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« Junior and crew have the qualifying thing down, so now it’s time to race better | Main | Team Penske has up and down day in Atlanta(literally) »

If NASCAR further punishes Edwards they will fail their own test

By admin | March 7, 2010

By Richard Allen

If you clicked on this column expecting to read criticism of Carl Edwards you have come to the wrong place. The real topic here anyway is whether NASCAR will make the right decisions going forward.

In the moments after Edwards ran into Brad Keselowski and sent him spinning and flying down the front stretch of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, there was a great deal of both condemnation and praise directed at Edwards. From sources ranging from the television broadcast booth to the various social networks, many had an opinion to share on the situation.

Early in the race Keselowski got into Edwards and sent him up into Joey Logano and then the wall. For that matter, the two drivers have a history with one another dating back to the spring race in Talladega last year as well as a couple of Nationwide Series run ins.

NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton declared as much after the incident. “It looked like it could have been a payback from the #99 to the #12,” he said.

The problem I have seen in regard to people’s forming of opinions on this matter is that many are focused on the fact that Keselowski’s car went airborne. Many of those who have condemned Edwards have focused their energy on the end result.

The real issue is about paybacks and self-policing. NASCAR announced in a very public way that they wanted their drivers to ‘have at it’ and encouraged self-policing. So, the thing for the sanctioning body to decide is whether they meant that or if those were just empty words.

If NASCAR really meant what they said in the off season then what they did at the end of the race by parking Edwards should be enough of a penalty. They can’t bow to the pressures of some in the media, particularly the mainstream media or those who cover NASCAR but would rather be covering something else, who will offer as a criticism that this type of behavior would not be tolerated in another sport. That’s just it. Racing is not another sport and that’s why it appeals to so many who do not follow the stick and ball events.

Things have always been settled differently in racing than other sports because there is more on the line than in other sports. If one basketball player fouls another it can prevent a basket. If one racer fouls another it can wipe out a life savings or end a career. That’s why racers have to deal with things themselves rather than wait for some referee who may not understand the whole situation to make a decision.

When NASCAR said ‘have at it’ they put themselves to the test. If they further penalize Edwards for doing what they told him to do they will fail their own test.

In the Edwards/Keselowski case one driver sent a message to another driver for past fouls. Message delivered. It did not involve other drivers. The fact that the car went into the air was secondary to the real issue. Penalties can’t be issued because this one time was worse than some other time. Had another driver been affected then a stronger penalty would have been justified.

I have read and heard some who said Edwards should have waited until Bristol or Martinsville. On those small tracks there would almost certainly be other casualties. That, in my mind, would be worse.

I wrote a while back that I like Keselowski and his hard charging style. That is every bit a true today as it was then. I hope he will continue to race hard. He might just want to have second thoughts when he’s around Carl Edwards, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

But more importantly, NASCAR needs to have second thoughts if they feel like going against their own policy or allowing people who do not truly matter, or care about the sport, make decisions for them.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

25 Responses to “If NASCAR further punishes Edwards they will fail their own test”

  1. Donnie Anderson Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I totally agree. People have been bitching about Nascar having a too tight a rein on the drivers, but these same people now want Nascar to stick their nose in and penalize Edwards. Can’t have it both ways only when it suits. Brad and Carl will work this out. This is stock car racing, not curling.

  2. Chase Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Well, I feel Carl should be penalized. I really like that NASCAR is putting it back into the drivers hands and letting them “Have at it”. What I feel NASCAR needs is “heat of the moment” drama. Carl had over an hour and nearly 200 laps to pre-meditate this wreck. If he was going to pre-meditate a wreck I think that he SHOULD have done it the next week at Bristol. Speeds are much lower, and you know what? If it takes out a innocent bi-standard in the process, then so be it. That creates even more drama, and that is exactly what NASCAR needs. drama feeding off of drama. Carl should be sat atleast one race if not 2. For the danger that he put Brad and the fans in at those speeds, he should be taught a lesson and he should be penalized severe enough to make it tough for him to make the chase. NASCAR should also make it clear that they are not pulling back the reigns. They should let the drivers know that paybacks are aloud, but should be more discreet, or done at lower speeds. The short track’s promote the beating, banging, and drama. So, save the drama for Bristol or Martinsville. Carl’s “aww shucks” attitude wore out a long time ago, and now he is just becoming an asshole.

  3. Gene Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I have no problem with the payback. Although, BK did NOT wreck Carl in the first incident. Check the replay, Brad’s left tires never left the yellow line, Carl came down, BK held his line, Carl wrecked himself. Every driver out there knows that Kes is not going to give an inch. I’m no fan of his, but I call it like I see it.

