Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a championship battle.
Tony Stewart won the AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway four his fourth triumph of the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup title. Chief rival Carl Edwards finished second.
The net result: three points separate the two title combatants heading to the season's penultimate battle at the Phoenix International Raceway next week. In effect, three finishing positions stand between Edwards and his first crown and Stewart and his third.
Kasey Kahne finished third, while Matt Kenseth and polesitter Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five. Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, and A.J. Allmendinger completed the top-10.
Jeff Burton attempted to run the final 60 laps on one tank of gas, but he ran dry with five laps remaining. It would have been Burton's first win since October 2008 had he been able to stretch his gas tank.
Stewart, by leading a race-high 173 of the 334 laps, gained a critical bonus point on Edwards.