DOVER, Del.—The wrong guy broke—at least from Carl Edwards' perspective.
Edwards came to Dover fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, hoping to gain ground on the three drivers ahead of him: Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
Instead, it was Edwards who left the Monster Mile with his title hopes in tatters, after a broken hub relegated him to a 35th-place finish. Edwards dropped seven spots to 11th in the Chase standings, 65 points behind Kenseth.
"I used to really like Dover--I really looked forward to this place," Edwards said after the race. "This was tough. We needed the other guys to have problems. We didn't need to have problems. Something broke on the left rear. I don't think it was a mistake by any of my guys."
Even before the mechanical problem, Edwards' car wasn't handling the way he would have liked. By Lap 362 of 400, he was already a lap down but hoped to gain ground with contrarian pit strategy.
"We struggled with the car really badly, but I think we had a decent strategy for the end. We were going to try to get off-sequence with everybody," Edwards said. "The things that we had trouble with were things that we weren't going to be able to change throughout the day."
With seven races left before the championship is decided, Edwards has time to make up ground, but his task became exponentially more difficult on Sunday.
"We've got a lot of racing left, and the way we've gotten into the position we've been in the whole year is just by persevering," he said. "We'll go to Kansas (for next Sunday's race), try to win that one and keep moving.
"Now we're in a position like a lot of the guys. We've got to step it up and try to make something happen. That's not impossible, so we'll keep at it."
By Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service