Tony Stewart NASCAR
November 21, 2011 by staff
Despite battling from the back of the field twice early in the race, Stewart moved into the lead with 36 of 267 laps remaining and held off Carl Edwards to win Sunday night’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the series title.
Stewart and Edwards both ended the Chase for the Cup with exactly 2,403 points, but Stewart won the tiebreaker by virtue of number of wins this season (Stewart has five, Edwards one).
A Cup title has never before been decided by a tiebreaker.
“It’s been a tough, tough summer and a tough fall for us and you got to believe in something and the man upstairs held the rain off long enough for us to get the job done,” Stewart said from Victory Lane.
“We said all week we just go out and win the race (and) we didn’t have to worry about what (Edwards) did, and that’s what we did. If this doesn’t go down as one of the greatest championship battles in history, I don’t know what will.”
Stewart entered the Chase without any wins in the first 26 races.
But he and his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team opened the 10-race playoff with two consecutive wins. He struggled at Dover, Del., and Kansas, but he closed the Chase with finishes of eighth, seventh, first, first, third and first.
Stewart becomes the first owner/driver to win a Cup series title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992 and the first series champion since the Chase format was adapted in 2004 to win the series finale.
“This night is about Tony Stewart,” said Edwards. “They beat us fair and square. That’s all I had at the end.
“I told my wife, if I can’t win this thing I’ll be the best loser NASCAR has ever had. So I’m going to try very hard to keep my head up and know that we’ll go next year and be just as hard to beat next year.”
Edwards, who started from the pole, took early control of the race, leading 60 of the first 78 laps.
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