After coming within a single point of winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship a year ago, Carl Edwards is now one race away from missing the 2013 Chase.
|Edwards' back is against the wall|
A blown engine in the late going of Sunday’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway relegated Edwards to a 36th-place finish that leaves him winless on the season and 14th in Sprint Cup Series championship points. He now trails Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon in both points and victories, and must win Saturday night’s regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway to have any chance of racing for the 2012 championship.
“This is not the interview I wanted to do after the race,” admitted Edwards after Sunday’s race. “It looks like (we broke) a piston or something. It started making noise about 25-30 laps ago, and it’s just hard to put into words. I was kind of in denial. I thought, ‘No, it’s OK. It’s alright,’ and then finally it broke.
“That’s just how our season has been going,” he said. “I don’t know what the reason is. We treat these engines like gold and we hardly ever have engine trouble. But we’ll go to Richmond, win that race and somehow maybe a miracle will happen.
“We’ll make the Chase and go win this championship. That’s our mission.”
|Edwards' night ended too early|
The Roush Fenway Racing driver waxed philosophical, saying, “Somebody is trying to teach me something here. I told my wife today, ‘There’s something in (Las) Vegas I’m not supposed to go do.’ I’ve been trying to live right and do the right things, so I hope there’s a reason for all of this. But man, it’s so frustrating. I hope we get all of this out of our system soon, because it sure is fun to win races and be in the hunt. This is not fun.”
Scenarios now exist where Edwards could win Saturday night at Richmond and still not make the Chase. Despite that bleak outlook, however, he said he and his team are determined to keep digging until the final verdict is in.
“We could still be within distance,” he insisted. “Anything can happen. I don’t ever quit, and this team doesn’t ever quit. We’ve got big shoulders (and) if there’s anybody that can take it, we’ll take it and go out and do our very best.
“I’m just trying to come to grips with how pivotal this is for our season, how bad it is. But that’s just the way it is.”
Photo: John Harrelson/Getty Images