Midway through Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway, it would have been tough to envision Carl Edwards leaving the Virginia short track with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points lead.
After all, Edwards was the lowest-running Chase car at the time and Matt Kenseth (second in points entering the race) was fifth.
In fact, it seemed all of Edwards' foes were going to capitalize on his off-day.
But by the end, things changed. Edwards rallied for an improbable top-10 finish, Kenseth wrecked and Brad Keselowski (third in points after Talladega) had a late spin that put a huge dent in his title hopes.
Now, with three races to go, Edwards and Martinsville winner Tony Stewart seem locked in a two-man battle for the title. Kevin Harvick and Keselowski still lurk, though, in case the top two drivers slip up.
Check out the 2011 Chase standings after seven races:
- Carl Edwards
- Tony Stewart -8
- Kevin Harvick -21
- Brad Keselowski -27
- Matt Kenseth -36
- Jimmie Johnson -43
- Kyle Busch -57
- Kurt Busch -58
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. -73
- Jeff Gordon -76
- Denny Hamlin -80
- Ryan Newman -89