Driver Tony Stewart won his third NASCAR championship on Sunday becoming the first driver/owner to win a championship since Alan Kulwicki did so in 1992. Stewart won Cup championships in 2002 and 2005 while he was driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Stewart fought hard and won at Homestead-Miami Speedway and did a good job keeping off Carl Edwards for a tie in the final Sprint Cup Series standings. It was the first tie in the points standings in NASCAR history, according to ESPN, noting that was all Steward needed to win the title based on his five victories.
According to The Associated Press, Kulwicki overcame a deficit over the final six races while Stewart snagged his third title by becoming the first driver to land the championship by winning the season finale.
It's an honor to be in the same category with Alan Kulwicki, Stewart told The AP. But Alan did it all on his own. I've got a great co-owner with Gene Haas, and (general manager) Joe Custer helped put all this together with (Hendrick Motorsports owner) Rick Hendrick.
Stewart is the ninth driver in NASCAR history to win three or more championships. The list also includes Lee Petty, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough, according to The AP.
I've got the best team in the business and it's just awesome, Stewart added. I'm so grateful to be able to do this for Gene. He's invested so much in the sport, and for him to have the faith in me to do this, it just takes a lot to do what he's done and I'm glad I could get it done for him.
According to ESPN, Stewart had to overcome a hole in the grill of his Chevrolet, a rain delay, use debatable fuel strategy and make aggressive passes in order to win Sunday.
Edwards started the race with a three-point lead in the standings, led a race-high 119 of the 267 laps and still ended up finishing in second place, ESPN reported.
This night is about Tony Stewart. Those guys rose to the occasion, and they beat us fair and square, Edwards said. That is all I had. We came here and sat on the pole, led the most laps and Tony still managed. That's it. That's all I got at the end. That's as hard as I can drive.