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Edwards wins pole for finale

Associated Press

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) – Tony Stewart has run his mouth for almost a month trying to rattle Carl Edwards in the race to NASCAR’s championship.

Edwards has tuned it all out, and on Saturday he did his talking on the track.

Edwards won the pole for Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series championship will be decided. Edwards goes into the race with a three-point lead over Stewart, who qualified 15th. One of the two will bring an official end to Jimmie Johnson’s record five-year run, and the pole-winning run seemed to indicate Edwards is on pace.

Is it all lining up for Edwards to win his first Cup title?

“I don’t know that I believe in fate, but I do believe that things happen for a reason,” Edwards said. “I do believe that whatever you encounter you have to treat as if that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. But, yeah, this is going really well so far and, hopefully, this helps us all race. We didn’t need to qualify poorly, get a poor pit stall, have some little thorn in our side the whole race, so this will hopefully help us for the whole event.”

But Stewart, a two-time champion, cautioned there’s still 400 miles to be run.

“Don’t start etching his name on the trophy yet,” said Stewart, who is bidding to become the first owner/driver to win the title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992. “I’m excited about it. I’m not known to be much of a qualifier, so 15th, I’m pretty content.”

Edwards turned a lap at 175.467 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford, besting Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne, winner last week at Phoenix.

Kurt Busch qualified fourth and was followed by Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, Edwards teammate Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon. Greg Biffle, another Edwards teammate, qualified eighth while Johnson and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10.

Edwards has a great history at Homestead and that’s helped him stay relaxed. He’s a two-time winner at Homestead, is the defending race winner, and has 5.7 average finish in seven races.

“I’m not just giving you lip service: I’m here to do a job and to do it well and it truly doesn’t matter what’s said or what happens until that checkered flag falls,” Edwards said.