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Head2Head: Who will win the Cup title: Edwards or Stewart?

November 09, 2011, ,

And then there were two.

After eight grueling weeks, the championship battle appears to be down to two as Carl Edwards holds a miniscule three-point advantage on Tony Stewart. Edwards has been Mr. Consistent, with finishes of 11th or better in each Chase race. But Stewart has been on fire with four victories in the eight Chase races.

Who will win the Cup championship: Edwards or Stewart?


It's easy to want to go with the hot hand, but I'm going to stick with Carl Edwards and say he is going to hold on and win his first Cup championship.

Edwards has been a model of consistency all season and while he isn't rolling off victories like Stewart the past two weeks, the fact remains that he is the one being pursued. And I'd much rather be first than second with two to go.

Edwards has been the points leader for 22 of the season's 34 race weekends -- a phenomenal mark with 17 top-five finishes and another seven in the top 10. You have to go back to Michigan in August to find the last time Edwards has finished worse than 11th. Stewart, well he has two in the Chase.

And then there are the upcoming tracks.

The numbers are pretty even at Phoenix, but at Homestead it's not even close. Edwards is a machine at Homestead, with two wins, four top-fives and six top-10s in seven starts. Edwards' worst finish is 14th, and that came in his first start. Stewart has two wins, three top-fives and six top-10s, but most of those came in the early 2000s. In fact, in his past six Homestead starts, Stewart has finished better than Edwards' worst finish just twice.

Odds are Stewart is not going to end the Chase with four victories. It's certainly not impossible, it's just not probable. Those three points Edwards is up on Stewart could be just enough to keep the Roush Fenway driver on top after Homestead.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

For a guy who just about gave up on his championship hopes in August -- and didn't even consider himself among the contenders when asked about it at Chicagoland -- Tony Stewart's certainly done wonders to prove himself wrong over the past eight weeks.

You could certainly make fuel mileage excuses for Stewart's wins in the first two Chase races. But he passed five-time champ Jimmie Johnson the outside at Martinsville and pretty much had the field covered at Texas. Edwards still has the points lead right now but it's growing smaller every weekend.

So now it's down to Phoenix and Homestead. Carl Edwards has one win at Phoenix and two at Homestead. So does Stewart. But where Stewart has the advantage is his experience at being in this situation. Those two championship rings speak volumes about what he can do under pressure.

Want a driver with a proven track record on short, flat ovals? Stewart has three wins at New Hampshire, three at Richmond and three at Martinsville. How about intermediates in 2011? Three of his four wins -- and six of his seven top-five finishes -- have been on tracks between 1 and 2 miles in length.

Granted, there was little reason to think Stewart was going to suddenly become the hottest driver on the circuit after recording all of three top-five finishes in his first 26 races. But in this sport, momentum is king. And when all is said and done, Stewart will be wearing the crown.

Mark Aumann, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

So, who will win it all and hoist the championship trophy at Homestead? Bill Kimm has his money on Edwards while Mark Aumann is riding the hot hand with Stewart. Read why they think their driver will win it all and then make your predictions in the comments below. And don't forget to vote in the poll at the right.