Stewart chasing down Edwards in Cup Series

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Tony Stewart will be looking to overtake Carl Edwards in the Sprint Cup Series driver standings on Sunday afternoon when the two top drivers hit the track in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (3:00pm ET, ESPN).

Stewart slashed Edwards’ lead in the Sprint Cup Series standings to just eight points with a win last time out at Martinsville Speedway in the Tums Fast Relief 500, and a similar result in Fort Worth this weekend would boost the veteran driver to the top of the points race.

Also lurking are Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, who sit just 21 and 27 points, respectively, back of first place with three races to go in the season. Here’s how the Sprint Cup Series standings break down after 33 of the 36 events of the 2011 campaign . . .

01 Carl Edwards (Leader)
02 Tony Stewart -8
03 Kevin Harvick -21
04 Brad Keselowski -27
05 Matt Kenseth -36
06 Jimmie Johnson -43
07 Kyle Busch -57
08 Kurt Busch -58
09 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -73
10 Jeff Gordon -76
11 Denny Hamlin -80
12 Ryan Newman -89

Edwards’ lead has him as the -130 favorite at Oddsmaker to win the Sprint Cup this season, with Stewart at EVEN on that odds board. Harvick and Keselowski are both at +600 to come back and win the title this year, with Kenseth sitting at +3000 odds.

Johnson, the defending Cup champion, has just three races left to make up those 43 points and sits as a +5000 longshot to get that job done. Kyle Busch is then at +6000, with Kurt Busch at +7500, Gordon and Newman at +20000, and Earnhardt Jr. and Hamlin rounding out the list at +30000 odds at Oddsmaker.

The AAA Texas 500 is the second of two Sprint Cup Series events at Texas Motor Speedway this season; the first was the Samsung Mobile 500 back in early April.

Kenseth took the checkered flag in that race, with Clint Bowyer picking up a second-place result, and Edwards crossing the finish line in third place. Greg Biffle and Paul Menard also grabbed Top-5 results on that day, with Marcos Ambrose, David Ragan, Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., and Kurt Busch rounding out the Top 10 drivers in the race.

Stewart wound up in 12th place at the 2011 Samsung Mobile 500, and his lone victory at Texas Motor Speedway came in the Dickies 500 back in 2006. Rival Edwards has won three times on the Fort Worth track in his career – twice in 2008, and once in 2005. Hamlin is the defending champion at the AAA Texas 500, and he turned in a 15th-place performance in the Samsung Mobile 500 back in April.

Oddsmaker will have all your NASCAR lines and betting odds for this week’s event.

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