For the first time in 5 years, NASCAR is crowning a new (old) champion. Tony Stewart held off Carl Edwards to win his 3rd overall NASCAR championship. As it worked out, this was his first as a car owner and driver. Tony “Smoke” Stewart was the last champion before Jimmie Johnson won his historic 5 consecutive championships.
While it is a great feeling to see a new champion, Tony Stewart wasn’t in position to win this championship at the beginning of the Chase. He had to win 5 races during the course of the “Playoff” to be able to hoist the trophy. This is the first year NASCAR put more emphasis on winning as opposed to consistency and Tony Stewart was the one who reaped the benefit. He always races to win. In the final race at Homestead he had to make over 100 risky passes to get back into first place as he had car problems all day and was pushed to the back of the pack several times. Obviously he and his crew got it right toward the end of the race.
Tony is one of the most “complete” drivers in the NASCAR circuit. He has won championships in midgets, open wheel and of course NASCAR. His savvy behind the wheel and in the shop is hard to match. Obviously he has tamed his famous temper somewhat, grown as an individual and of course honed his driving skills to be the best on the circuit this year. Tony is always competitive. Without a single win in the regular season, he took the checkered flag in five of the eight “chase” races and took home the trophy. Guess you could say he did it when it counted. He is old school with his driving and can tussle with the best of them. He reminds me a lot of Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
You know NASCAR has to be thrilled. You have to congratulate Carl Edwards also. What a finish as the two finished the chase actually tied in points. Tony was declared champion as a result of his timely wins in the chase itself. Carl and Tony raced clean and it went down to the last race and the last lap for a champion to be crowned. Doesn’t get much better than that folks! Tony. Congratulations. You made a historic championship run and you bookended the phenomenal championship run of Jimmie Johnson with wins of your own. If this chase is a glimpse of the future of the sport, then the real winners will be the fans…and of course NASCAR.
Love him or hate him, he is absolutely one of the best and most competitive drivers on the circuit. He also has shown a lot of business acumen the way he pulled his team new together after what appeared to be a mediocre season run prior to the “Chase”.