By admin | March 15, 2010
By Richard Allen
With a week having gone by, a week with no racing at that, everyone has had a bit of time to cool off and reflect on the Carl Edwards vs. Brad Keselowski incident that took place during the Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta. Looking back, there was a lot to be learned from that episode and other stuff that took place in Atlanta. Here is a list I have compiled:
1. Perhaps the most important aspect of all in the incident between these two is that it showed the drivers most definitely took NASCAR at its word when the sanctioning body said, “Boys, have at it” and gave them the green light to police themselves.
The was no doubt as to what Edwards’ intentions had been when he took to the track more than 150 laps behind and he said as much in his post-crash interviews. The fact that Edwards was only given a three race probation for openly wrecking another driver opens a door for future payback type action from disgruntled competitors.
2. Along with the Edwards vs. Keselowski conflict came a predictably divided fan reaction over the incident and the subsequent penalty, or lack thereof.
One thing that became apparent as I read other columns, comments to this site, message boards and other sites is that fans and media have a hard time separating personalities from the issues. We all get so caught up in this guy vs. that guy that we may not give the issue at the root of the problem proper attention.
Instead of discussing whether or not self-policing is the right path to take, fans and media tended to take sides based on personalities. “Keselowski had it coming to him” or “Edwards is a Mr. Nice Guy one minute and then a double crosser the next” were common accusations.
One has to wonder if the next time something like this happens will everyone’s opinion completely change based on who is involved?
3. We also learned that Goodyear brought a less than perfect tire to Atlanta, which had been done before. Many may remember the time in which Tony Stewart called the tire manufacturer out after another race on this same track.
This most recent event had a number of tire related issues. Some of those failures were related to punctures but a number of others were obviously not so. Whether the excessive wear and subsequent troubles were due to improper setups on the cars or the poor quality of the tire is open for debate. However, the fact that the issues were not limited to only one or two teams but included as many as 18 different cars in one way or another would seem to indicate that the tire itself played at least some role in the failures.
Perhaps best of all for Goodyear was that in the post race discussion of the Edwards vs. Keselowski incident, tires were not a concern for many although a few drivers did mention it but with far less fanfare then the Stewart situation of a few years back.
4. We also saw that every race may not be destined to be a Hendrick/Chevrolet parade. Despite having won every race coming into Atlanta, Chevy drivers, and most notably Hendrick drivers, were not really much of a factor in the Kobalt Tools 500. So, predictions that Jimmie Johnson and the rest of the Chevy camp were going to completely dominate in 2010 may not come true after all, but certainly do not count them out of any race.
5. Another lesson learned from the Kobalt Tools 500 was that despite the predictions of awful carnage, the new green/white/checkered rule can serve its purpose well.
On the race’s first attempt at a g/w/c there was an accident involving multiple cars. That wreck would have happened whether the g/w/c rule had been changed or not. Rather than finish the event right then and there, the race got a second chance to finish under green. Immediately over scanners and from commentators there was the usual “We might be here all night” predictions. Instead, the fans got to see an exciting finish on the next attempt.
There were likely a number of other lessons learned in Atlanta but these are the five that stood out most to me. Feel free to add your own.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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