By Keith Waltz
The closest championship battle in NASCAR history was decided by a tiebreaker after Tony Stewart outran Carl Edwards to win the Ford 400 on Nov. 20, 2011, at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Stewart battled back from adversity early in the race to lead the final 36 laps as he beat Edwards to the checkered flag by 1.306 seconds. Stewart and Edwards ended up tied atop the point standings with the tiebreaker going to Stewart as the highest finishing driver in the season finale.
“After the way those first 109 laps went today, I could not be more proud,” Stewart said. “We had the problem early and had the hole in the nose, everybody on this Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy team did a great job of getting it back going, then we had the contact with (David) Reutimann and had to come back in and fix it again.”
Edwards was heartbroken, but gracious in defeat.
“I’d compete with him in just about anything else to break that tie, if we could set up something,” joked the driver of the No. 99 Ford. “I’m not just saying this because I didn’t win the thing, but I think we could run this race 10 times and it’s a 50-50 deal.”
Stewart’s Homestead-Miami Speedway victory was his fifth during the 10 Chase races and the championship was the third of his career.