval has been good to Edwards over the years, including a current stretch where he has finished 10th or better in six of the last seven races.

The closest Edwards ever came to winning was in 2008, when running second on the final lap he attempted a bonsai move on leader Jimmie Johnson heading in Turn 3 that ultimately proved futile. Edwards finished in the runner-up position.

Working with a new crew chief this season in Jimmy Fennig, Edwards hopes Fennig will do for him what he did for Matt Kenseth last October and lead him to Victory Lane.

In a short amount of time the veteran Fennig has left a noticeable impression on his driver.

Last Saturday at Texas, Edwards had what he described as a "25th-place car" but thanks to Fennig's sage leadership he, instead, left the Lone Star State in third.

"He's a part of the team that just in these seven races I've realized that he's always on," Edwards said. "He's always got it together. He's always dedicated. He doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't lay down on you and give up. It's pretty spectacular."

Extra motivated and on a track where he's had prior success, Edwards is hoping this is the year he can finally get that Kansas win.

"This weekend is really important," he said. "I think Jimmy knows how important this weekend is to me. We talk about this race like I'm trying extra hard this weekend, but, really, they're all very, very important to me."

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