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Edwards philosophical in defeat

Carl Edwards had to admit that he'd come up against a force of nature on Sunday night at Homestead-Miami, as he struggled to cope with the disappointment of losing on a tie-breaker.
It genuinely couldn't have been any closer: after 36 races over a nine month season, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart ended up exactly level on points, and the championship came down to a tie-breaker. But then that tie-breaker was the number of wins during the season, and Stewart's extraordinary run of five victories out of ten Chase races settled it in the #14's favour.

That left NASCAR's Mr Nice Guy Carl Edwards on the outside of victory lane looking in, and struggling to cope with the disappointment and surge of feelings at how things had turned out.

"I just have to say congratulations to Tony. Those guys earned it. They won half the races in the Chase and he is the champion," he said with typical grace. "I just hope everybody is proud of the way we performed and our effort. I appreciate everyone's support. I wish so bad we had that trophy, it just wasn't meant to be tonight."

Edwards had tried cutting the gap to Stewart in the final moments of the race only to hit traffic, after which he had seemed to back off. Had he given up at that point? "No, I don't ever quit. I was waiting for his car to run out of fuel coming to the finish line," he insisted. "Never, ever give up, period.

"I was fully prepared for Tony to run out of fuel or have a tyre problem or for anything to happen. For a caution to come out and have a restart and that is all I can do. That is my job, to be as prepared as I can be. I didn't really let myself think about the consequence of what was going on, I just had to drive the hardest I could.

"The only good thing about tonight is that we didn't make any mistakes, we didn't mess up and we didn't beat ourselves. We made Tony and those guys come out and beat us and they did," he said. "We aren't going to walk away here feeling like we didn't give our best performance ... This moment is pretty tough but not nearly as tough as it could have been if we had a mistake or a problem. We just got out-raced tonight. They did their jobs and came back from adversity and did a good job."

Edwards insisted that he wasn't going to let this nearest of misses affect his 2012 season, and that he would take strength from what the #99 team had achieved rather than dwell on what they had missed out on.

"I told myself and my family that the one thing I am going to do is walk back to that motor home win, lose or draw and be a good example for my kids and work hard and go be better next season," he said. "I talked to you guys one time and I said Kipling's poem, I can't remember the title of it, but when he says 'you have to meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same,' and that's the truth.

"There's nothing saying that this loss here tonight 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 gonna miss out on that," he insisted.

"I learned a ton, a lot about myself and competition at this level and I will be ready to battle it out just like this every year if I get the opportunity," he said, adding that he'd already told Stewart that it would be fun if 2012 could boil down to a rematch between them - although obviously, Edwards has a different outcome in mind if that situation should come to pass.

"As painful as this is right now I know we are fortunate to go to Daytona and start all over again and go race," he summed up - before walking away from the celebrations that were so nearly his, and leaving the Stewart-Haas team to party late into the Florida night.



Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards prepares to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. [Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Chase leader Carl Edwards and second place Tony Stewart eye each other in the Phoenix International Raceway media center on Sunday following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 in Avondale, Ariz. [Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards pose for photos with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2011 championship trophy during the NASCAR Champions Contenders Press Conference at Lummus Park on Nov. 17 in Miami Beach, Fla. [Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Coors Light Pole winner Carl Edwards leads the field to the green flag in the Ford 400 season finale for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 20. [Photo Credit: By Todd Warshaw, Getty Images for NASCAR]
#99 crew chief Bob Osborne and driver Carl Edwards talk before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. [Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner Gene Haas (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner Gene Haas (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, lead the field past the green flag after the initial caution ended during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, lead the field past the green flag after the initial caution ended during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com / Get Found Chevrolet, talks with Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2014 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS finished 4th and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS finished 36th Sunday, March 16, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Stewart is 23rd, Truex Jr. is 29th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kellogg`s/Frosted Flakes Ford, takes the chequered flag as he crosses the finish line under caution to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kellogg`s / Frosted Flakes Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after taking the checkered flag under caution in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kellogg`s/Frosted Flakes Ford, celebrates with a backflip after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kellogg`s / Frosted Flakes Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)

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