Tony Stewart’s Title Run Has Galvanized This Fairweather Fan [VIDEOS]

At the end of his third season of driver/owner, Smoke trails Cousin Carl Edwards by 8 points for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup title.  He is 8 points and a handful of races from his third title, joining the company of Lee Petty, DW, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough.  8 points from being the first owner/driver champion since Kulwicki in ’92.  He is 8 points from immortality.

My fairweather NASCAR fandom is somewhat notorious and quite literal.  As the temperature drops in mid-September and the NFL season begins, Sunday’s oval track action is relegated to back end of my DVR.  (I maintain NASCAR’s principle broadcasting error is continuing their season after Labor Day sending it into the tooth of both NCAA and NFL football.)  The Chase has been a dud thus far; diluting drama week-for-week and relying on doomsday scenarios in Miami each November for the race to have a semblance of meaning.

Not this year.

With all due respect to Harvick, Keselowski and Kenseth – each waiting for a mistake like the contestant in distant third during Final Jeopardy! – the drama is palpable in this year’s Chase.  On the other side of the ring from Smoke is Carl Edwards, the former Cup golden boy who many believed would be on his second or third title by now.  Edwards has presented the ultimate “good ol’ boy” demeanor on NASCAR Now panels and in Subway commercials while acting the irascible douche bag on the track.

I just Googled “Carl Edwards feud”:

And to be perfectly honest I could have included ten more videos.  On the track, Carl Edwards ain’t the smiley five dollar foot long salesman he is off of it.

This year the Chase is working and Smoke v. Cousin Carl is the reason why.  Folks will gravitate to one side or the other.  I am on the side of good.  On the side of a man trying to become mentioned on the list of one of NASCAR’s all-time greatest.

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