The hits just keep on coming for Carl Edwards and his No. 99 team, which now sits on the brink of championship elimination after engine problems ruined his race on Sunday night at Atlanta.
Edwards, who had a chance to take advantage of his competitors' off-nights and move closer to the top 10 in points, instead tumbled to 14th and now needs what he said would be a "miracle" to make the Chase at Richmond next week.
"I just can't believe this," he said, standing in the garage after his crew pushed the lifeless car off pit road. "We've never had this bad of luck. I've been trying to live right and do the right things, so I hope there's a reason for all of this, but, man, it's just so frustrating."
Edwards said the engine started making an unusual noise roughly 30 laps before it expired, but he was in denial at first. He figured it would be OK, but a piston suddenly broke and his night came to an abrupt end.
"Somebody is trying to teach me something here," he said. "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."
Roush Fenway Racing, which uses Roush Yates Engines, hardly ever has significant motor trouble. The last time Edwards suffered a blown engine was in October 2009 at Charlotte.
"I don't ever quit and this team doesn't ever quit, but, man, that's getting kicked when you're down right there," he said.
Edwards needs the following things to happen in order for him to make the Chase:
• He must win at Richmond;
• He must finish 15 spots better than Jeff Gordon;
• He must finish 27 spots better than Kyle Busch.
Obviously, that's a lot to ask. Richmond is one of Busch's best tracks, so the Joe Gibbs Racing driver would have to get caught up in some sort of crash or have engine trouble like the No. 99 car in order for Edwards to catch up. At the same time, Edwards must win at a place where he's never gone to Victory Lane (though he did finish second in last year's fall Richmond race).
"It's so amazing how many things can compound and go bad, but we're still standing up and everybody is alright," he said. "We'll go racing at Richmond for the win. There's no better place. (Atlanta) is as good as it gets and Richmond is almost as good as this place for us."