Carl Edwards practices for the Crown Royal Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard. (Nick Laham / Getty Images )
INDIANAPOLIS — Carl Edwards went into the Brickyard 400 with a new crew chief and needing a top-five finish to bolster his hopes of getting into this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title playoff.
But only 12 laps into the 160-lap race, Edwards' No. 99 Ford developed an engine problem. He finished 29th, four laps behind the leaders, and Edwards' chances of making the Chase for the Cup took a big hit.
The top 10 drivers in points after 26 races qualify for the 10-race Chase, along with the two drivers who have the most wins among those 11th to 20th in points. Edwards, who hasn't won this year, slipped to 12th on Sunday.
With six races left until the Chase starts, "I don't think we are points racing anymore," said Edwards, who drives for Roush Fenway Racing. "I think we are officially racing only for wins. I wouldn't bet against us. We can do it."
Gordon keeps trying
Four-time champion Jeff Gordon has struggled all season, mostly with mechanical woes that have left him in serious danger of missing the Chase.
But he managed a fifth-place finish Sunday after racing in the top 10 much of the day, and he's now 15th in the Cup points standings.
"We could pass everybody but Jimmie [Johnson]," Gordon said, referring to the race winner and Gordon's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports. "We just never could get in front of him."
Kyle Busch's rebound
Although he has one win this year, at Richmond, Kyle Busch has struggled in the last few weeks.
Entering the Brickyard 400, he had finished in the top 10 only once in the last seven races, 10th place at Kentucky.
But Busch finished second Sunday in his No. 18 Toyota, and "it feels like a win for us for as bad as the last two months have gone," he said. "It's really been hard on us and hard on our team."
Busch is 11th in the Cup points standings.