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Head2Head: Is a two-man title battle good entertainment?

November 15, 2011, ,

After 10 months of grueling, hard-hitting and sometimes controversial racing, the Sprint Cup Series will be decided at Homestead-Miami Speedway and only two guys are in contention: Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart. Either driver is worthy of the championship, and both are sure to put on a show in the season's final race.

Is a two-man title battle ideal in the Chase?


The essence of sports is one versus another. Two titans, giving it all they have for one championship. Aside from golf, every major sport in America has either two individuals or two teams in one final battle for the ultimate prize.

And that's exactly what we have this year in the Cup Series. In a battle that has spanned two months, it's Carl Edwards, who has been consistently strong all season, and Tony Stewart, who squeaked his way into the Chase only to dominate once there. What we are watching in this year's Chase is exactly what sport is about. Why on earth would you want to add more to the equation?

In this case, more does not equal better ... not by a long shot.

What we have witnessed since Stewart called his shot after his third victory on the season at Martinsville has been epic. Edwards and Stewart have provided a Chase that will be remembered for quite some time. At Texas, Stewart and Edwards finishing 1-2, with Stewart cutting Edwards' points cushion to three; at Phoenix, with the duo once again finishing back to back, this time second and third; all the talk, all the intrigue -- this is how championships are to be decided.

When it comes to sports, we fans like our rivalries. Red Sox/Yankees, Lakers/Celtics, Alabama/Auburn, Tiger/Phil -- it doesn't matter the sport, we like two entities to settle it on the playing field. Edwards and Stewart might not be "rivals," but for a month they acted like they were, and it made this Chase one to remember for years to come.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

The Sprint Cup Series rolls down to South Florida with two of the sport's biggest names battling mano a mano for the title. Can't get much better than that, right?


Sure, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart have earned it, and I'm not advocating any changes to the Chase. I'm just saying that having more drivers in the mix allows for more interest across the board.

The first season finale I ever attended, there were five drivers still alive going into the final race: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. There were so many storylines, and so much tension. Now? It's a two-car race and the other 41 cars might as well be playing tiddlywinks.

Having a season finale so bereft of drama for all but two drivers is a step backward for a Cup season that has had plenty of action. It's a tight competition, to be sure. But it would be better with more guys in the mix at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Everyone wanted to rant about how Johnson winning five consecutive titles made the sport "boring." Well, I'm telling you that having 43 cars out there with only two of them racing for the grand prize is boring.

Please don't misconstrue. Edwards and Stewart have earned this, and whichever one hoists the trophy will be a deserving champion. But who doesn't want a little more excitement mixed in with the coronation?

Jill Erwin, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

But is it enough of one? With 43 drivers in the field, that means 41 of them don't really have a dog in the fight at Homestead. In past seasons, there have been three, four and five drivers left standing in the final race, but this year there are only two. Is a two-man battle good entertainment or would you like to see more drivers have a chance at the championship? Bill Kimm and Jill Erwin are passionate in their stances. Read theirs and weigh in with yours in the comments below. And don't forget to vote in the poll at the right.