FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov.
7, 2011) - Tony
Stewart won Round 8 over Carl
Edwards with his victory in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas
Motor Speedway, but Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup history may give an edge to
Edwards with two rounds remaining in this heavyweight title bout.
Despite the victory by Stewart, Edwards departed
Texas with a three-point advantage over Stewart by virtue of his runner-up
finish. The three points may loom larger when looking at history since the
driver that left Texas with the championship lead went on to capture the NASCAR
Sprint Cup Series crown five out of the last six years.
Ironically, the trend started in
2005 when Stewart earned his second series championship and then the next four
years with Jimmie
Johnson. Stewart, however, can take solace in the fact that the
five-year streak was interrupted last year when Johnson overcame Denny Hamlin and a
33-point deficit to secure his fifth consecutive championship.
Stewart heads to the final two
races of the season - Phoenix and Homestead - with momentum as he has won four
Chase races, including the last two, while Edwards is seeking his first win
since Las Vegas in March.
"I don't think we have to
say anything; I think our performance today (Sunday) spoke for itself,"
said Stewart, who came into the AAA Texas 500 trailing Edwards by eight.
"He (Edwards) knows already, trust me. Carl kept us honest today, but we
did everything we could do. We got all the bonus points we could get and got
the win. We gained more than we needed to gain on the average for the week, so
we're doing good.
"I still stand firm that
we're not counting on them to make mistakes. We're controlling our
destiny. Today is a perfect example of that. We're worried about what
we're doing. We're not worried about what they're doing. We just ran
our race. That's what we intend to do the next two weeks. It's theirs to
Despite being winless in the
Chase, Edwards' consistent runs through the first eight Chase races has led to
the top spot. The runner-up effort in the AAA Texas 500 was his best Chase
finish to date, but he has finished among the top nine in seven of the eight
races. His other finish was 11th at Talladega.
"He (Stewart) did a great job today,"
Edwards said "Those guys stepped it up and I'm proud of my guys for hanging
on and for still having the points lead. At the end of the day, we're
going to the final two races. Although we would have loved to have won today in
our Aflac Fusion, to be three points ahead and then to have the third and
fourth-place guys farther behind, it looks like it's truly gonna come down to
Tony and I and that's gonna be a lot of fun. We're leading these points. We get
to pull out all the stops for these last two races and there couldn't be a
better place to finish it than Homestead. I think folks ought to stay tuned.
It's gonna get pretty exciting and I'm just glad Tony and I are out there and
we can race for this thing."