By Zane Miller
On Sunday, November 20th, 2011, the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series season concluded with Tony Stewart defeating Carl Edwards by 0 points to win the 63rd championship in Cup Series history, with Stewart winning the championship on a tiebreaker as he had five wins during the season, while Edwards only had one. It was the third (and final) Cup Series championship for Stewart. Kyle Busch claimed the regular season championship.
The 2011 Daytona 500 was won by Trevor Bayne, while Ryan Newman led the most laps with 37. Bayne took the 500 in his second Cup Series start for the shortest amount of time in the Cup Series before winning the 500. It would also be his only career Cup Series victory.
The season also saw another postseason format change, with the playoff field remaining at 12 drivers, however only the top 10 in points at the end of the regular season would be guaranteed into the playoffs, with the last two drivers being the first two between 11th-20th in points with at least one regular season win.
2011 playoff results
12. #18 Kyle Busch (-157 points)
11. #22 Kurt Busch (-141)
10. #39 Ryan Newman (-119)
9. #11 Denny Hamlin (-119)
8. #24 Jeff Gordon (-116)
7. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-113)
6. #48 Jimmie Johnson (-99)
5. #2 Brad Keselowski (-84)
Keselowski claimed the fifth spot with three victories, 10 top-fives and 14 top-10s for an average finish of 14.8.
4. #17 Matt Kenseth (-73)
Kenseth took fourth as he had three wins, 12 top-fives and 20 top-10s, taking an average finish of 12.2, while leading the most laps in two races.
3. #29 Kevin Harvick (-58)
Harvick finished in third with four victories, nine top-fives and 19 top-10s for an average finish of 11.5. Harvick also led the most laps in one race.
2. #99 Carl Edwards (-0, lost on tiebreaker)
Edwards took runner-up with one win, 19 top-fives and 26 top-10s for an average finish of 9.3, while leading the most laps in one race.
1. #14 Tony Stewart
Stewart earned his third championship as he had five wins, nine top-fives and 19 top-10s for an average finish of 12.0. Stewart also led the most laps in four races.
Race Winners (left) & Lap Leaders (right)
Link to stats database: https://www.racing-reference.info/yeardet/2011/W
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