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From Brad vs. Carl to tire troubles, here’s what we learned after a week of reflection

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.

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 |

8 Responses to “From Brad vs. Carl to tire troubles, here’s what we learned after a week of reflection”

  1. mkrcr Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Another lesson learned, any good WWF soap opera will supplant legitimate racing news anytime. Who won the race? Kurt Busch has to feel like Rodney Dangerfield. A week later, there were legit tire problems? All this time we might have been finding out why instead, well, we all know the reason. Maybe one day this show will get back to a sport and we can talk about the things that really matter. Leave the rest to TMZ.

  2. Bill B Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 6:41 am

    I am starting to believe that there are two sets of NASCAR fans. Those that want a structured sport with drivers that carry themselves professionally and those that want the WWE and drivers that carry themselves like they’re on the Jerry Springer show.
    I don’t see how NASCAR will ever reconcile those polar opposites.

  3. Charles Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 7:12 am


    As far as the Chevy teams not dominating because of a bad performance at Atlanta!

    Look Kurt Busch won at Atlanta last year and lead over 200 laps, he was not as dominate this past race!

    Montoya was a front running Chevy, so I dont think nothing has changed, infact probably Chevy will and has been more dominate this year than last year!!!


    They picked, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, skipped Montoyta, got Scott Speed, and Mike Mcdowell!

    Proof that you are only allowed to dominate with a BOWTIE ON THE HOOD!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ted Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Charles, love the passion, tired of hearing about “conspiracies” that NASCAR favors Chevy…, because Jeff Gordon is really that good, he got help from NASCAR for those 4 titles. Oh, and Jimmie Johnson, terrible diver, but just lucky because NASCAR wants to see him with the trophy in his hands, because he drives a Chevy……Note my sarcasm… Also note, I am not a Chevy fan, I am a Ford guy….

    Also, there is a difference between “dominate” and “dominant”……

  5. Charles Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 10:56 am


    I dont drink the COOLAIDE that you are a Ford Fan!!!!!!!

    This is not just a Ford issue, it is Dodge, Toyota,as well!

    Fact is Fact, If you are a Chevy fan you are happy!!!!!!!!!!

    I am tired of favortism, and have the facts to back it up!

  6. Ritchie Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I learned that RPM is gonna kickass - GO AJ

  7. Ritchie Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Jeff Gordon was also very good in the Baby Ruth Ford. So, Yeah. he is just a good driver. Was bumbed when he jumped to Hendrick though.

  8. Richard in N.C. Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I believe we also learned that the media virtually always gives Jack Roush a pass - haven’t seen any interviews of Roush since the incident between Carl E. and Brad K. Did Carl have Roush’s OK and/or encouragement to go back on the track and mug Brad K.?