Saturday, December 16, 2017
Sports

Late crash knocks Carl Edwards from Sprint Cup title contention

HOMESTEAD — Carl Edwards' latest championship loss might be even more painful than his first. Leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale, the Ford EcoBoost 400, with 10 laps to go and closing in on his first title, Edwards wrecked while blocking fellow contender Joey Logano on a restart Sunday night.

Logano turned Edwards sideways and sent him sliding across traffic at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kasey Kahne slammed into Edwards' rear bumper, lifting the No. 19 Toyota off the ground. Edwards spun and hit the outside wall. He climbed out, stood on the banking — not too far from his wrecked race car — and watched a replay on a big screen.

Edwards shook his head and muttered as he realized he essentially caused the melee.

"I don't blame him," Logano said. "He had to throw the block. It's the only move I had. I'm not going to look back at it and second-guess that move."

Jimmie Johnson won the race, tying the record of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty by claiming his seventh championship in NASCAR's top series. Logano finished fourth, two spots ahead of Kyle Busch. Edwards was 34th. Johnson, Logano, Busch and Edwards were the only title contenders in the finale.

"We had a few moments there throughout the day that we thought we were kind of on the outside looking in and didn't really see a very good shot of winning it," said Busch, who battled back from a lap down to have a shot down the stretch. "And then all of a sudden it seemed like we had a really good shot to win the thing. We were up front and kind of driving away from those guys behind us, and then we were out of it again."

Edwards brushed off a request to take an ambulance ride to the infield care center, instead making the trip on foot. He stopped by Logano's pit stall, climbed up on the box, chatted with crew chief Todd Gordon and shook hands with everyone up there.

"Yeah, no apology," Edwards said. "I just wanted to say, 'Hey, that's just racing and good luck to you guys.' "

LAST RACE FOR STEWART: The final race of Tony Stewart's storied Cup career wasn't very memorable, but he got a nice souvenir.

Stewart finished 22nd after hanging at the back of the field for much of the race, but he was in Victory Lane celebrating with Johnson, who gave Stewart his customized helmet with the likenesses of Earnhardt and Petty painted on the back.

Stewart was feted as his 18-year career ended. He said the car in which he drove his last Cup race will join his large collection in his hometown, Columbus, Ind. "It came through without a scratch on it," he said. "I'm proud of it, proud of these guys. This wasn't exactly the way we wanted to go, but the race was fun."

Stewart ends his career with 618 starts, 49 victories and three Cup championships, the final of which was won at Homestead in 2011.

When Stewart headed down pit row on his way onto the track, pit crew members from each team came out to greet him. "That," he said, "was the highlight of the day."

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Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

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Rangers hold off Pacific-leading Kings

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