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Edwards’ move was dirty but should not be punished

By admin | July 18, 2010

By Richard Allen

Before getting into the issue at hand in this piece I want to first say that I have been a Carl Edwards fan since he first came into the Camping World Truck Series. As a matter of fact, I have one of his T-shirts hanging in my closet.

With that said, however, the move he made on Brad Keselowski on the last lap of Saturday’s Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Gateway International Raceway was dirty and cheap. Not only was it dirty and cheap but it could have even been deadly. And furthermore, it caused a great deal of expensive damage to people not in any way involved in the feud between these two drivers.

As the two drivers took the white flag signifying one lap to go, Keselowski made a move to the inside of Edwards. When they reached turn one the two cars touched which allowed Kieslowski a slight advantage. After racing essentially side by side down the back stretch and through turns three and four, Edwards turned his car left as they roared toward the finish line hitting Keselowski in the right rear.

After the contact, Keselowski’s car veered hard right and head-on into the outside wall. Then, on a track which has walls on either side of the front straightaway, the helpless car slid in front of oncoming traffic and was hit hard by several other machines. Luckily, Keselowski and the other drivers were unhurt but several cars were destroyed.

“I just couldn’t let him take the win from me,” Edwards unashamedly declared in victory lane in reference to the turn one contact initiated by Keselowski. “My guys work way too hard for that.”

In its early history, NASCAR was a rough business. Wild crashes, fights and retaliation were somewhat commonplace. However, in recent years the sport has become very antiseptic. So, to those not familiar with the background of this form of racing this rough and tumble type action is new and difficult to grasp.

NASCAR announced a policy of ‘Boys, have at it’ at the beginning of the 2010 season and as a result, the driving has gotten a bit rougher and the barbs a bit shaper.

But even with the ‘Have at it’ policy, this incident crossed some sort of line. Back in the old days, one thing that was considered off limits was the right rear of another driver’s car. Contact in that part of the car causes a head-on impact with the wall and thus opens the door for heavy damage and serious injury.

But although the move was dirty and even taboo in the racing world, there can be no punishment for it. Edwards, in my opinion, should not receive any points reduction, fine or probation. The reason I say this is that when NASCAR introduced ‘Have at it’ they spelled out no guidelines. They did not say there are limits, they simply said, ‘Have at it’. It cannot be assumed that everyone knew what they meant.

I defended Edwards when he wrecked Keselowski earlier this year in Atlanta. In that case, he hit his opponent’s car in the left rear. By the remorse in his voice over the in-car radio it was apparent he did not intend for Keselowski’s car to fly into the catch fence as it did. He simply meant to send him for a spin after a previous incident in that race had ended his chances at victory.

In this case, however, I am willing to call the move what it was, dirty and cheap. It was not the way to win a race, or even exact revenge. However, he should not be punished for it. If NASCAR wants to redefine the policy that is their business. But no matter how the heads of the sport may feel about the move, there is likely little remorse in their Daytona Beach offices over the amount of publicity the Nationwide Series received from the highlights on SportsCenter.

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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.

Topics: Articles |

36 Responses to “Edwards’ move was dirty but should not be punished”

  1. Randy Stewart Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I’ll be great when Carl finally gets what’s coming to him. The other driver can just say “well gee, I was just having at it. You didn’t day I couldn’t end his career. And good old NASCAR will just say, oh boy, just think of next weeks TV ratings! They’ll be through the roof.
    Where does this end?

  2. Bill Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I don’t know why everyone is so upset with Carl Edwards. Us older fans watched the legend, Dale Earnhart Sr. do this same move and he was considered a hero. Just ask Terry Labonte or Rusty Wallace.
    Some folks might be recent fans and others might have memory issues when it comes to Sr.
    I am glad that nobody was hurt though.

