Stewart, Edwards trade verbal shots

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:04 PM ET

MIAMI - Now it is getting personal.

Up until Thursday the battle between NASCAR Sprint Cup championship contenders Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart had been cordial, even jovial at times.

But at a joint media event in South Beach to kick off Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway the sparks were very definitely flying.

It all started when Stewart — known as much for his sharp retorts as he is for his racing ability — said that even if there had been a little camaraderie between the pair up until this week it was gone now that the championship finale is only three days away.

“I’d wreck my mom to win a championship,” Stewart said. “I respect (Edwards) as a driver, but this isn’t about friendships this weekend.”

Stewart said his No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet team is geared up for a tough fight and isn’t planning on leaving anything in the garage when the race starts.

“This is a war. This is a battle,” he said. “This is for a national championship. It’s no-holds-barred this weekend. I didn’t come this far to be one step away from it and let it slip away, so we’re going to go for it.”

Stewart then mocked Edwards’ media-friendly personality.

“He was doing a pretty good acting job up there today,” Stewart said. “(But) he’s a lot more nervous than he lets on.”

The two-time Sprint Cup champion also let it be known that Edwards has yet to win a Sprint Cup trophy and that just talking about winning doesn’t get it done.

“They say there’s talkers and doers,” said Stewart. “I’ve done this (won a Cup championship) twice.”

That was all it took for Edwards to jump in with a few licks of his own.

“Did you say something?” he said. “(Tony) has got the talking part figured out.”

Stewart answered: “Yeah, you can come visit my trophy in the room at Vegas (at the season ending championship awards dinner) when you come out there.”

Edwards proceeded to lambaste Stewart, who in spite of winning four races out of nine in the 10 race Chase, has yet to overcome Edwards’ points lead.

“The problem is I don’t think you have led the points yet this year have you? ... I have listened to you a lot and you talk a lot about your past successes,” he said. “That is very respectable and truly, all joking aside, that will make it more fun if we are able to beat you.”

In the end, Edwards admitted that all the trash talking in the world wasn’t going to win the championship and that his No.99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford team was ready to do whatever it takes to win on Sunday.

“I know and (Tony) knows that it doesn’t matter what we say,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we are over there fist fighting in the corner before this things starts.

“We are race-car drivers and I think we are both good enough to go out there and do our jobs whether we love each other or hate each other.”

FINISH LINES

News out of London on Thursday was that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given the organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix one week to come up with a letter of credit for $25 million payable to Eccelstone’s Formula One Management, or the 2012 race at the yet to be completed Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex., is off the calendar for next season. “It’s all very simple — they don’t have the money,” Ecclestone told Britain’s Press Association. “We don’t have a contract. If they want to come back to us, if it’s not signed before the end of next week, I suppose it won’t be on the calendar next year.” ... Canada’s Robert Wickens was knocked back to reality in his second day of testing Thursday at the “Young Drivers Test” at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. Driving a Marussia Virgin Cosworth Wickens time of one minute 45.934 seconds was almost four seconds slower than his first test day Tuesday at the same track where he clocked a lap of 1:42.217. But that was in a Lotus Renault.

Past 10 winners of the Ford 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway

Year Winner Car

2010 Carl Edwards No. 99 Ford

2009 Denny Hamlin No. 11 Toyota

2008 Carl Edwards No. 99 Ford

2007 Matt Kenseth No. 17 Ford

2006 Greg Biffle No. 16 Ford

2005 Greg Biffle No. 16 Ford

2004 Greg Biffle No. 16 Ford

2003 Bobby Labonte No. 18 Chevrolet

2002 Kurt Busch No. 97 Ford

2001 Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge


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