After earning the poll and leading for the first 87 laps, Carl Edwards left Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway with engine problems and finished 42nd. Edwards, a Columbia native, dropped four spots to ninth in the standings and was mathematically eliminated from title contention.
Jimmie Johnson won the race, his 10th victory of the season. Johnson, the defending Nextel Cup champion, heads to next week's season finale in Homestead, Fla., with a comfortable 86-point lead over Jeff Gordon. He needs to finish just 18th or better to win his second championship in just six seasons.