    The only problem I have with Carl is the way he disrespected NASCAR orders by driving through the infield and the wrong way down pit road. Kevin Harvick was parked for a Cup race after showing his ass like this at Martinsville during a Truck race a few years back.

  4. Matt Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 11:48 am

    somebody had to knock the chip of Crashalotski’s shoulder before he himself hurt somebody with his aggressive style and lcak of respect for anyone else on the track. Personally I’d rather watch Edwards pound Brad’s face in off the track, but a car flip will do.

  5. Richard Allen Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    One thing I see as a little bit of a problem with this situation is that it is boiling down to who was involved rather than what happened. People seem to be taking sides based on whether or not they like Edwards or Keselowski. Certainly, that is a part of it. People ought to have loyalties. However, it is payback and NASCAR’s decision to loosen the reins that are really being put to the test here.

    It shouldn’t matter what drivers were involved. Of course, as I typed that I was remembering the organization we are talking about here which caused me to consider the folly of what I just said.

  6. Chase Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    If Carl doesn’t get parked for a race I hope Brad K goes out at Bristol and Park’s Carl’s car himself. Dale Earnhardt always drove his line and never gave an inch. Just like Brad K does. I wish people would stop crying about Brad wrecking everyone and respect the fact that were seeing an attitude in NASCAR right now that we have not seen since the Intimidator himself. I am in no way camparing talents of the 2 for the record.

  7. Mrs. Goodman Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Wonder what the chatter would be like if Carl Edwards had found “Brad the Brat” in the garage or motorcoach lot and beat the tar out of him….and broke his arm or something wild?

    Tantalizing idea, isn’t it.

    If Edwards gets fined, brawls will be the only way to settle disputes.

    Heaven help us all!

  8. Bill B Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    “Early in the race Keselowski got into Edwards and sent him up into Joey Logano ”
    Whoa Rich! I didn’t see it that way at all and trust me I have no love for BK (or Edwards).

    So you are pretty much advocating an anything goes pollicy. I guess if you are into bloodsports that should work out well. Surely there has to be a line between “go at it” and “anything goes”… right?

    I can’t believe your view on this Rich. By any chance are you an Edwards fan?

  9. The Old Guy Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Personally, I have no problem with what carl did or when he did it.

    You probably won’t hear much about it, but I suspect that Carl will have a lot more support in the Garage area than Brad K has.

    The real culprit here is the car itself and that stupid wing on the back. without the wing, BK would have simply spun through the grass.

    Unlike NASCAR’s most popular, Carl Manned up and took full responsiblity for his actions is response to BK’s earlier actions.

    I would also suspect that BK will be seeing a lot of “Mr. Wall” if he didn’t learn a lesson from Sundays race.

    And finally, Richard, you have a really good point. What if, I had been Jr. doing the retalliating. Do you think the throngs would want him parked?

    I wouldn’t though, Jr. doesn’t have the *****.

  10. Steve Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Disagree with this article. I’m pretty sure Nascar’s “Have At It” policy didn’t mean recklessness and putting peoples lives in danger. This crossed the line between payback and outright recklessness. So if Nascar doesn’t do anything and someone else does this except the result is worse (people hurt/ dead etc) will you still have this same opinion?

  11. HildaBeachfront Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Hilda thinks that BOTH Carl and Brad should take some anger management classes.Maybe Denny should go to a few also.
    I was surpiized at what happened yesterday.Walking into the room and seeing the accident was a bit nerve bending.I don’t always watch all of a race anymore, because Jeremy isn’t driving after being judged for doing something that he didn’t and doesn’t do.My son has the race on and I will watch sometimes, a bit of the ‘race’.

    I like both Carl and Brad, they both have to watch themselves for anger and really bad retaliation.I’m glad that only a car got hurt yesterday and not a human life or lives. When they see something happen between two drivers, give them a talking to, let them go out behind the garage and fight it out. If it keeps up let the one who caused the wreck pay the other team for fixig up their car.

    In the Ivory Tower of power, there isn’t to many brains, so it will be something to see what they say and do.

  12. Joshua Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    There is a difference between racing for position and turning someone because they came down and you don’t feel you should let up. Compare that with 150 laps to premeditate, driving recklessly in an effort to keep up with the driver and multiple times trying to knock him out at the end of the race when he is in 6th and your 192 laps down. Its not a matter of outcome. It is a matter of premeditation versus racing. Lets not forget Mr. Edwards (who I at one time liked) is not exactly known for being careful or reserved on the track himself. I haven’t seen Dale Jr turn carl intentionally for the inanely stupid move that sent him flipping in nationwide at Daytona. It wasn’t intentional then, but it was stupid and I’d never say that carl should be penalized for that wreck. This is alot different then the intent of the rule change.