  3. NOT5FOR48 Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Everyone seems to forget a NASCAR ruling against another driver at a Martinsville Truck race that cost his next Cup start for retaliating in a manner that caused a similar wreck. The precedent was set then why not now? Carl inability to spin someone else or himself is going to seriously injure or kill a fan as an end result, will everyone e making excuses or defending him then?

  4. Budreaux Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 5:44 am

    If Jimmie Johnson had wrecked Kurt Busch at NH after Busch put the bump and run on him for the win, would you have called JJ’s move “Cheap and Dirty”? I doubt it.

    Remember, JJ had about three laps to cool down. Carl and BK were on the last lap.

    I’m sorry Richard, most of the time I’m in agreement with you. However, you’re way off base on this one.

  5. Charles Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 6:00 am

    This feud reminds me a lot of the Dale Sr and Geoff Bodine wrecking each other!

    After watching Nascar since 1963, most of the time the car did the talking, very seldom did a slower car by taking a cheap shot to win!

    If you look back especially in the 1970s very few times did drivers take a cheap shot, or hit and run, take the air of someone spoiliers to aggrevate another driver, in the Pearson, Petty era! Dont get me wrong I know they did have some contacts but it was mostly civil, the 1979 Daytona 500 was a exception with the fight at the finish!

    Then in the eighties in the Dale Sr, Rusty Wallace, Tim Richmond era, they got more agressive, hit and run, take air off spoilers knowing it would have the same effect as hitting the other car and spinning someone out!

    When I was Utubing the replay, there are two sides to the story, when Brad hit Carl, if you stop the tape Carl had got up high and Brad had the whole bottom lane he could have used to get by Carl and not have to rub on him, then Carl did the Dale Sr thing and reacted just as he would have!

    Nascar called Dale Sr and Geoff Bodine in for a conference and it seemed to end the feud, and it may would be the best thing to do now! But with the low attendence and rating I dont think they will do much! In fact Dale Sr kept at it to other drivers and Nascar seemed to turn a blind eye!

    I remember when Bill France Jr said they were in the “entertainment business” not a sport, thats when I lost a lot of respect for Nascar and how it could manufacter or condone the action to sell tickets or rating !

  6. Jerry Mallard Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 6:25 am

    From a Bill Elliott fan: the media writes that Earnhardt Sr. was the greatest ever and yet Carl’s move is dirty. Get a life! This is NASCAR!

  7. Aaron Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 6:43 am

    If Dumb Carl is not punished, he will continue he stupid ways. Dummy has had problems with other drivers also.
    I bet he won’t try that with Happy Harvick or Smoke Stewart if he does,he will have his hands full. He should be banned for the rest of the season. That’s my take and I’m stick-in to it.

  8. Lydia Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Mr. Allen…I do believe after the incident in Atlanta between these two “angels” NASCAR said there IS a line..and they will know it when it is crossed. The line WAS crossed Saturday night. Now..we shall see if NASCAR lives up to their promise…or if as usual..they were blowing smoke. I understand they are receiving tons of media attention due to this altercation…but I hope they aren’t under the mistaken idea all publicity is good publicity…because if they let this keep up the headlines might be quite different next time..quite morbid…and quite expensive for them. I love this sport..I love the beating and banging and fists and words between the drivers. I DO NOT like the childish and somewhat not so sane rantings of Edwards. He has put his temper on the line with a number of drivers…Harvick, Stewart, Kenseth, Biffle…etc., and seems to live in a world of his own. Carl had his “chance” after Atlanta..and it is very apparent he still carries quite the chip on his shoulder when it comes to racing Brad. The racing up to the point of Carl’s punt was quite exciting and good hard racing…but if the slightest touch from Brad causes Carl to “go off the deep end” and take half the field out..something needs to be done.

