Heartbreaking ending at PIR for Edwards.
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Carl Edwards march to victory ended early, and short of the checkered flag, for want of a half-gallon of gas.
Edwards ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of Sunday's AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, and Kevin Harvick sped past the No. 99 Ford to register his fourth win of the season.
"We played the strategy very well," said Edwards, who pitted for the final time on Lap 248 of 312 and tried to stretch his fuel supply to the end. "We did a really good job, but we just needed a little more fuel. We just miscalculated.
"I thought we were a lap to the good. 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."
Edwards was credited with a 21st-place finish, the last driver on the lead lap.
Halfway through the race, he survived a close call that could have altered the course of the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship battle. Edwards' Ford was the middle car in a three-wide sandwich as he, Harvick and series leader Jimmie Johnson entered Turn 1 on Lap 163.
Harvick was on the inside, and Edwards slid into Johnson's Chevrolet, which was closest to the wall. Johnson made a masterful save, fell back to 25th in the running order but rallied to finish third and extend his lead over second-place Matt Kenseth to 28 points going into next Sunday's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
For Edwards, it was an uncomfortable moment.
"Yeah, I definitely did not mean to hit him," Edwards said. "He 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."
By Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service