|Page (1) of 1 - 11/19/11||email article||print page|
Carl Edwards wins pole at Homestead, Stewart 15th in race for Sprint Cup championship
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) ' Tony Stewart has run his mouth for almost a month trying to rattle Carl Edwards in the race to NASCAR's championship.
Edwards has tuned it all out, and on Saturday, he did his talking on the track.
Edwards won the pole for Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series championship will be decided. Edwards goes into the race with a three-point lead over Stewart, who qualified 15th. One of the two will bring an official end to Jimmie Johnson's record five-year run.
Edwards is seeking his first Cup title. Stewart, a two-time champion, is trying to become the first owner/driver to win the title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
"We were just hoping to start in front of Tony somewhere and preferably the top-five. The pole is a gift," Edwards said.
Edwards turned a lap at 175.467 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Stewart qualified at 173.332 mph for Stewart-Haas Racing.
"I'm excited about it," Stewart said. "I'm not known to be much of a qualifier, so 15th, I'm pretty content."
Edwards has done a good job of tuning out Stewart's constant verbal jabs over the last month. After winning four races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Stewart's confidence grew and he's tried a variety of one-liners and verbal jabs to get inside Edwards' head.
Although Edwards seemed to have grown weary of the gamesmanship in a joint news conference Thursday, he's yet to fold to the pressure.
He's got a great history at Homestead and that's helped him stay relaxed. Edwards is a two-time winner at Homestead, is the defending race winner, and has 5.7 average finish in seven races.