  13. Ruckus Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I understand there’s a bigger issue of self policing. But at the same time I dont’ think you can NOT consider the outcome of the action either. Either by dumb luck or design most retaliations don’t result in accidents that bad with that great a potential for injury to drivers or fans. Obviously you can never know for sure someone’s intent. The outcome though is pretty objective. Unfortunately the line of what does and does not warrant a penalty is VERY subjective.

    Speaking of penalties, what penalty was there in parking Edwards anway? I don’t think the remaining laps would have advanced his position. With the multiple GWC I guess he could have clicked off enough to gain 1 postion over Nemechek for all of 3 points.

    One other issue here is what exactly did “loosen the reins” refer to? On track behavior or off? Both? Kinda sorta a little of each unless it was too much? And we’ll only know what too much is when we see it?

    I’m glad I’m not NASCAR. In addtion to very different fan and media opinions, they also have to consider the owners and the sponsors. I’m sure they too have differing perspectives.

    IMO NASCAR can’t do nothing. But at the same time they can’t do too much either.

  14. Ole Putz Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Look at the tapes. Intentional wrecking should be punished. I don’t like either one of these guys but they’re both talented drivers on respectable teams. Brat seemed to piss everybody off. Kinda like Sr did. Carl thinks the mega-bucks Roush banner will protect him. Both of em better wake up. There’s 41 other cars out there with lives and careers on the line.

  15. Joshua Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    He does run similarly to Sr. In the effect that he gives no ground to anyone. Maybe brad did it a little too early, maybe he couldn’t help it as he said. Either way its far different then pre-meditated wrecking of another car. Its like comparing manslaughter with 1st degree murder. Not in that it cost anyone lives, but one is premeditated the other was through careless or reckless acts. Much stiffer penalty for the latter as should be the case here.

  16. taco Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    a few things here……

    first all of the folks griping about carl should think of what they would say if their drvr had done it, jr nation would say “yeah kez wrecked jr the first time and jr had the right to wreck him 130 laps down or not”

    second this is what nascar needs, wants, and has to have and the ppl that said “this is what we want to see” get it and all of a sudden they dont like it, wtf people make up your mind already!!

    third as far as a penalty goes, im sure kez will give carl that this weekend, and thats the only penalty carl needs……

    no matter who the drvr is or who the fav is, i like this stuff i have been watching since the early 90’s and i love it, just when i thought i was goin to boycott the year of jj 5th championship run i find myself needing to watch and see the carnage like slowing down to look at an accident on the street, i say free the 99 of any wrong doin and let the boys race…….

  17. Charles Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Richard
    I agree with you 100% on your take of the Edwards and Keselowski incident!

    The thing that ticked me off was the FOX announcers stirring the story saying it was payback for Talledaga! When infact Edwards joked and ran to the finish line at Talledaga! He never once blamed Brad on that wreck!

    Has anyone on TV ever heard Carl say anything negative about Brad? seems like Brad was running into Carl and Denny Hamlin a lot in the Nationwide races! Now I have heard of Hamlin talking about Brad and they had a pit road confrontation back!

    They way I see it, if Nascar fines Carl then Brad should share in it as well! He was aiding and abetting, a lot of the times he pushed Carl and Denny, they could have created a wreck as well! To Carls credit he hit him on a straightway not a turn, plus that was the first car I have seen go airborne at Atlanta in a long long time!

    When all these Cocky Drivers who want to dish it out, hit drivers needlessly take air off spoilers etc need to beable to take it when the time comes!

    Its funny how people can admire a driver who drives dangerous, hits other cars, talks a bad rap, but when the shoe is on the other foot, they become ‘SAFETY EXPERTS”

    When the driver got out of the no 12 car sunday, I thought it was “Ralph Nader talking”! Mabe he has gotten the message!

    Better not fine Carl and not Brad, Nascar should have gotten him straight last year! Carl seen they would not so he did the Earnhart SR thing, and the fine should be the same, nothing!!!!!!!!

  18. Glen H. Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Parking Edwards was enough of a penalty? Are you kidding me?

    Carl was already 150+ laps down and parking him for the last 4 laps didn’t change his position at all - same points, same share of the purse. Where’s the penalty there?

    I understand paybacks but think NA$CAR needs to take some points from CE or park him for a week. The point being that there has to be some point where the line is crossed and it looks like the line was crossed and a message needs to be sent.

