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November 11, 2013 4:34 PM

Last Lap Leaves Edwards Just Shy of Victory

Avondale,Ariz (November 11, 2013) – Carl Edwards came into the weekend with hopes to become the fourth driver to sweep both NASCAR Sprint Cup series races at Phoenix International Raceway. The No. 99 Fastenal Fusion proved to be the fastest on the track, and despite leading the last 36 laps, eventually fell just short on fuel mileage and ran out of gas going into the checkered flag. Edwards was forced to settle for a 21st place finish.

“We played the strategy very well.  We did a really good job, but we just needed a little more fuel,” said Edwards. “We just miscalculated.  I thought we were a lap to the good.  I was saving just a little bit of fuel, but obviously not enough.  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.”

Edwards started the No. 99 Fastenal Ford in 23rd place but was able to push up to 16th before the first pit stop on lap 51 under yellow. The Blue Team worked quickly to give him right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment before sending him back out in 13th place. Edwards then expressed the car was just feeling a little tight center.

On lap 100, the Blue Team once again showcased their award-winning skills after sending Edwards back out six spots ahead to third place, after coming in for another two-tire change and air pressure adjustment.

From here on out pit strategy was the name of the game and Edwards settled in for the cycle. His No. 99 Fastenal Ford came back to 18th after coming in for fresh left-side tires and pushed the Ford steadily up the ranks over the next 50 laps. After the leaders finally came in to pit, Edwards was sitting in first place with only 36 laps to go.

Once out in front, Edwards was hard to catch with only Harvick, Kahne and Johnson in the distance to catch him. Fate turned a shocking corner when the Ford began running out of gas as Edwards turned into the last half of the last lap, letting Harvick take over the front for the victory and eventually landing in 21st for a final finish.

“I saved just a little bit, but Kevin was catching me just a little bit too much and I thought I better just keep going.  In hindsight, I definitely should have tried to save more, but we thought we were a lap to the good.  I’ve just got to thank all the fans for coming out here.  It’s really cool to see a sold-out crowd, especially with so much that’s going on in NASCAR right now.  It’s really neat that the fans are enjoying this championship battle. It was a fun race.  I had a really good time.  It’s gonna take me a little while to get over this one.  We did everything right, we just didn’t calculate the fuel correctly and I’m as big a part of that as anyone.  We’re all in this together, so we’ll just go to Homestead and win it.”

Edwards sits in 13th in the series points standing going in to the final race of the season at Homestead. Coverage of the Ford 400 begins at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN.

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