  9. Mike Winston Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 7:01 am

    I agree with you that the move was dirty, I disagree with you that it should not be punished. Had Carl bumped Brad in the corner, like Brad did to him it would have been different. This is twice that Carl has decided to spin Brad on a straight which is a most dangerous place to do it, not to mention the other cars he also took out. NASCAR needs to take a hard look at this incident and hand down a punishment much like they did to Harvick a few years ago. Sit Carl out of all NASCAR sanctioned events for one week. This punishment will do two things; it will hurt Carl which is what punishments are for and it is not harsh enough to rain on the publicity that the Nationwide series wants. Then again maybe NASCAR should just not worry about the publicity and do what should be done which is to suspend Carl for the rest of the year, strip him of the win and force Carl and Roush to pay for all of the cars that were crashed due to this incident.

  10. Richard Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 7:45 am

    When the “Intimidator” did it to Texas Terry,he said I was just trying to rattle his cage.Carl has to come up with a slogan and maybe that will shut up all the whiners!Go Carl!

  11. JimCT Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 8:17 am

    With all due respect I think Carl Edwards and the writer have both lost your their. These aren’t matchbox cars we’re talking about here and he’s going to get someone killed. Actually, if this isn’t taken seroiusly it will be because of idiots making excuses like “He didn’t mean for his car to fly into the stands”. Wow that’s stunningly stupid. But I guess as long as none of your friends or family get killed it’s OK for Carl to feed his ego and NASCAR to feed it’s lust for controversy and wrecks. Unfortunately it just doesn’t qualify as racing, and that’s what I pay to see - not blood.

  12. Bob Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Edwards needs to learn how to control his emotions on the race track. You didn’t see Johnson wreck Ku. Busch at Loudon at Busch gave him the bump and run. Johnson ran him down gave him the bump and run back in return. This is someone that Edwards needs to learn. You can’t wreck everyone that moves you out of the way.

  13. goat Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I suppose it was dirty, but Keselowski’s turn 1 tap was dirty, too. Edwards’ plowing may have looked blatant, but Keselowski moved up into Edwards more than Edwards turned down, although he did pinch Keselowski down quite a bit, so he did “turn down” with regards to the racing line.

    One thing that hasn’t been talked about much is that this crash would have been mostly uneventful had Keselowski not gotten back in the gas after his contact with the wall. That’s what sent him down to the inside wall, where he was hit violently. It could be that his throttle was stuck, but no one seems to have asked about this.

  14. chucksr. Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Good morning,Carl cant win in cup and cant win in nationwide without taking the leader. Saturday at Gateway yurned out to be the last straw for Carl as Brad made contact with him in what was clearly a racin deal then Carl turns him in the front stretch. look at all the money it will cost other teams to put there equipment back in racing condition to say the least. If Nascar wont take care of this Jack should. Thanks

  15. mikeyfan5599 Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 10:37 am

    NASCAR suspended Kevin Harvick from a cup race, I believe it was 2003, for an infraction less than this one, so I believe a suspension is warranted.

    I too defended Carl in March at Atlanta, but what Carl did was the perfect “Pit Manuver” that police use and for that he should be punished. But I do have too major points to bring up, If Carl had done this 30 years ago, he would have been met in the garage area by drivers, crew chiefs and owners and giving his come upens. The next time we would see Carl he’d be wearing sun glass to hide his black eyes and sporting a swollen jaw and busted lips.

    The next point is I hope someone will ask Carl after Richmond if this “Minor League” win was worth him throwing his chance of making the chase away. Because Roger Penske will have a bounty on Carl’s head, I’m sure of it, paying the go or go homers money to take him out, and keep him out of the chase. Plus Brad will get his revenge. Also Carl let the rest of the Drivers in the garage know it is ok to run him over if your going for the win. Do what you have to, put him in the wall spin him out whatever, just so you can win the race.

