After winning at Martinsville on Sunday, Tony Stewart served notice to Carl Edwards that he was ready to battle Edwards for the title.
On Friday, Edwards said that while Stewart may be his closest pursuer — eight points back — he also needed to worry about Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.
"[Stewart and I] get along real well and, for me, this week I've thought a little bit about who my real competition is and, no offense to Tony or anything, but I think the guys that are behind him are truly the guys who have the biggest chance of doing well over the next three weeks," Edwards said. "They've shown they can run up front in the points all year and although Tony could go on a roll, what I've been sticking to this week is that it would be foolish of me to just focus on him and not pay attention to these other guys who have been very, very fast."
While that may be true of Harvick, who trails Edwards by 21 points, Keselowski, who is 27 back, didn't catch fire until winning at Kansas in June. Though, to be fair, it's not like Keselowski snuck in. From June until the beginning of the Chase, Keselowski has been one of the hottest drivers on the Cup circuit.
Stewart's hot streak didn't start until just before the Chase, where he finished third and seventh before winning the Chase's first two races. At one point in August, Stewart claimed that his team didn't deserve a spot in the Chase. That's certainly not the case now.
Now, with three races to go, Edwards leads the points, despite, well, as Jay Busbee said so eloquently, just keepin' on.
"I've never been in this good of a position as a driver in this sport and I feel that we're in a really good spot," Edwards explained. "But what I was talking about as far as looking back is Tony won the race and made his statements, but what I was trying to describe there is I don't think Tony is the only guy that can be a threat to us. I think those other guys are gonna be just as tough, so what I was trying to describe was not focusing in on one guy, but looking at the big picture and with three races left, there are a lot of guys you have to worry about."