Tony Stewart wins Sprint Cup title
Tony Stewart’s win over Carl Edwards at the Ford 400 on Sunday was as dramatic as races could come, as he beat Edwards behind a caution flag and an apparently unstoppable Chevrolet on restarts.
This was Stewart’s fifth win in the Sprint Cup series of 10 races. He had started the 10-race chase with little momentum and zero wins.
Rain soaked the racetrack by 8:20pm ET on Sunday, but it was found too late to be of any use to Edwards. By that time, ESPN microphones and cameras were already pointed at the winner, Stewart.
Stewart was recorded exclaiming how tough the summer and the fall had been, with the rain held off just long enough for them to get the job done.
Stewart had finished at an exact tie with Edwards, at 2,403 points, but the title was awarded to Stewart based on the tiebreaker criterion of which racer had the most victories.
Stewart had had five wins in the postseason of NASCAR, whereas Edwards only had one victory this year, during the season’s third race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
As Stewart crossed the finish line, he asked Darian Grubb, his crew chief, whether they got the tiebreaker.
Grubb commended him for an awesome job, confirming they won the tiebreaker.
This third championship of Stewart’s came as he overcame an issue to his grille along with three delays due to rain, with one stoppage lasting close to 75 minutes.
After the early damage, Stewart slipped to 40th, but he quickly made his way to the front of the pack with dominated restarts. Following the last delay caused by rain, Stewart powerfully soared to the front, having restarted fourth with approximately 40 laps left for the race.
Edwards, meanwhile, restarted sixth and made it to second place, trailing behind Stewart by only a second.
Grubb had Stewart pit from the lead for fuel at about 55 laps before the end. By that time, Stewart was tailing Edwards at 20 seconds, and managed to push closer to the front when almost everyone else, including Edwards, needed to come to the pits for fuel.
For some reason, Edwards could not make up ground for the final laps. There also was not another caution to group them up.
Edwards was quoted as saying, “They beat us fair and square,” explaining that that was as hard as he could drive.
He also admitted telling his wife that if he could not win this race, he was going to be the best loser that NASCAR had ever seen. As such, it was no surprise that he was a very decent sportsman following his defeat, describing the night as being about Tony Stewart.
This was the first time since Alan Kulwicki in 1992 that an owner-driver won the championship, and also the first time the title was won by a new driver since the 2006 title win by Jimmie Johnson. 2006 had also been the year following Stewart’s second championship.