Page last updated on Fri Nov 27 17:41:00 EST 2015
Wed, 23 Nov 2011 04:03 PM EST

Carl Edwards played exactly ‘according to Hoyle’ in his pursuit of NASCAR’s championship, turning in a steady performance, salvaging solid finishes on days his race team was struggling, and standing firm in the face of Tony Stewart’s continual verbal battering. Football odds

In almost any other year—and all five in the Jimmie Johnson reign—he’d have awakened the day after the season finale a NASCAR champion.

But that didn’t happen this year. And nothing he might have done would have changed the outcome.

Edwards went round-for-round with Stewart in the fiercest fight for a title that NASCAR has ever seen, and lost. The two finished tied in the final Sprint Cup Series points standings—a first in NASCAR history—and Stewart took the tiebreaker based on his five victories to Edwards’ one. Football spreads

So even though he won the pole, led the most laps in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished second to Stewart, Edwards still went home without the prize.

If somebody had told Edwards a month ago that he’d complete the season with three second-place finishes in a row, and that he’d wrap up the 10-race Chase with a 4.9-average finish, he likely would have bet the house on his odds to walk away with the title.

But who could have foreseen that his rival for the championship, Tony Stewart, would transform himself into ‘Smoke’, the old Tony Stewart that had not been seen for years, the legendary fearless, almost reckless Tony Stewart that had a reputation of being able to do anything he wanted to in a race car? And especially after the season that he had prior to the final race.

Although his reputation preceded him, the reality is that Stewart hadn’t driven up to his potential for quite some time. That was apparent from the beginning of the season when he lost the Daytona 500 on the final restart. Eventually his team lost direction and he all but abandoned hope of being a serious contender in the championship race.

But something changed in the last six weeks. Stewart set his sights on a third championship, and decided that nothing would get in his way. And nothing did, certainly not Edwards.

After the race, a disappointed Edwards sat in Homestead’s media center watching Stewart’s championship celebration on a bank of televisions. He’d shaken Stewart’s hand, and he’d consoled crew chief Bob Osborne.

But Edwards himself? He didn’t pout. Rather, his conduct in the hours after the race showed just how to act with class and sportsmanship in the face of defeat.

Edwards knows he can’t dwell on the Chase. Even if he did second-guess the last 10 weeks, he’d be hard-pressed to find anything he could have done differently. Edwards talked of taking his family to the beach for the week after the race, of getting back into the gym and starting the process all over again for 2012, when he’ll try again to win his first Cup title.

Sponsored Links

Download Printable Schedules
Now you can download and print schedules for each sport so you can plan ahead and track your results.
FOOTBALL: 11/3/2015 - 2/7/2016
BASKETBALL 11/12/2015 - 12/14/2015
HOCKEY 11/12/2015 - 12/14/2015
RK Team
Washington State
College FootballNavy vs Houston09:00 AM PST
College FootballMissouri vs Arkansas11:30 AM PST
College FootballIowa vs Nebraska12:30 PM PST
College FootballWashington State vs Washington12:30 PM PST
NHLBlackhawks vs Ducks2:05 PM PST
NBABucks vs Magic4:05 PM PST
NBACavaliers vs Hornets4:05 PM PST
College FootballBaylor vs TCU4:30 PM PST
NBAHeat vs Knicks4:35 PM PST
NBAWizards vs Celtics4:35 PM PST
NHLOilers vs Red Wings4:35 PM PST
NBAPistons vs Thunder5:05 PM PST
NBA76ers vs Rockets5:05 PM PST
NBAHawks vs Grizzlies5:05 PM PST
NBABulls vs Pacers5:05 PM PST
NBASpurs vs Nuggets6:05 PM PST
NBAWarriors vs Suns6:35 PM PST
NBATimberwolves vs Kings7:05 PM PST
NBAPelicans vs Clippers7:35 PM PST
UFCDominique Steele vs Maestro Dong Hyun Kim02:00 AM PST
UFCJ Collier vs D Yang02:00 AM PST
UFCMike De La Torre vs Y Chul Nam02:00 AM PST
UFCLeo Kuntz vs TH Bang02:00 AM PST
UFCS Hee Ham vs Cortney Casey02:00 AM PST
UFCY Zhikui vs F Serrano02:00 AM PST
UFCM Beltran vs N Guangyou02:00 AM PST
UFCJorge Masvidal vs B Henderson05:00 AM PST
UFCDom Waters vs D H Kim05:00 AM PST
UFCA Mina vs Y Akiyama05:00 AM PST
UFCSam Sicilia vs Doo Ho Choi05:00 AM PST
NFLNew Orleans Saints vs Houston Texans10:00 AM PST
NFLMinnesota Vikings vs Atlanta Falcons10:00 AM PST
NFLSt. Louis Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals10:00 AM PST
NFLTampa Bay Buccaneers vs Indianapolis Colts10:00 AM PST
NFLNew York Giants vs Washington Redskins10:00 AM PST
NFLOakland Raiders vs Tennessee Titans10:00 AM PST
NFLBuffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs10:00 AM PST
NFLMiami Dolphins vs New York Jets10:00 AM PST
NFLSan Diego Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars10:00 AM PST
NFLArizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers1:05 PM PST
NFLPittsburgh Steelers vs Seattle Seahawks1:25 PM PST
NFLNew England Patriots vs Denver Broncos5:30 PM PST
NFLBaltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns5:30 PM PST