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Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch take critical hits to Chase hopes

Sep 29, 2013, 11:59 PM EST

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth AP

Carl Edwards‘ chances of winning this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup may be done for after he suffered a broken wheel hub on his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford late during Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Edwards was relegated to a 35th place finish as a result, but even more damaging was a drop from fourth in the standings to 11th, 65 points behind Chase leader Matt Kenseth. With seven races remaining in the post-season, he would appear to be pretty much out of the title picture.

“We struggled all day,” said Edwards. “Our plan was to get off-sequence at the end and I thought we might have a shot at making a top-three or four out of it, but something broke in the left-rear.

“I don’t know what it was, but I don’t think it was any fault of my guys. They did a great job. [Crew chief] Jimmy [Fennig] did a great job working hard on it all day, but we just weren’t fast. We needed to hang on for a solid finish and something broke, so that’s tough.”

Also joining him in the hard-luck club at Dover was Kurt Busch, who had a sub-par result for the second weekend in a row after finishing 21st on Sunday.

Busch’s pit crew received an overhaul going into Sunday’s race as four crewmen from Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series camp joined the Furniture Row Racing team. But on Lap 156, “The Outlaw” radioed his team to say that he felt a wheel coming loose on his No. 78 Chevrolet.

“A loose wheel did us in,” Busch said. “We were way off at the start, but after the first pit stop, we made some good changes to the car and started to make a move. But once again we had an issue with a loose wheel and that put us a couple of laps down. And with the lack of cautions we couldn’t make it up.”

Busch is in almost as big a hole as Edwards now as the Chase moves to Kansas; Busch sits 55 points off of Kenseth in ninth place in the standings.

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