MIAMI – Carl Edwards, who would be Jimmie Johnson if physical fitness won NASCAR championships, has prepared no variation on his trademark backflip for Sunday.

Yes, a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship that’s so close Edwards can almost touch it would call for a celebration to trump the one with which the 32-year-old driver delights fans in victory.

But what’s he going to do? A triple-somersault onto a handstand? The doorsill on his No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion isn’t a trampoline, after all.

“That’s about all I’ve got,” Edwards quipped of the acrobatics he would love to show off with a flourish after the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Edwards will attempt to survive the surge by two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart that has pared Edwards’ lead to three points in the most captivating windup in Chase history.

Edwards knows he can take nothing for granted. But he certainly can visualize his title-worthy season culminating in that special niche in stock car racing history.

“I’ve stood there in Victory Lane (for the Ford 400) two out of the last three years and watched Jimmie celebrate and imagined what it would be like to be the champion,” Edwards said.

Edwards’ victories on the 1.5-mile Homestead oval, though impressive, quickly became asterisks to the third and fifth of Johnson’s unprecedented and probably unmatchable five consecutive titles.

But Johnson’s rule has ended. He’s fifth in points and among 10 of the 12 Chase qualifiers who have been eliminated from contention by Stewart’s four victories in nine Chase events and Edwards’ 18 top-five finishes in 35 races.

Edwards marveled again at Johnson’s five-year mastery.

“Jimmie has shown all of us what a race car driver and team can do,” he said. “I don’t know that anyone will ever repeat that. (But) if anybody did, Jimmie would be my pick.”

Many concur that it’s high time for a fresh face at the top. None is fresher than Edwards’, evident again as he sat shoulder to shoulder with the needling Stewart on the dais.

Stewart was asked if he would bump Edwards out of his way should they duel into the final lap of the Ford 400 and the season.

“I’d wreck my mom to win a championship,” he shot back. “I’d wreck your mom to win a championship.”

Edwards joined the laughter.

“He’s got the talking part figured out,” Edwards said.

But he echoed Stewart’s sentiment without the hard edge.

“Don’t think for a second that either one of us (is) going to let anything slide,” he said. “I don’t think you could find two harder racers than us — and we both know that about each other.”

TRUCK SERIES: Austin Dillon, the 21-year-old grandson of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, finished 10th Friday night in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, clinching the series championship.

Johnny Sauter won the rain-shortened race, holding off Denny Hamlin just before the final caution dropped. Sauter finished second in points

Both of Kevin Harvick’s drivers in the truck series have found rides for 2012.

Ron Hornaday Jr., a four-time series champion, will drive for Joe Denette Motorsports, and Nelson Piquet Jr. will drive for Turner Motorsports.

Hornaday and Piquet had to look for jobs when Harvick decided to shut down his race teams in September.