Tony Stewart believes he enters the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title decider with the least pressure, saying he has nothing to lose in the season finale at Homestead.
The two-time Cup champion ranks just three points behind his Roush Fenway rival, having only led the standings for a week during the Chase following an impressive run during the playoff series, albeit not as consistent as Edwards'.
After carrying big points leads into the last races of his title-winning seasons in 2002 and '05, Stewart says he feels no pressure this time around as he only has the potential to move up in the standings if he beats Edwards by at least three points.
"The only part this week that's concerned me and that I've been worried about is the fact that I haven't been nervous about it," said Stewart. "In 2002 and 2005 we had big leads but you were still nervous about it, because you knew it could get away.
"We didn't think that we would be in the Chase to begin with. It's taken a lot of that pressure off. We're not trying to overcome a big deficit, we're right there, right behind him...we don't have anything to lose.
"We can throw everything we've got at it and if we make a mistake doing it, it doesn't cost us. There's no penalty for us if we screw up. With that, it takes every ounce of pressure away. It's a dangerous combination to put us in that kind of mode."
Stewart says he is ready to do what it takes to win the contest if it comes down to a head-to-head battle on the last lap with Edwards. If Stewart wins Sunday's race, he would beat the Roush driver to the title regardless of where he finishes, even if Edwards leads the most laps.
"I'll wreck my mom to win a championship," said Stewart. "I'll wreck your mom to win a championship. I respect [Edwards] as a driver but this is not about friendships this weekend. This is a war; this is a battle. This is for a national championship. I didn't come this far to be one step away from it and let it slip away. We're going to go for it."
Earlier this week fellow Chevrolet driver Kevin Harvick said he would be willing to help Stewart win the title if he had the chance. However, Stewart said he hopes teammates or allies do not become a factor in the championship fight, although he did not rule out that possibility.
"It shouldn't be about team orders," said Stewart. "We saw a hint of it last week [at Phoenix], the 16 car [Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle] picked a pit right in front of us. We never had an issue with it. But you know that that can happen.
"Like we say, we're racing for a national championship, so we are prepared that if something develops along the line, we have a countermeasure for the same thing.
"You want to win this thing straight up. You want to win it because you did a better job than he did, not because somebody else got involved in the equation. That will take away from it."
Stewart could potentially become the first driver to win titles in the Winston, Nextel and Sprint Cup eras of NASCAR's premier series, as well as the first driver/owner to claim a Cup title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.