“Consistency, consistency, consistency,” it’s NASCAR’s version of real estate 101. Consistency is what will win you championships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, now more than ever. As I have stated all season, the point system change in the Chase might have been the best thing in NASCAR since, well, the Chase.
We have not seen anything like this in season’s past, especially since 2004 when the Chase was implemented for the first time. Many have argued that the Chase format was originally designed for those who win, not necessarily for those who land in the top-five week in and week out.
Because of this change, I chose to go with Matt Kenseth to win the championship this year. Shocking enough, I had overlooked his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Carl Edwards.
Edwards has done everything he could possibly do this season, that’s not to win races but be in position to contend for his first career NSCS championship.
Edwards, who only holds a three point lead over Tony Stewart in the standings, might have the upper hand as we head into South Beach for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale.
“Well, going into Homestead here, we’re really going to stick to what got us in this position in the first place, and that is to try to have the best race car possible and go and run the best race we possibly can and finish as high in the points as we can. Try to beat that 14,” said Bob Osborne, Carl Edwards’ crew chief.
Edwards is all-to-familiar with Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In just seven races, Edwards has been in Victory Lane twice (2008 and 2010). At the same time, Edwards has 4 top-five’s in just that seven race span.
You can’t always judge what will happen based on the past, but you can get some sort of idea of what to expect.
There is not doubt that I think Stewart will be on his ‘A’ game, quite frankly, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Stewart has done something remarkable this Chase. Need I remind you of his feelings before the Chase had started? “We don’t belong in the Chase, we’re just not good enough,” said Stewart.
Since then, Stewart has won four races in just a nine race span, putting him in prime spot to win the Chase, assuming Edwards and Stewart are tied at the end of the 400-mile race Sunday.
The key for Edwards, win. If Edwards ends up in Victory Lane for the third time in his career at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will be the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. If Edwards does not win and Stewart wins Sunday, Stewart will be the 2011 champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. However, there’s more to it.
As long as Edwards finishes ahead of Stewart, that would be a win in itself. If Stewart finishes ahead of Edwards, oh ‘cousin Carl’ can kiss the championship trophy good-bye.
There’s an old saying, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” for Edwards’ case, he better hope that’s not the ‘upper’ hand that will win him a championship.