AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Carl Edwards nearly ended Jimmie Johnson’s chance at winning the Chase early in the race and lost a chance to win when he ran out of gas before the last lap.
Instead of being angry, he was all smiles after the race.
“There’s a lot worse things than what we’re doing, so I am enjoying it and having some fun,” Edwards said after Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. “Just one part of the race wasn’t perfect, that’s all.”
It was almost two.
Racing three-wide early in the race, Edwards was caught in the middle and clipped the side of Johnson’s No. 48, sending it slightly sideways and up the track. Johnson was able gather his car and finished third to extend his series lead to 28 points over Matt Kenseth heading into the season finale at Homestead.
When it was over, Edwards went to the pits to let Johnson know the contact was not intentional.
“I’m so glad I didn’t wreck him,” Edwards said. “I was telling people the last couple of weeks, `I want to be a part of the championship battle,’ but I don’t want to be that part. He did a heck of a job saving it and I’m just glad it didn’t affect his championship.”
Edwards’ big problem came at the end of the race while he was leading.
He and the team calculated that the No. 99 car had enough fuel to finish the race, but it ran out of gas coming into the white flag. Edwards was forced into the pits and ended up 21st in a race he appeared to have won.
“We did everything right, we just miscalculated one part,” he said. “And that’s NASCAR: You’ve got to be perfect.”
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