KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Carl Edwards was caught up in the moment last Sunday at Dover when he got on the radio and told the No. 99 crew that he was going to win Kansas.
But heading into today’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, he appears to have as good a chance as anybody to make that happen.
Edwards, currently tied with Kevin Harvick for the points lead in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, will start on the front row alongside pole-sitter and Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle..
“I hope I can come through with that (prediction),” said Edwards, who is still looking for his first Sprint Cup win at Kansas. “I feel that we can do it and I really felt like we could do it at Dover (a third-place finish after a costly pit road penalty).
“This race I feel for our team is an opportunity to capitalize on one of our strong points, which is these mile-and-a-half race tracks. I’m hoping that we can run as well as we have historically at this type of race track. This week, next week (at Charlotte) we have to do everything right so that we have a little insurance for those bad days that are inevitably going to come.”
This season is starting to look like Edwards’ best chance to win the Sprint Cup title since 2008, when he finished second and won a series-high nine races.
“A lot has happened since 2008,” Edwards said. “I have gained a ton of experience in the sport, just with the ups and downs and the way things can go. I think I appreciate the way we are running now more than I did then.”
A priority for Edwards early in today’s race will be to pick up a bonus point for leading a lap, a process that could be aided by the fact that he will start next to his teammate.
“I don’t think the first lap is going to be a lap that I would let him lead but I may not have that opportunity,” Biffle said. “He may be faster than me on the start of the race. You just never know.”
Biffle is not in the Chase for the first time since 2007 but has won twice at Kansas Speedway, including the race last year.
“This is a mile and a half and our cars are fast and run good on those,” Biffle said. “I have some wins here and this is obviously a place that we are very capable of winning.”
Kyle Busch, currently eighth in points, will roll off third Sunday, while a third Roush Fenway Chase driver, Matt Kenseth, will start fourth. Non-Chaser Kasey Kahne rounds out the top five.
Harvick will start 14th on Sunday while Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart, who are tied for third in the Chase standings (nine points behind Edwards and Harvick) will start farther back in the field.