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« Stewart’s four Chase wins refute France’s claim that wins mean more under new system | Main | Dirt racing ties evident among each of NASCAR’s three champions »

Tony Stewart simply wills his way to the Sprint Cup title

By admin | November 21, 2011

By Richard Allen

 

If ever there was an example of a driver willing his way to success, Sunday’s race specifically and the Chase for the Championship in general was it.

Tony Stewart entered the Sprint Cup finale trailing Carl Edwards by three points. In order to win his third series title Stewart would have to finish three positions ahead or win the race. And while Stewart was obviously determined to do just that, events seemed to conspire against him in the early going of the event.

When Kurt Busch’s transmission exploded in the early laps of the event, a piece from that failed part struck the front of Stewart’s car and punched a hole in the grille the Chevrolet. After an extended time on pit road to repair the damage, the #14 car was forced to restart from the rear of the pack while Edwards was in the process of leading laps.

After yet another trip to pit road for additional repairs under caution, Stewart again had to restart from the rear of the pack.

From that point, Stewart went on a charge the likes of which has rarely been seen in NASCAR history. He powered through the field all the way into the top-5 by the time the race was stopped because of rain just shy of the halfway point.

All the while, Edwards continued to run at the front of the field and look very much like he was about to not only win the race but claim his first ever Sprint Cup championship. The driver of car #99 started the race from the pole position and eventually went on to lead the most laps, which assured him of the bonus points awarded for dominating any NASCAR race.

Ultimately, however, the race and the season would end in a way that seemed as if Hollywood script writers had crafted it to bring about a finish that had fans and competitors alike on the edge of their seats.

Using a fuel conserving strategy, Stewart found himself leading as the laps wound down. A late race caution for yet another brief rain shower bunched the pack and placed the two top championship contenders within striking distance of each other for a final dash to the checkered flag and the Sprint Cup trophy.

With the points structure as it was set up, whichever driver won the race would win the title.

Stewart bolted to a quick lead after the green flag waved the final time. Edwards, however, would not go down without a fight. Lap after lap these two drivers clicked off fast lap after fast lap as they left the rest of the pack far behind in their mirrors.

As the finish approached, Edwards appeared to be cutting into the lead. But as he had throughout so much of the Chase for the Championship, Stewart rose to the occasion and held on for the win.

The two drivers actually wound up in a tie for championship points. Stewart held the tie-breaker by virtue of the fact that he had more wins over the course of the season. It was the first time in the modern era that a tie-breaker had been needed to settle the championship.

Even though his car and team had not performed like a true championship contender throughout the ‘regular season’, this driver and his crew elevated their game over the last ten races, winning five of those events. Quite simply, Tony Stewart won the 2011 Sprint Cup title because he wanted to more than anyone else.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Tony Stewart simply wills his way to the Sprint Cup title”

  1. Charles Says:
    November 21st, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    If you are a driver fan, then the race was exciting to watch! Congratulations Tony Stewart!

    But as a car fan, you get tired of this same old senerio, always a Chevy! seemly Hendrick in one shape or form!Nascar is really in Hendricks back pocket, using it as his playground when you look at the big picture!

    ! This team is bascially a statilite Hendrick organization! Let see this is 6 for Hendrick in a row!!!11 since mid ninties, counting Gordon, Johnson, T-Labonte!

    Notice no one in the press states anything like the advantage Stewart has in the ‘Chevy R07 Engine”!!!!Its the same one that has won most all the titles the last decade, seems they they keep talking about what a great driver and he makes the the difference…Let any other brand do this and all you see is rule changes!

    Tony Stewart didnt just win this last night, the other 4 he won with this amazing surge in power, is what did the trick!

    Hendrick is happy, Chevy is happy, but just because Nascar they they think they got the ending they wanted,I bet you will see even more empy seats next year, as Car Fans who have had enoughand through this Globetrotter verus Washington General game plan, keep dwindling away!

  2. tyler west Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I agree, it looked good to the average fool. It is still old Rick “the crook” Hendrick and Chevy getting their way. It really sucked!!! You could tell what was really going on. Oh, and by the way Stewart is still the biggest A@#hole in the sport. But everyone lets him get away with it because he is under the Hendrick umbrella. What his “team” did is NOTHING like what Alan Kulwicki accomplished in 1992. Stewart-Haas is nothing but a Hendrick Motorsports operation. Those stupid cookie cutter tracks and race teams with multiple satelite operations are what has really messed the sport up. Screw Stewart! He’s a PRICK!! Rick Hendrick is the worst thing that has ever happened to stock car racing.

  3. Josie Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Charlie’s oh so right! ALL Stewart had to do to win 5 of 10 Chase races and the title was to have a Hendrick Chevy, climb in the car, mash the gas, and PRESTO! He wins!!! That’s probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard! Oh well..I for one chose to live under the fantasy maybe there was alittle great driving, determination, and teamwork involved in Stewart’s Championship!

  4. Charles Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I would like to add one more thing I forgot!

    If Carl Edwards had won 5 races in the Chase, after about the 3rd race….you could have listen to Speed on Race Hub and hear Larry McReynolds, Steve Bynes, Steve Dilner and the whole crowd say= “I just got to believe ‘its the horsepower of the FR9 Ford engine” is the reason for Carls running this well!…..they would dismiss his driving tallents and team efforts! Right after Baynes win at Daytona the media was already claiming the cooling of the FR9 engine was the reason for the win!

    But when Tony Stewart, Jimmy Johnson dominate they matra is = old they have such a great team, Chad is such a good crew chief, Tony is so determined etc, great driver = Infact not one thing would be said on how powerful that RO7 Chevy engine is and that its has and advantage…it turns unto the driver and team that does the trick! And Nascar does nothing to even it up!

    Just a double standard in the media that needs to be corrected!!!

    GM and Chevy has great cars and teams no doubt!, but there are alot of former Nascar fans who are ‘car fans” they use to make up 65% of Nascars Fan Base in as late as the 90s, Nascar has tried hard to convince fans the car fan doesnt matter, well the compliant of the COT spec car showed the cars does matter!, IROC didnt work either…

    The is room for the car fan and driver fan…Nascar had better wake up and welcome them back!!!!!

    Wish you Richard and family, Nascar ‘postmates’ on Richs site and family as well a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

  5. Josie Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    OMG Charles!!! Do you stay in your house, wear a little tin hat, and have your windows covered with aluminum?? Well no matter how it was done ( ohh I hear spooky music ) kudos to the 14 team!!

  6. Marybeth Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    One wonders if Tony was getting JJ’s equipment for this Chase…?