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Edwards needs time to recover from fuel folly

November 11, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Fuel mileage miscalculation costs Edwards a Phoenix sweep

RELATED: Full Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Carl Edwards, a winner here at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this year, nearly pulled off the double. 

Then his fuel cell ran dry with the white flag in the air in the AdvoCare 500 and the Roush Fenway Racing driver was left to ponder what might have been. 

"We played the strategy very well," said Edwards, whose No. 99 Ford fell from first to 21st when the fuel mileage misjudgment took place. "We did a good job, but we just needed a little more fuel. We must have miscalculated. I thought we were a lap to the good." 

Instead, Edwards found himself circling the track slowly on the apron as car after car sped past. Kevin Harvick shot past for the lead -- and eventually the victory. Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rocketed by the Roush Fenway Racing driver as well. And on and on.

"I was saving just a little bit of fuel, but obviously not enough," Edwards said. "I don't know if I could have saved a lap and kept Kevin behind me in hindsight, but that's a tough way to lose one there. We haven't run out of fuel in a long time."

Now 13th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, Edwards led twice for 36 laps in the 312-lap event. A winner here as well as Richmond in the fall, he said while it seemed many drivers had trouble passing on the 1-mile circuit, "this was a fun race, I had a really good time.

"It's just going to take me a little while to get over this one." 

Edwards almost found himself in the middle of a Chase altering incident, making contact with points leader Jimmie Johnson just before a caution at Lap 164. 

"I definitely did not mean to hit him," Edwards said of the contact. "He did a heck of a job saving it and I'm just glad (he did). I did not want to be part of the championship in that manner."

It's been a forgettable Chase for Edwards, who two years ago headed to Homestead in the midst of a heated battle with Tony Stewart for the title. This time around, he's finished outside the top 15 four times. A sour engine only a week earlier left him 37th at Texas. It's a difficult pill to swallow for the driver who led the points before the Chase got underway. 

"We … just didn't calculate the fuel correctly and I'm as big a part of that as anyone," he said. "We're all in this together, so we'll just go to Homestead and win it."

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