Monday, November 21, 2011

Tony Stewart takes the NASCAR Championship the hard way

Last night, in what most are calling the greatest finale to NASCAR's Sprint Cup chase of all time, Tony Stewart beat out Carl Edwards both on the track and in the standings to win his third championship.  The truly amazing part is that Stewart and Edwards finished the Ford 400 in first and second (Steward in front of course) and tied in the Sprint Cup Standings.  That is something that until yesterday, had never happened in NASCAR history before.  Unfortunately for Edwards, there had to be a winner and Stewart had the tie breaker on lock.  Having won five of the last ten races of the year and three of the last four, Stewart easily edged Edwards who has only won once this year.

It is an outstanding feat for Tony Stewart to come out on top after starting the year with spectacular disappointment.  He was losing and his team was under-performing on every cylinder.  According to an article on ESPN.com, Stewart was quoted as saying, "If we're going to run this bad it really doesn't matter whether we make the Chase or not."  After that, it seems everything turned for the Stewart-Haas Racing team.  Stewart came storming back into the standings, snagged a spot in The Chase (NASCAR's version of playoffs) and the rest is history.  Now he sits atop the pack, holding the Sprint Cup as evidence of his legendary run.

After the race, Carl Edwards congratulated Stewart for his victory on the track and in The Chase.  To think, Stewart started the race at 15 and at one point was running all the way back at 40 for a time.  Being the skilled driver that he is and the tough competitor he will always be, Stewart managed to weave his way through the pack and into the number two spot behind Edwards, where the two battled for the final 36 laps of the race.  Even though Edwards had led the most laps of the race (119 of 267), Stewart shot past him, going low on a turn and help Edwards off to take the checkered flag.

For those who thought NASCAR has had trouble adjusting to new car styles and teamwork dynamics, the Ford 400 will go down as sacred ground in motorized racing history.  One thing is for sure, NASCAR is far from dead.  Same can be said about Tony Stewart, who is 40 as of this year.  The bad news is the season is over and we'll have to wait till next year's Sprint Cup to see this new age of racing continue.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

( Source : ESPN )

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