  16. mikeyfan5599 Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    People say this is what Dale Sr. did, Wrong, Dale did his bumping in turns, not on the straights and he also didn’t “Pit” anyone. I had a very strong dislike for Dale Sr. I wished each week that he would be taken out but Never did I see him do this to someone. Even the “Rattling his cage” incident with terry was done in the turn and Terry road the wall and everything else to get the win. Also, the first thing Dale did was make sure Terry was ok, What did Carl do when he got out of the car? He started making excuses and justifying what he said. Never once did he ask how Brad or anyone else was. Not once did he say he hoped everyone was ok, As far as he was concerned 2 people could have died and other could have been crippled and all he would have done was try to blame it on Brad because Brad touched him and used the 8 wheels better in the turns than 4 rule. Carl needs to be taught a lesson.

  17. Andrew Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Heh yeah we’re seein Carl all frustrated. I wonder when he’s gonna kill someone.

  18. Steve Clark Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Carl, what about the teams’ behind you and Brad, did you ever think of the carnage that you left with their machines? Good move. YOU should pay for all their repairs. These drivers get paid waaaaay too much money to act like spoiled brats. If they ran their own teams, they wouldn’t dare do such driving. Can we continue to watch this guy act like a 3-year old? Nascar, you are responsible for your own. And Carl Edwards is one of yours.

  19. Gail Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I have been a NASCAR fan for 25 years, so I am not a “newbie” who has to be educated about how tough NASCAR is. I have seen drivers killed in races and seen my favorite driver suffer a career-threatening injury at Dega. Most of those really were “accidents,” in that drivers made mistakes or circumstances converged to cause serious injury.

    However, there is no place in a legitimate sport for cheap shots, for intentionally causing injury or the immediate risk of injury. What Carl did crosssed every line in sports, whether or not NASCAR has a rule which spells out exactly what “dirty driving” is. Not only did he inentionally wreck Brad, his actions put Brad’s life and the lives of the drivers behind them (essentially the rest of the field) at risk - just so he could win a second-tier event and do a back flip!

    In 1991, NASCAR took a win away from Ricky Rudd after he intentionally spun Davey Allison on the last lap at Sonoma. There was plenty of “have at it” in those days, but NASCAR officials knew Rudd had crossed the line and responded to it. Carl should have been stripped of his win this weekend, but since that didn’t happen, he should be fined and docked more than enough points to compensate for cheating Brad out of the win. I would also favor suspending him since he has already been on probation and obviously did not learn a thing from it.

    As the Supreme Court said, “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it,” so should NASCAR officials know dirty, dangerous driving when they see it and respond to stop it.

  20. Bill H Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Don’t let your bias show or anything with your “the two cars touched” in turn one and then “Carl hit Brad” coming out of turn four. When Brad does the hitting it’s “the cars touched” and is perfectly clean, but when Carl gives Brad exactly what Brad gave him, it’s “Carl hit Brad” and was a dirty move.

    If Brad wants to play bumper cars, he needs to learn to do it better.

  21. Bill B Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I just hope some people start blatantly taking Carl out of some races. I remember Tony Stewart did at Pocono a couple of years ago. What are you waiting for Brad, knock him out of a couple of races.

  22. oozone Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I think those 2 should go outside the racetrack and settle thier differences. One gets a butt whipping and the other learns not to do what he did to precipitate what caused his butt whipping. I’ve been around racing since I was 10 yrs old and I’m 63 now, I still race and I settle my stuff away from the racetrack.

  23. AUGI Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 12:57 pm


  24. Bob Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I’m with oozone. Settle it with words and fists, if necessary. Using race cars as weapons is extremely dangerous to fans and other competitors. Too many “innocent” victims get hurt in these deals including teams that can’t afford to just unload another car off the hauler. These guys are showing contempt for the equipment and the crew members who work long hours away from their families.

  25. Richard Racehorse Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 4:41 pm


    Excellent question, Augi. We all know that the answer is no. We also know that if there had been no contact at all, Cousin Carl would have won the race.

    At race speed, these cars cannot be guided with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. It’s a fine line between bump and run, and taking the other guy out.

    You plays the game, you pays the price.

