The native of Springfield issued an answer that was kind of surprising to some of those who consider Kansas Speedway to be the American Heartland’s racing jewel.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Missouri native Carl Edwards and Kansas native Clint Bowyer both got quite vocal, quite emotional the other day trying to explain what a victory in Saturday night’s SpongeBob SquarePants 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway would mean to them.
Edwards, who grew up in Columbia – which is located about 150 miles east of the Speedway – had to search for the right words to express his feelings. Bowyer, who seldom has to search for words about anything, actually got kind of serious for a brief moment when talking about it.
Jamie McMurray is also from Missouri and he too was asked the standard question about what a victory at Kansas would mean, and, if he consider the place to be his home track.
This is just as important as any other race. I don’t view it any differently than where we are racing next weekend.
The native of Springfield – located in the southeastern part of Missouri – issued an answer that was kind of surprising to some of those who consider Kansas Speedway to be the American Heartland’s racing jewel.
“Yeah,” the Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver said, “I listen to Carl (Edwards) or Clint (Bowyer) maybe talk about that a little more than what I do. I mean I grew up three hours from here. So here and Texas are kind of… I mean I live in the middle of that. I don’t know. This isn’t a home track because we’ve all raced here the same amount of times. It’s not like we grew up racing here. It would be special to win here, but it would be special to win anywhere.”
Pressed a bit harder about how badly he wanted to win at Kansas, McMurray said, “As far as winning here, I don’t view this as a different race from anywhere else, other than knowing a lot more people as I walk out of the Media Center here and recognize faces that I haven’t seen in years. This is just as important as any other race. I don’t view it any differently than where we are racing next weekend.”
But make no mistake, McMurray loves Missouri and still has strong ties to his hometown.
He came back to the area early this week to do some decompressing by taking his hands off the steering wheel and wrapping them around a fishing rod.
“My Dad and I went to Bass Pro Shops (a sponsor of his team) farm and we fished about 12 hours a day the last three days,” McMurray said. “I’m glad that I got to come here and take a break from our activity. It was a lot of fun. It’s really great father/son bonding time. Johnny Morris actually came out and went fishing with my Dad and I. It was great to hear, he told stories about his Dad and some about his son. It’s nice to kind of hang out and just be normal for a few days. So we had a great time fishing. My Dad actually came to the race with me this weekend. That is nice he only comes to maybe one or two races a year.”
Jim Pedley - NASCAR Wire Service