Stewart salvaged a solid seventh-place finish atMartinsvilleafter a wild finish scrambled the finishing order and gave Stewart’s teammate Ryan Newman the win. Stewart moved up one place into a tie for third in the Sprint Cup point standings, and trails Greg Biffle by 12.
Stewart won the Auto Club 400 in a race shortened by 71 laps due to rain. Stewart overtook Kyle Busch on lap 85 and held on until the weather forced the race’s first caution, and ultimately its cancellation.
Kenseth doggedly chased Brad Keselowski to the finish at Bristol, but could never catch the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. The runner-up result gave Kenseth his second top-5 finish of the year, and boosted him two places in the Sprint Cup point standings to third.
Biffle finished third in the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas and now has three third-place finishes on the year. He assumed the lead in the Sprint Cup point standings, and holds a 10-point lead over Kevin Harvick.
Hamlin zoomed to the lead on a restart with 59 laps to go at Phoenix, and held off Kevin Harvick, who ran out of gas, to win the Subway Fresh Fit 500. It was Hamlin’s first win since last June at Michigan and first under new crew chief Darian Grubb.
Stewart won at Homestead, his fifth win of the Chase, and took home the 2011 Sprint Cup championship, the third of his career. Stewart and Carl Edwards both scored 2,403 points in the Chase, but Stewart won by virtue of his Chase victories.
Edwards chased Kasey Kahne to the finish at Phoenix, but had to settle for the runner-up spot in the Kobalt Tools 500. Edwards remained on top in the Sprint Cup point standings and will take a three-point lead over Tony Stewart to Homestead.