Carl Edwards says he has not given up on securing a place in this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase despite a costly engine failure at Atlanta on Sunday.
The Roush Fenway driver was runner-up in the 2011 title race, only losing out to Tony Stewart on a tie-break. But Edwards has yet to win a race this year, and dropped to 14th in the drivers' standings when he retired at Atlanta.
Edwards was hoping a good result at Atlanta, where he has three previous wins, would have allowed him to arrive at Richmond this weekend with a strong chance of making the Chase. Now his only chance is to win on Saturday and count on a poor result for Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch, who currently holds the final Chase wild card position.
In 16 starts at Richmond, Edwards' best results are three top-five finishes, including a second place a year ago.
"That's so fitting for how our year has been going," Edwards said about the failure. "The car was running pretty well. I was having a lot of fun. We were tuning it in and it was getting better and better as the night went on.
"The pit crew was almost flawless. They did a really good job, but I heard the engine making a little bit of noise... and was kind of in denial. I thought, 'No, it's OK. It's all right,' and then finally it looks like a piston broke or something like that. I don't know what to say.
"Somebody is trying to teach me something here. I hope we get all of this out of our system soon because it sure is fun to go win these races and be in the hunt. This is not fun."
Edwards said the mood in his team remained confident heading to Richmond despite the setbacks.
"It's so amazing how many things can compound and go bad, but we're still standing up and everybody is all right," he said. "We'll go racing at Richmond for the win. There's no better place. This is as good as it gets and Richmond is almost as good as [Atlanta] for us."
Should Edwards miss the Chase, it will be the first time in the 32-year-old's full-time Cup career that he has not been in the title playoff series.