This was not the way Carl Edwards wanted to start closing out his Chase.
After starting on pole for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Edwards was quickly swallowed up by eventual winner Jimmie Johnson. But the Roush Fenway Racing driver was still putting in a decent afternoon until Lap 187, when the engine let go on his No. 99 Ford.
The 37th-place finish had to be tough for him to swallow after he showed confidence in his chances this weekend. Upon claiming the pole on Friday, he mentioned that he couldn’t have chosen a better trio of tracks to end 2013 on than Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, which host the final three post-season events.
But Edwards now finds himself out of the Top 10 in the Sprint Cup championship after the blown motor on Sunday (something he wryly noted that his sponsor, insurance company Aflac, couldn’t cover).
Being in the Top 10 is particularly important to Edwards, as only the Top 10 will be honored on stage during the Dec. 6 Sprint Cup awards ceremony in Las Vegas; he’s now 11th in the standings, 20 points behind 10th-place Kurt Busch, with two races left.
“I think a valve spring broke and now they can’t get the spark plug out or anything, so it beat up that cylinder pretty bad,” he said on Sunday. “We don’t usually have a lot of engine trouble. Doug Yates and the guys at Roush Yates Engines build great engines.
“We had such a great weekend going. The car – during the middle part of the race, we were struggling but we were starting to get it worked out…We will just go on to Phoenix and hopefully get another win there and go to Homestead. We gotta get in the Top-10 so we can go to Vegas one way or another.”