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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]
Tony Stewart presents Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, with the trophy after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies fifth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, puts a winner sticker on his car as he celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates with a backflip after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, celebrates after qualifying for the pole position at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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)

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