Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chase Set Up For Winner-Take-All Finish (

By Jerry Bonkowski columnist

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Three points has never seemed larger.

Carl Edwards leads the Sprint Cup championship standings by that razor-thin margin heading into Sunday's season-ending and championship-deciding Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

To show just how close that is, it's the difference between finishing first and fourth in any of the previous 35 races this season.

Had Tony Stewart been able to finish three spots higher in any race this season, we'd have a dead heat battle with Edwards going into Sunday's race.

Nevertheless, NASCAR still will very likely see one of the closest finishes for a championship if Edwards and Stewart battle all the way to the checkered flag on Sunday.

If the success both drivers have had in the last three races – including Stewart winning two of those three, and Edwards literally right on his tail – continues, there's a good possibility that the deciding factor between the only two drivers left in contention for the title could come down to the last lap.

In other words, we quite possibly may see a winner-take-all finish, the first time since 1998 (Jeff Gordon) that a driver had to win the season finale to also win the Cup championship.

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