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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]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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