Apr 20, 2011

Torrential downpours welcomed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series back to Kansas Speedway on July 2, 2004. As a result of this atypical weather on Independence Day weekend in Kansas, truck series qualifying was canceled; therefore, the 36-truck field was set by owner points.

By virtue of their point status, Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (now known as Randy Moss Motorsports) driver Dennis Setzer sat on the pole with Columbia, Mo. native Carl Edwards to his outside.

Jon Wood, winner of the 2003 race, started his Roush-Fenway Ford outside the fourth row. Both Edwards and Wood, still racing for team owner Jack Roush, were hoping for a repeat of the one-two sweep just one year before. “It would be great to go back there and win again,” said Wood, who earned his victory by coming from the back of the field twice.

Edwards, who considers Kansas Speedway his home track, was also excited about his starting position and the possibility of collecting his second win of the season. “This would be an unbelievable place to win for me,” said the 24-year-old. “I’d like to say that we’re going to finish one-two again, but I’m realistic and I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work at the end of the day.”

As it turned out, Edwards was correct; it would take a lot of hard work that Saturday afternoon to stay competitive. As he and Setzer took the green, Edwards brushed the wall, getting too high in turn two and dropped 31 positions by the end of the first lap. Suddenly, he found himself facing the same daunting task that his teammate, Wood, was confronted with the year before.

Through shear determination and a little help from the Kansas crowd, Edwards continued working back toward the front, eventually taking the lead from former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series icon, the late Bobby Hamilton on lap 146.  Edwards would maintain his advantage through the final lap of the 167-lap affair.

After the race, the 2003 rookie of the year spoke about his lap-one troubles. “I kept looking up at the grandstands. I just read a book and they said to try to absorb as much positive energy as you can, and when I rolled by and had the lead, those fans were cheering, and that’s really what did it.”

“I can’t describe this. I was crying when I crossed the finish line,” said Edwards of his first “home” win.  This was the Missourian’s second win of the season and fifth of his truck series career.

Hamilton, Rick Crawford, Steve Park and Matt Crafton rounded out the top five that afternoon with Wood finishing a respectable sixth.

Hamilton, who passed away in 2007, would go on to claim the series title in 2004 while Edwards would finish in the fourth position, 131 points behind.  Current Michael Waltrip Racing driver, David Reutimann, received rookie of the year honors that season.