While Stewart won for the fourth time in eight Chase races, Edwards maintained his points lead with a second-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway.
After promising to put so much pressure on Edwards it would keep him awake during the final three races of the season, Stewart might be the restless one as they head to next Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. No matter how hard he tries, Stewart can’t seem to catch Edwards in the standings.
But Stewart isn’t going to give up, either.
“Nobody listens when I talk: Man, we’re set on this. It’s just the way it’s going to be,” Stewart said. “We did everything we could do today. I don’t think we have to say anything. I think our performance speaks for itself. He knows we’re in it, trust me.”
Stewart started the race eight points behind Edwards. He earned three bonus points for winning, a bonus point for leading a lap and another bonus point for leading the most laps. Since Edwards also led a lap, he now has a three-point lead with two races to go.
After he won a week earlier at Martinsville, Stewart made it personal, saying “Carl Edwards had better be real worried. That’s all I’ve got to say. He’s not going to sleep for the next three weeks. He is not going to have an easy three weeks.”
Edwards now seems to relish the head-to-head challenge.
“He did a great job today; those guys stepped it up,” Edwards said. “I’m proud of my guys for hanging on for still having the points lead. At the end of the day we’re going to the final two races and, although we would have loved to win today, to be three points ahead and have third- and fourth-place guys fall further in the pack, it looks like it’s going to come down to Tony and I.”
A handful of drivers tried to stretch their fuel mileage over the final 60 laps, but Stewart pressed and all of them either stopped for gas or ran out. The last one was Jeff Burton, who gave up a half-mile lead when his car ran out of gas with five laps to go.
After that, Stewart cruised to an easy win.