Carl Edwards has been here before.
He could draw a map he’s so familiar with this territory: close — but not close enough — to a win on his home track at Kansas Speedway. Once again, he’ll leave the racetrack with disappointment in his gut, and a question of when exactly this one will pass.
Edwards, a Columbia native, finished second in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, the 14th time he’s finished in the top 10 at this track. But still, he has yet to manage a first-place finish.
“We ran well, and that was really fun, we raced out front,” Edwards said. “It is really tough for me to finish second here. … We’ll just move forward. A day or two will pass, and maybe this thing will wear off, and I’ll be more excited about the points situation going into Talladega, because that’s the bright side.”
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This is something Edwards has had to grow used to at Kansas Speedway — searching for a silver lining, despite continued heartbreak at the racetrack he calls home.
And there is one. Edwards is fourth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, heading into a knockout race at Talladega. He’s in solid position, especially after Sunday’s second-place finish. But that hasn’t stopped the swirl of emotion that clouds his mind when he loses again in Kansas, especially in such close fashion.
“It’s happened twice,” Edwards said of finishing second. “Both of them were pretty painful.”
Until Sunday, Edwards hadn’t finished better than fifth at Kansas Speedway since 2008, which yielded his other second-place finish. That year, Edwards attempted to catch up to Jimmie Johnson in the final lap, but didn’t have enough juice to get the win.
Edwards has finished in the top 10 at Kansas 13 times out of 19 races.
He led three times Sunday, for 61 total laps. But in the end, he couldn’t catch up with Kevin Harvick, who took the victory.
“As much fun as I had racing up front, yeah, it stings,” Edwards said. “There are negative emotions tied to not winning here with that fast of a car. But that's the way it goes.”
So, Edwards will head into Talladega and the rest of the season the same way he always does: with a familiar feeling of bitterness about a Kansas finish, but optimism about the rest of the season eventually taking over.
Still, as Edwards pushes forward in the Chase, he also will bide his time until the next race in Kansas.
“This one today — I was pretty sure we were in control of the race,” he said. “Then also, that race here in 2008 with Jimmie. … We let that one go, too. Those I remember more just because they are so special.
“Fortunately, we get to race here twice now every year, so I cannot wait to come back again. I wish we could line the cars back up again and go. But I’ll wait.”