<
>

Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth philosophical about 2016 season

A chance at a championship ended suddenly for Joey Logano and Carl Edwards at Homestead, but there were no hard feelings. Chris Trotman/Getty Images

For the three drivers whose championship hopes ended with hard crashes, they will have to, at some point, turn the page on 2016.

It won't be easy, especially for the two drivers whose last taste of racing ended in bitter disappointment with a damaged car.

Matt Kenseth had already appeared to put his Phoenix International Raceway wreck with Alex Bowman behind him. He had the "advantage" of racing another week, in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to erase the memory of getting knocked out of the Chase a week earlier.

For Joey Logano and Carl Edwards, they will have to wait three months to race again after their hard crash going for the lead with 10 laps left at Homestead in the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Nov. 20, resulting in neither winning the title.

"I honestly don't want to look back on it," Edwards admitted on Dec. 1, a day prior to the Sprint Cup awards banquet. "It's still a little too soon. ... It's one of those things that you just don't really want to talk about. It was truly heartbreaking. That's the way it is. That's the truth."

While complimented by the media about the way he handled it on the track, Edwards said his family tried to avoid the topic at Thanksgiving.

"At Thanksgiving, there was a real absence of talk about it and it gave me the weird feeling like before I got there, people [possibly] were like, 'Hey don't mention it,' " Edwards said. "I was like, 'Guys, it's not that bad.' That was a little awkward. Nobody at Thanksgiving said a word."

Both Edwards and Logano attributed their wreck to hard racing, with Logano needing to dart to the inside to get the lead on the restart and Edwards knowing that Logano had a better short-run car and that could have been the championship.

Logano actually rallied to finish second among the Chase finalists to champion Jimmie Johnson. He said he was proud of his season but it wasn't the success of winning the championship.

"It's always going to sting until you win," Logano said. "Losing sucks. I don't know what else to tell you. It's always going to be that way. It better be that way.

"Second-place trophies are garbage, in my opinion. ... I was over it until I get here [to the banquet]. You come to events like this and you watch everyone up there -- you want to be up there getting the trophies."

The wrecks appeared somewhat similar in that they could be viewed as unsuccessful blocks by the leader. But Kenseth stressed he wasn't trying to block -- that his lane was initially clear before Kyle Busch ran into the back of Bowman, thrusting him in the lane that Kenseth's spotter had said was clear.

"It was a tough loss," Kenseth said. "It was probably tougher than losing the Daytona 500 in the second-to-the-last corner. But once it's over, it's over. I tried to look back and see what I could have done different, and honestly thought I did everything I could do."

Kenseth continued to be philosophical, saying he controlled what he could control and moved on.

"I was clear when I pulled to the bottom and he drove into the corner about four car lengths farther than I did," Kenseth said. "Between the 88 [of Bowman] blocking the 18 [of Kyle Busch] all the way down to the inside wall and the 18 jacking him up because he needed that spot for the championship, it just shoved him right through me.

"I could have entered in the third groove and I'm pretty sure I still would have got wiped out."

The others, especially Edwards, still seemed to have a hard time understanding how what could have been so right went woefully wrong.

"I never had that emotion before," Edwards said. "[My crew chief] Dave [Rogers] described it really well. He said it was the first time in his life he ever had that feeling like, 'Whoa, this isn't real.'

"That was the toughest part -- I felt like we had the race under control. ... All of a sudden we're in the fence and it all went badly. It was tough. It happened very quickly."

Edwards said he watched some replays and doesn't know what he could have done differently.

"No regrets," Edwards said. "That's just the way it went."

Logano echoed that sentiment.

"We did everything we could do," Logano said. "We put ourselves in position to make it happen and we came up a little bit short. You can look at the circumstances a lot of different ways, but there's no regrets."

While Edwards said he enjoyed the race -- "That was really a lot of fun -- up until the wreck," Edwards said -- he said he expects the experience will toughen him and make winning a championship even more special.

"It's a very personal thing," Edwards said. "I put my best effort in, my crew put their best effort in and we didn't get the result that we wanted to. ... It was hard for me, personally, to accept that outcome after that performance. But that's the way it is."