Sunday, November 20, 2011
Ford 400 Race Recap & Championship Report
In the greatest showdown in the history of the sport Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards displayed the ultimate in sportsmanship and competition in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase. For the last three races of the season the two men ran neck and neck with Carl Edwards in the lead by the narrowest three point margin coming into Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the first hundred laps it seemed that Carl Edwards might have the day and the championship sewn up, but Tony Stewart and his #14 team fought back and won the race and the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup by tying Carl Edwards in points. Under this current points’ system, Stewart edged Edwards to the championship because Stewart simply had more wins; five in the Chase, a record in itself.
Carl Edwards had to settle for second not only in the race on Sunday but also in the championship race. Edwards’ disheartened but sportsmanlike attitude breaking hearts throughout NASCAR is a now too-common scene. His performance in the 2011 season was exemplary, but did not fulfill his destiny because he did not win enough races, a fact that does not go unnoticed by those who distinctly remember Edwards’ teammate Matt Kenseth’s championship year. That year prompted the Chase in Cup to ensure a champion would need to have more in the Win column. Carl Edwards found out the hard way that there is no exception to that rule.
Martin Truex Jr. took home third in Sunday’s Ford 400 race run in Homestead-Miami Speedway. Edwards’ Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth came in fourth. Jeff Gordon finished fifth. Clint Bowyer, running his final race with RCR, came in sixth. Kasey Kahne continued his string of good runs with a seventh. Kevin Harvick secured eighth. Denny Hamlin took ninth. Jeff Burton sewed up tenth.
For the final time in 2011, the NASCAR Sprint Cup points were distributed with Tony Stewart coming out on top even though he tied Carl Edwards in points because Stewart had more wins as previously mentioned. Carl Edwards, of course, had to swallow second. Kevin Harvick finished third in points for the season. Matt Kenseth jumped two positions to fourth landing him squarely in the Top-5 in points. Brad Keselowski, the wunderkind of the second half of the season, proved his mettle in the Chase and finished a respectable fifth. Five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson brought home sixth and ended his reign he had a stranglehold on since 2006. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a decent seventh place in the Chase. Jeff Gordon picked up three positions landing him in eighth. Denny Hamlin who floundered in the Chase for the first half of the Chase worked hard and finished ninth. Champion Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman landed in tenth. Kurt Busch struggled and fell to eleventh. Kyle Busch, thankful to be able to compete in the last Chase races, fell to and occupied twelfth to end the 2011 Season.
The competition was deep, the duel between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards was epic and record-worthy, and the Chase was the most exciting in many years. If you weren’t a NASCAR fan in 2011 you missed out on something truly magical and entertaining. Don’t make the same mistake again. It’s only two months until the roar of the NASCAR Sprint Cup engines spring back to life and with it these race recaps!
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a truly blessed Holiday Season! Thank you for your continued support of this site, the race recaps, and me. I look forward to writing more in 2012 from the weekly competition that is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series!
Posted by Chief 187 at 11:52 PM