Tony Stewart celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 and the 2011 Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2011 in Homestead, Florida. Stewart wins his third NASCAR Championship.
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart just wouldn't be denied.
Damage to the No. 14 grill. Rain Delays. Pit problems. None of those would be issues for NASCAR's newest champion. Stewart conquered all of the challenges that were thrown his way, including passing a total of 118 cars, to track down and run past Carl Edwards to capture the Ford 400 and NASCAR's Sprint Cup Championship with a thrilling perforamance Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Stewart and Edward would finish the season tied in the point standings with 2,403 points but Stewart had the tiebreaker thanks to the five victories he claimed over the season. Edwards only had one.
It came down to the final lap, with Edwards needing to pass Stewart to claim the title. After all, Edwards would lead 119 of the 267 laps, but Stewart would never let him get close. Stewart would become the first driver/owner to win a NASCAR series championship since Alan Kulwicki did it in 1992.
As the rain came down in Victory Lane, a happy Tony Stewart said "I don't care how long it rains, I'm going to be up all night. We said all week we'd just go out and win the race and not worry about what he did."
The two drivers have been trading jabs all week, but it was Edwards who was diplomatic in defeat.