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Do drivers enjoy racing near home more?
This weekend at Kansas Speedway, both my driver Clint Bowyer and Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards will be additionally pumped up because this is what you might call their home track and their hometown crowd.
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As a driver, you get really excited about it. That is something that motivates and inspires you. Naturally, everybody brings their A game to each race. But when you are in front of your hometown crowd, you really do have an extra bounce in your step. It just feels good, and it’s a bonus.
For Edwards, this might be the springboard he needs to break out of this slump he seems to be in. Last Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, he and Jeff Gordon were the two drivers who made huge moves during the race. Gordon started in the back, in 34th position, and made his way to the front by the end of the night to finish in fourth. Edwards started the race in 20th and finished eighth.
So it was a real solid night for Edwards. He really did have a car fast enough to compete for the win, but with only two cautions the whole night, it made it difficult for him to get completely caught up. So the team is running well enough to win, but it’s just a matter of closing the deal.
I expect that same type of run to happen again Sunday at Kansas. Goodness knows, it’s a place Edwards dearly would like to win at. It would also definitely serve notice in the garage and to the fans that team is ready to get back up there and compete for a championship again. So it really wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we are all talking about Edwards next week as the Kansas race winner.
Fans need to remember that all these 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule are not cookie-cutter type tracks. Texas feels like there is more banking and definitely more speed than at Kansas. Kansas is more consistent with its grip and is a really fun place to drive.
Now, what is going to be really fun is when we come back in the fall for the second Kansas race. Once this Sunday is completed, the track’s old surface is being torn up. So, come the fall race, these drivers will be racing for the first time on a fresh surface.
That will be an amazing race because the place will be bad fast and it will have a ton of grip. That will be really cool to watch. We are talking about setting new track records for speed. easily. So once Sunday is over, the notebooks they use on setups for this place will be put away because they won’t be relevant to the new surface for a while.