News & Media


Defeated Edwards, Osborne look forward to future

November 21, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com



Defeated Edwards, Osborne look forward to future

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Carl Edwards was in the middle of conducting a series of post-race interviews on pit road Sunday night following the Ford 400 when he requested a quick break in the action.

Then he darted away, jumped a safety barrier, and ran out onto the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway track where he had just dueled with race winner Tony Stewart off and on (because of rain) for much of the afternoon and well into the night. Edwards, who finished second in the race to lose the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship to Stewart on a tiebreaker, could do nothing but congratulate Stewart on winning a spectacular battle -- sticking his head in the driver's side door of Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet as Stewart took his own break from turning a Victory Lap.

"I plan on winning about the next 10 of these. That's how I feel right now. ... It's 2012 now and we're tied for the points lead and we move on now."

--CARL EDWARDS


_______________________

"I did what I thought was the best decision for us, and it didn't work for us. ... The 14 just one-upped us."

--BOB OSBORNE

Chase Results

Tony Stewart / Carl Edwards
RaceStewartEdwards
New Hampshire18
Dover253
Kansas155
Charlotte83
Talladega711
Martinsville19
Texas12
Phoenix32
Homestead12
Avg. Finish6.34.9

When he trotted back over to a swarm of media to resume his interviews, Edwards said: "This was a race, and it came down to strategy on the pit stops and restarts and everything it should come down to. I'm not going to lie, I was hoping he'd run out of fuel there at the end. But he didn't. I'm sure that he's going to enjoy this championship -- and I'm hoping we're going to be back in this position again next year.I learned a ton.

"It was fun. I plan on winning about the next 10 of these. That's how I feel right now. I'd like to start right now again and do it every day for as long as I live. That's how much fun it was."

Earlier, Edwards commiserated with crew chief Bob Osborne after climbing from his No. 99 Ford and shaking hands with the man who made the calls atop his pit box.

"I just wanted to make sure that Bob knew that I believe he's the best crew chief here, and that he will be my crew chief for as long as he wants to be, and that I'm behind him and his decision 100 percent," Edwards said.

The call in question came on Lap 213 when Edwards had to pit to get in an attempt to get enough fuel in his car to make it to the finish in the 267-lap race. Stewart had pitted earlier and was gambling that he could make it, then caught a rain caution at just the right time, leaving Osborne with the choice of going with two tires or four while packing in the much-needed fuel.

As he prepared to come to the pits, Edwards implored desperately for Osborne to make the call. "This isn't easy, bud," came Osborne's reply.

In the end, Osborne called for two tires.

"We would have fallen back into the high teens or around the 20th position and we wouldn't have had a chance at all," Osborne said. "The 14 timed it perfectly with the caution and was able to have four fresh tires in front of us. We had the choice to take four and come back out deeper in the field, or take two and be right behind him. Two was our best bet, I think, to have our best chance. ... I did what I thought was the best decision for us, and it didn't work for us."

In reality, though, Edwards likely would not have been able to finish as high as second without the two-tire gambit. And Edwards said he left nothing at all on the track or in his car.

"That's it. That's all I've got -- other than trying something weird up against the fence wide-open lap after lap, which I really thought about," Edwards said. "The only reason I didn't try that is because I really thought he might run out of fuel. I was going to put it up there on the fence with one to go and hold it wide-open. But we were almost wide-open up there anyway, and then I was worried that he would run out of fuel after my car was wadded up and the right front was ripped off.

"So I did what I thought was best and it's over now. It's 2012 now and we're tied for the points lead and we move on now."

Edwards and Osborne, who entered the race three points ahead of Stewart and leading the Chase standings, were left to wonder how they were runner-ups in the championship hunt after fashioning a 4.9 average finish in the 10 Chase races. That represented the best average finish for any driver in the history of the Chase, which began in 2004.

Others, such as Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth, also had difficulty understanding it.

"It was crazy," Kenseth said. "I don't know how Carl could have put together a better 10 races. They took bad days and turned them into good days and did all they could, but Tony got on that tear and won all those races on different style race tracks. I'm not sure how he made it there at the end on fuel, but he did. I thought it was Carl's, to be honest with you."

Osborne added: "The 14 just one-upped us. They had five wins in 10 races, right? That's pretty unbelievable. But they did it and that got them the championship."

Osborne said he could take no consolation in that it took Stewart winning five Chase races and being on top in the tiebreaker to claim the title when a season's worth of racing was done.

"To me, second is second. It doesn't matter," Osborne said. "Our goal was to win the championship, so it doesn't matter to me how we finished second, really."

Edwards said he could only hope that he and his team will become better through coming so close.

"I talked to you guys [in the media] one time, and I said there is a [Rudyard] Kipling poem where he said, 'You have to meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.' That's the truth," Edwards said.

"There's nothing saying that this loss here [Sunday night] won't spur a chain of events that could lead to some serious success in the future, and you guys are looking at someone who is not going to miss out on that."

* Edwards at Homestead: Final Laps | Post-Race Reaction | Press Pass

Watch Edwards' Chase highlights: