NASCAR's title Chase gets tighter as Carl Edwards wins at Phoenix
Denny Hamlin saw a win -- and possibly a lock on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship -- slip away Sunday when he was forced to make a late fuel stop and Carl Edwards won the race at Phoenix International Raceway.
The result is that NASCAR's Chase for the Cup title playoff tightened even further, with Hamlin now leading Johnson by only 15 points and third-place Kevin Harvick by 46 points heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida next weekend.
"It's pretty disappointing," a somber Hamlin said after the race. "I was sitting pretty."
Hamlin, who started Sunday's race with a 33-point lead over Johnson, dominated most of the Kobalt Tools 500, leading 190 of its 312 laps. But with 14 laps left, Hamlin was forced to pit his No. 11 Toyota for fuel, while Johnson and Harvick conserved enough fuel to stay on the track and finish.
So did Edwards, who went on to end a 70-race winless streak in the Cup series. Edwards, who drives for Roush Fenway Racing, also won Saturday's race at the one-mile PIR oval in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series.
--Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.
Photo: NASCAR driver Carl Edwards pits his No. 99 Ford on his way to winning the Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images