    Believe me, in Cup racing, Brad has a lot more fellow racers looking to give him a payback than does Carl.

    Quit your whinin’ Brad and dad!

  26. Bob Calsetta Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Yeah it was a dirty cheap shot very much like Dale Sr was known for but if after previous altercations Brad should have been a lot smarter and seen it coming . Brad doesn’t seem to learn that if you mess with the bull you get the horn ! Brad will get respect when he earns it. Carl raced him side by side without incident until Brad took a shot at him.

  27. Marybeth Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Was Carl tested for drugs after the race…?

  28. marty Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    i think its sad that a cup driver cares so little about the guys who are trying to make a living running the nationwide series. they need to take it out in the cup field, but if they did that the other drivers would sit them down for a chat. they ended up tearing up cars of nationwide teams that struggle to make a living in the series and yet nobody seems to care about them. Nascar should make edwards pay for the repairs to all those cars tore up by this stupid move or ban him from running the nationwide series the rest of the year. If I was Brad i promise you edwards would not make the chase.

  29. Gene Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Agree with every word you said Rich.

    Hitting another car in the right rear fender has led to many an ass whipping at the local short tracks. It’s the dirtiest, most chicken$^!t move a coward can make!

  30. Richard in N.C. Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve been a fan since the early 1960’s and Carl’s the first driver I can think of who did not care who he hurt.

  31. Keith Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Richard you are right on the money about the fact that hitting someone in the quaterpanel is a dirty move. To all you morons who compare this to what Dale Sr did you are the dumbest race fans ever. When Dale hit you he did it on a part of the car called a BUMPER not a Quaterpanel and this is why they are called BUMPERS. He gave you a chance to control your car as when you hit someone as hard as Carl did to Brad and never let off the gas you mean to wreck them not move them out of the way. You never hit anyone in the quaterpanel on purpose unless you want to wreck them. The only thing I will agree about is sometimes Dale hit drivers in the corners on the rear bumper which should also not be done but it does not automatically cause a wreck.

  32. Ron Hill Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I really hope you so called race fans can step back and see that brad drives out of control and has no reguard for any driver .Carl done what he said he would do race me clean or pay the pipper.As for daddy Bob learn your boy something you never have earn respect and it will come back to you ,Carl did what any man with guts would do retaliate ,you winners make me sick your favorite driver had done this you would have said WELL DONE maybe you have not noticed but I can tell you I been a fan for over 40 years and right not nascar is as boreing as it has ever been lets get to what nascar is go get em boys raceing

  33. court Says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Edwards did what he did with no regret no ounce of feeling wrong…in the real world we call that a criminal. NASCAR has but one choice, and that is to set carl out for the remainder of the NNS season. Carl is not what NASCAR needs and does not desrve the title chanmpion. Brad is young and does stupid things but he has always “raced” people. NASCAR wants to start limiting NSCS drivers in the NNS I say NASCAR NEEDS TO SART WITH OLE COUSIN CARL EDWARDS!

  34. Ritchie Says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Why the F does Harvick stick his guilty nose in everyones biz? Go ahead Howdee Doodee Harvick.
    Harvick is a loud mouth prick.
    I like both Brad and Carl. But Brad got what he paid for.
    WTF did he expect?? This aint touch football.

  35. Ritchie Says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Quote “Dale did his bumping in turns” .

    OMG. are you for real?

    Dale Sr was a great driver. He took himself out. How ironic.

  36. mkrcr Says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    To me it’s not the fact that contact happened, it’s the level of contact. How about when Kurt bumped Jimmy? Did Jimmy crash Kurt? No, he returned it with a like action and WON. Edwards goes way over the top which makes me believe there’s more of an issue there than payback. If NA$CAR is going to police anything, it’s the actions that will get someone hurt, regardless of the safety of the car, or causes the large financial hit that those other teams took. NA$CAR’s supposed to be all about saving the teams money, right?