When the green flag waves Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Carl Edwards will be in control of his championship destiny. He has a three-point lead on Tony Stewart entering the race, and he has a better career record at Homestead, including wins in two of his last three starts at the track. Edwards has been better than “Smoke” all weekend long, beating him on the charts in both practice sessions and topping it off by winning the pole. He has been the more consistent driver throughout the year, and it his title to lose this weekend.
Of course, facing an uphill battle is nothing new for Stewart this season. He struggled during the regular season, limped into the Chase, and even admitted that he was simply taking up a spot in the playoffs. He needed four victories just to put himself in contention for the title, and unless he manages a record-setting fifth victory during the Chase, Stewart probably won’t win the championship. That being said, the pressure is squarely on the No. 99 team, and Stewart can continue to race with nothing to lose as he has throughout the playoffs.
In the end, the 2011 season has felt like Edwards’ year for quite some time. He led in points during the regular season for a majority of the weeks, and while other drivers ran hot and cold, Edwards rarely faltered. He was the hot pick to dethrone Jimmie Johnson before the year began, and even though he isn’t racing Johnson for the title Sunday, Edwards is still preparing to become the next face of NASCAR. Stewart deserves a ton of credit for putting himself in position to win his third title, but just as he stole the spotlight from veteran Jeff Gordon with a pair of titles in a four year span early in his career, Edwards will likely return the favor Sunday.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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