Columbia native Carl Edwards and Joplin's Jamie McMurray are among the qualifiers for today's 2011 Bud Shootout, the first event of the NASCAR season. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Jeff Gordon, however, is not.) I'm not especially familiar with racing, but I have to imagine that SB Nation Kansas City is going to claim McMurray, which means Edwards is our guy for strictly regionalistic rooting purposes. Edwards was randomly assigned the third position in the race, which starts at 7 PM CST on FOX.
Kevin Harvick has won each of the last two Budweiser Shootouts; in 2009 he passed McMurray on the second-to-last lap of the night. Qualifying for the Daytona 500 will begin on Sunday, with the Gatorade Duels following next Thursday.
Edwards, who finished the 2010 season strong after a crushing losing streak, is famous for doing backflips, which should, if nothing else, make this entirely hometown-based rooting interest a little easier to develop. It's always good to have something to couch your otherwise-irrational fervor within, and backflips work as well as anything else.