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Kansas has been ‘close, but no cigar’ for Carl Edwards

May 9, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

Bojangles' Southern 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

Clint Bowyer may be the locals’ favorite this weekend at Kansas Speedway, but Carl Edwards should have more than a few fans in his corner as well.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver is a native of Columbia, Missouri, which is just two hours down Interstate 70 from the 1.5-mile Kansas oval.

Obviously, he would love to win for the first time at what he regards as his home track. And thanks to his earlier victory this season at Bristol Motor Speedway – which effectively put him into the Chase – Edwards is ready to give it everything he has.

“Talladega did not go as we wanted but now we go to Kansas and for me, there is no bigger race during the season than Kansas,” he said going into the weekend. “So many people that I know come to that race, people who have helped me in my career, and it would be really special to win.

“I know that the fans around central Missouri are excited, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about going to the race. [Crew chief] Jimmy [Fennig] and all of the guys have been working really hard, they have a Aflac Ford Fusion and a set of ideas that we can use to win.

“We have nothing to lose right now. We have already got a win and we are doing OK in the points so this race will be one where we truly just go for it.”

Edwards has had some near-misses in his career at Kansas, finishing runner-up in 2008. But by earning five Top-5 finishes (including a fifth last fall in the Chase) and nine Top-10s across 13 Kansas starts, he’s got an average finish of 10.8 at Kansas.

That’s good for fifth-best among all active drivers, so it’s definitely not like Edwards has been snakebit there like Kyle Busch.

Edwards was 16th-quickest in today’s first Sprint Cup practice. Final practice just got underway a few minutes ago at Kansas.

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