By admin | March 16, 2012
By Richard Allen
It’s long been a given in NASCAR racing that when paybacks are owed, short tracks are the best places to settle those debts. This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series will visit a place that has been the source of many feuds, either beginning or ending.
Bristol Motor Speedway serves as the embodiment of rough and tumble short track racing with its high banks and intense action. And often, tempers reach the boiling point on the half-mile concrete track which has resulted in more than a few drivers finding themselves on the receiving end of a ‘bump and run’ payback.
So far this season, one driver has found himself at the end of races being accused of misdeeds on more than one occasion. Carl Edwards ran afoul of Ryan Newman in Phoenix in an incident that damaged both cars but left Newman against the fence and bent out of shape in more ways than one.
After the Phoenix race, Newman said, “I’m 99 percent sure Carl Edwards didn’t do that on purpose, but I trusted him. Now he can’t trust me because there is a lot to be had and lost. We lost a lot today. I don’t know how much he lost, but that’s not the point.
“I don’t consider that a deliberate move by any means,” Newman added. “But we know plenty of times in this sport, what comes around goes around.”
Lots of things go around and come around in Bristol.
But that’s not all Edwards has to be worried about. Last week in Las Vegas, the driver had a late race run-in with Roush Fenway Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. The result of the bumping and banging in those late laps resulted in Kenseth hitting the outside wall and damaging his car.
Edwards and Kenseth have never really had the greatest of relationships as teammates. There is an infamous YouTube video of Edwards feigning a punch at Kenseth in Martinsville to back that up.
“Matt spun his tires just a little bit on the restart and I went down to the apron,” Edwards said. “He gave me a ton of room and we just got all bunched up over there. He ended up getting wrecked.
“I feel terrible,” the seemingly sorrowful Edwards added. “He did a really good job.”
For his part, Kenseth remained reserved but did not entirely agree with Edwards’ account of the incident. “I thought I got a good start,” he insisted. “I was right with Tony (Stewart, the leader at the time and eventual race winner). I didn’t lay back on Tony.
“Carl just laid back and got by me three-wide and then it just didn’t seem like there was a lot of room getting into one,” Kenseth added. “And then I did get clear behind him and he just stopped in the middle of the corner. I don’t really know what happened.
“I got into him a little bit and then I don’t know if I got the air pulled off on the right side or what happened. They always do that at the end,“ Kenseth continued. “You’ve got to be ready for that, so I don’t really know what I did up there.”
One has to wonder what Edwards might have to be ready for this weekend.
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