Fuel error costs Edwards a Phoenix sweep for 2013 (VIDEO)

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Carl Edwards lost out on becoming the sixth different driver to win consecutive races at Phoenix International Raceway when his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford ran dry with two laps to go while leading today’s Advocare 500.

Edwards, who won this past March at PIR, wound up finishing 21st while Kevin Harvick went on to the victory after passing him off Turn 4 as the white flag waved. Afterwards, Edwards said that the near-miss came down to a fuel miscalculation.

“I thought we were a lap to the good,” he said. “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.

“I had no clue we were gonna run out of fuel. That was a surprise to me. [Crew chief] Jimmy [Fennig] talked to me about saving a little bit to have some extra, and I did that a couple of laps, but Kevin closed in and was obviously not saving fuel.”

The error sent Edwards all the way to 13th in the championship, last among the Chase contenders. It was a tough ending to an afternoon that saw him almost play a role in changing the title battle between leader Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth.

On Lap 163, Edwards was stuck in the middle between Harvick on the inside and Johnson on the outside as they went into Turn 1. During the three-wide battle, Edwards slid up into Johnson and made contact, forcing Johnson to chase his car and keep it out of the fence.

The incident caused Johnson to drop to 26th, but he would charge back to third by the checkered flag. Combined with Kenseth’s chaotic afternoon, Johnson now holds a 28-point lead in the championship with one race to go – next Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

After the race, Edwards sought out Johnson to apologize for the run-in and the two competitors shook hands.

“Yeah, I definitely did not mean to hit him,” Edwards said. “[Johnson] did a heck of a job saving it and I’m just glad he saved it. I did not want to be part of the championship in that manner.”

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.