Tony Stewart has run his mouth for almost a month trying to rattle Carl Edwards in the race to NASCAR’s championship.
Edwards has tuned it all out, and on Saturday he did his talking on the track.
Edwards won the pole for today’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series championship will be decided. Edwards goes into the race with a three-point lead over Stewart, who qualified 15th. One of the two will bring an official end to Jimmie Johnson’s record five-year run, and the pole-winning run seemed to indicate Edwards is on pace.
Is it all lining up for Edwards to win his first title?
“I don’t know that I believe in fate, but I do believe that things happen for a reason,” Edwards said. “I do believe that whatever you encounter you have to treat as if that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. But, yeah, this is going really well so far and, hopefully, this helps us all race. We didn’t need to qualify poorly, get a poor pit stall, have some little thorn in our side the whole race, so this will hopefully help us for the whole event.”
Edwards has a great history at Homestead and that’s helped him stay relaxed. He’s a two-time winner at Homestead, is the defending race winner, and has 5.7 average finish in seven races.
But Stewart, a two-time champion, cautioned there’s still 400 miles to be run.
“Don’t start etching his name on the trophy yet,” said Stewart, who is bidding to become the first owner/driver to win the title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992. “I’m excited about it. I’m not known to be much of a qualifier, so 15th, I’m pretty content.”
Edwards turned a lap at 175.467 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford, besting Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne, last week’s winner at Phoenix.
Kurt Busch qualified fourth and was followed by Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, Edwards teammate Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon. Greg Biffle, another Edwards teammate, qualified eighth while Johnson and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10.
Stewart’s lap for the 15th starting spot was 173.332 mph in a Chevrolet.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins Nationwide title
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove dozens of laps as a champion – and didn’t even know it.
Stenhouse won the Nationwide Series title long before the checkered flag dropped Saturday at the season finale.
Stenhouse clinched his first championship about 30 laps into the 200-lap race, securing the title when six cars officially dropped out of the 300-mile event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Stenhouse was running fourth when NASCAR officials announced he had wrapped up the title. He finished second behind Brad Keselowski. Carl Edwards was third, followed by Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and Elliott Sadler.
Edwards clinched the owner’s title for Jack Roush, who is looking to become the first owner in NASCAR history to win both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide championships in the same season.
Edwards and Stenhouse parked their cars nose to nose and did a double burnout in celebration.
Stenhouse ran near the front much of the race. And he had the lead late until spinning his tires on a restart and getting stuck in some traffic. He nearly ran down Keselowski on the final lap, but came up a few car lengths short.
Sadler, who started the race 41 points behind Stenhouse, finished second in the season standings.