The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup review

The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup review

Tony Stewart didn't win in the first 26 races of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup, but delivered five victories when it mattered most to win the most closely-fought title fight in years from Carl Edwards. Diego Mejia reviews the season

Tony Stewart labelled himself as the underdog entering the title-deciding NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. He'd stumbled during the initial 26 races, and even did so during the 10-race play-off, but he fought back every time. Carl Edwards' consistency through the year – which was ramped up even further during the last 10 weeks – just wasn't enough to stop Stewart.

There was little indication that 40-year-old Stewart, the last driver to win a title before Jimmie Johnson's five-year reign started, could be so emphatic in the Chase. After all, he had failed to win a single race in 2011 before the 10-round finale started. His Stewart Haas team wasn't in an ideal situation either from an organisational standpoint, and a few weeks before the play-off he had gone on record saying his team wasn't worthy of a place in the title battle.

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