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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, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, races Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Regan Smith prepares to stand in for Tony Stewart at short notice at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas vice-president Greg Ziparelli addresses the media at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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)

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