    What if BK got hurt or was killed? What if he went into the crowd and hurt or killed some fans? Would you still be saying that parking CE was enough punishment?

    Remember, it always fun until someone gets hurt. Then it’s too late. Sunday, it came real close to being too late.

  19. Richard in N.C. Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Using your logic then it would have been OK for Carl to run into Brad on pitroad provided Carl didn’t think anyone else would get injured? There have to be some limits and it seems to me that Carl crossed the line Sunday. If you don’t know or, apparently, care what the results of your actions should be, then you should not be using a car to extract revenge. In any event, what was Carl’s intent? When he was in the garage while his car was being repaired Carl told Dick Bergeran that “We both had a part in it and it’s not his fault,…” Was Carl really being truthful after the wreck when he alleged that Brad’s going airborne “was not at all what I expected,…” When was Carl being truthful? Did he intend to put Brad into the fence? Was Carl wrecking Brad for something Carl admitted was not Brad’s fault? Everything has to have limits - and if you want to dance you better be prepared to pay the fiddler. I think Carl needs to lose all his driver points for Sunday and his share of the prize money.

  20. mkrcr Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    The only driver I’m going to mention is Mark Martin. I’m a fan back to ASA and he is regarded as one of the most respected drivers. BUT…If my driver did the same thing I would be in total agreement to fine him and take points heavily and park him for a race.
    The reason is this. It’s one thing to do a little sumtin’, sumtin’, in retaliation in the corner or after the race. That’s always been a part of racing and I think it’s what NA$CAR had in mind when they took the cuffs off of the drivers. But if a driver’s anger results in endangering fans, pit crew, or other drivers then it is blatantly unacceptable. NA$CAR should be able to penalize heavily in this situation without it meaning they’re going “back” on the original intent. There must be a message sent that there is a limit otherwise these kinds of incidents will escalate with possible tragic results, and NA$CAR will look like the usual buffoons.

  21. Bear Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    There are way too many “what if’s”,and “I Think’s” in the comments here.Whatif Brad or fans were hurt or killed?No one was! “I think this is what NASCAR meant”! We don’t know what nascar meant. “The line has been crossed”! What line? NASCAR effectively erased any line when they said”have at it boy’s”. If they want to make the right call it seems they should penalize Carl for entering pit row from the wrong direction, and then draw a line on aggression! Just my opinion

  22. James Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    If there is no further action taken by Nascar in this incident, then what is to prevent the intentional wrecking of any of the top 12 drivers by a non-chase driver in an effort to improve his or his teammates standing??
    I believe that if Nascar can and did penalize Carl Long with a 12 race suspension, a $200,000 fine AND!!! 200 owner/driver points for an engine .17 cubic inches over 358 CID, then what Carl Edwards intentionally did, deserves a similar punishment. Otherwise throw away the rulebook and let the toughest driver win.

  23. Chase Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Carl said that the wreck wasn’t as malicious as he thought. I think that after Carl saw the wreck he realized that it was actually his fault not Brad’s. Then, as soon as he got back out on the track he set sights on wrecking Brad. The first time he failed. Then got after having more time to think, when at him again. Anyway, What I was trying to say at the beginning of this is that Carl Edwards is EXTREMELY fake on camera. His cheesy Michael Waltrip esque attempts of promoting his sponsors and Fusion all the time got real old to me about a year ago. Now he comes on national television and admits that Brad didn’t do anything wrong, then goes out and wrecks him? This guy is FAKE and a PHONY. Carl is 3 times the size of Brad K, so why didn’t he just stir up a fight with the driver after the race? Maybe because despite being an amazing physical speciman by NASCAR standards, he is really just a big PU**Y? Wouldn’t surprise me. Maybe Carl was afraid that if he confronted Brad after the race, that maybe Brad’s Jackman or Gasman, someone his own size, would have stepped in and kicked his A**. My boy from Rochester Hills, MI hasn’t been intimidated yet, so I hope he goes out and takes care of NASCAR’s job for them and wrecks Carl a few more time’s this year, starting with Bristol.

  24. taco Says:
    March 9th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    lol thanks chase i needed a good chuckle today………

    to quote you “maybe brads jackman or gasman, or someone his own size, would have stepped in and kicked his a**” hmmmm is that what you think needs to happen, have someone tougher than brad fight his battles for him? thats some funny stuff……

  25. Marcus Says:
    March 10th, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I’m just saying that’s what happens when another driver goes to confront an opponent in anger. The crews get involved. Whatever’s gotta happen Mr. Taco. Your welcome for the laugh though.

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