DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2011) – Only one finish guarantees Carl Edwards his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship – a victory in Sunday’s season-finale Ford 400.
Just three points separate points leader Carl Edwards and second-place Tony Stewart, a margin so tight, no other finish would clinch the title for Edwards regardless of where Stewart finishes.
Stewart owns the tie-breaker (best finishes), and therefore could tie and win his third series championship.
All other drivers are officially eliminated from championship contention.
Edwards’ three-point lead roughly translates to 13 points under the previous points system. That makes it the closest margin between first and second going into the final race in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ history, and third-closest since the inception of the position-based points structure in 1975.
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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will clinch the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with a finish of 37th or better; or 38th or better with at least one lap led; or 39th or better with most laps led at Homestead.
Only one point separates the points leading No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners standings.
Only one finish guarantees the No. 18 a championship – a victory in Saturday’s Ford 300.
Both teams have eight wins on the season, but the No. 60 has nine second-place finishes (the No. 18 has five) – giving the No. 60 the tie-breaker.
The No. 60 would win the owners title by gaining one or more points on the No. 18 on Saturday.
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Austin Dillon owns a 20-point lead over Johnny Sauter heading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale. James Buescher also remains in title contention, 28 points behind Dillon. Ron Hornaday Jr., 48 points behind Dillon, will be eliminated as soon as Dillon starts at Homestead.
Dillon guarantees himself his first championship by finishing 16th or better; or 17th or better with at least one lap led; or 18th or better with the most laps led in Friday night’s Ford 200.
Kevin Harvick Inc.’s No. 2 Chevrolet clinched the 2011 owners championship last week at Texas Motor Speedway. It was KHI’s third owners title.
This season, six different drivers have piloted the No. 2: Kevin Harvick (nine races), Elliott Sadler (five), Clint Bowyer (four), Ron Hornaday Jr. (three), David Mayhew (two) and Cale Gale (one). Harvick is scheduled to drive next Friday at Homestead.