NASCAR & Auto Racing

A wreck, an eruption and an ignition failure

There was nothing for Carl Edwards to feel good about Saturday night after a 33rd-place finish in the Bank of America 500 except that the evening - and the week - was over.

"There's only thing to do and that's learn from everything this week," Edwards said, standing beside his car after finishing 17 laps behind.

"I guarantee you if I had the week to do over again, the last seven days would be a lot different."

His week began with a controversial wreck at Talladega, erupted into a physical confrontation with Kevin Harvick on Thursday and ended with Edwards falling from second to fourth in the points race at its midpoint.

"Today's race didn't help at all," Edwards said.

Edwards' night went sour in a hurry.

After running near the front early, Edwards developed ignition problems that forced him to pit. With his chance of staying near the front of the championship chase shrinking with every lap, Edwards found himself 16 laps behind by the time his car's problem had been identified and repaired.

Edwards started the night 72 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. He fell into a 168-point hole, tacking a second straight poor finish onto his 29th-place finish a week ago at Talladega.

It was a sudden and devastating turn of events for Edwards, who had a pair of thirds and a second-place finish to start the chase.

"It's very frustrating," Edwards said. "Nobody got hurt, at least."

Identifying the problem added to Edwards' frustration. Finding the problem made it difficult to correct.

"It's pretty amazing to have two pretty much independent ignition systems and for some reason, they both basically quit. I can't believe it," Edwards said.

"I switched all the switches. I tried everything I could. I thought it might be something as simple as an ignition switch but it wasn't."

It was that kind of week for Edwards.

Prior to Saturday's race, Edwards and Harvick were summoned to a meeting with NASCAR officials regarding their on-going squabble that was ignited last Sunday at Talladega.

The drivers met with NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton in an effort to resolve a dispute that led to a verbal and physical confrontation.

"We wanted to make sure everything is fine between the drivers and the incident is behind them. We're convinced it is," NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said.

Edwards admitted causing a 12-car accident that took out several championship contenders last Sunday at Talladega.

Afterward, Harvick made sharp comments about Edwards.

When the two met in the Nationwide Series garage Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the discussion quickly became physical. After initial reports dismissed the incident as inconsequential, subsequent photos showed Edwards grabbing Harvick by the throat before the drivers were separated.

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