Over The Line? The Great Carl Debate

By Farrah Kaye and Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)

Farrah:

As the Nationwide race at Gateway International Raceway came to a close, I was reading the lap-by-lap on nascar.com. The back and forth between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski was exciting even in words on a screen. I figured one would take the checkered flag and we’d move on to the next race.

Until I read this:

“Lap 200: Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards make contact turns one and two. Edwards then wrecks Keselowski coming off turn four. There’s a huge wreck behind them. Edwards takes the checkered flag.

Keselowski takes a vicious hit from Shelby Howard in the melee, but appears to be OK. Edwards says in Victory Lane that he couldn’t allow Keselowski to take the win from him, that he had to do what he had to do.”

The first thing that came to mind was, gosh I hope Keselowski is okay. The second thought I had was FLASHBACK: ATLANTA.
Was Edwards’ intentionally wrecking Keselowski again?

Toby:

It appeared instantly to me to be intentional. You could clearly see Edwards veer left into Keslowski coming off of turn four. As soon as the incident happened I too thought, wow really? NASCAR has already sat Edwards and Keselowski down once this year for this kind of on track activity, yet Edwards still didn’t let that come between him going over the line yet again Saturday night.

I was in shock that this could happen again.

Farrah:

Here is what Edwards has to say about the event:

“I just couldn’t let him take the win from me,” said Edwards. “My guys work way too hard for that. We had a great restart. My guys built me a great car. We came to the checkered flag, and I hate to see stuff tore up, but we came here to win and he took it from us there in Turn 1. Just an awesome race. I’m sure some of them don’t like that win—Brad Keselowski fans and stuff—but, man, I just couldn’t let him take it from me. I had to do what I had to do.”

Toby:

That quote is not really much different than what he said in Atlanta. Edwards there also admitted that he purposely crashed Keselowski, and this seems to be a trend that is getting scarier each time the two touch. What is extremely troubling is that in Carl Edward’s mind a bump and run deserves this kind of payback…

Just weeks ago Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch put on a show with their bump and runs. That is what separates champions from challengers. Champions know how to nudge someone just enough to move them without sending them careening across the track into oncoming traffic… There is a fine line between what Busch and Johnson did a few weeks ago, and what Edwards did Saturday night.

Farrah:

And what did Keselowski have to say?

“He turned left into me and wrecked me on purpose,” Keselowski said. “I gave him the lane, and he still wrecked me. I figured out a way to beat him. He wasn’t happy with me, so he wrecked me. Wrecking down the straightaway is never cool, whether it’s at 200 mph or 120. I’m sorry that’s the way it had to end.”

Whether you’re on Team Brad or Team Carl, in the end, it appears Carl Edwards has a problem with being beat to the checkered flag and is willing to move Keselowski – or maybe anyone? – out of the way to get there.

He is in a slump in both NNS and NSCS so his frustration is understandable, but at what cost will he stop? Sending Keselowski airborne in Atlanta was strike one, this incident is strike two.

Will strike three put someone in the hospital? Permanently injure them? Something worse?!

Toby:

I think you make a great point Farrah. Edwards has had a rough stretch in the past year or so, and maybe that is the catalyst for some of these antics.

However it’s really incredible to me how short people’s memories are. It was just back in 2000 and 2001 that we lost Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, Tony Roper, and Dale Earnhardt… Yet fans now believe that with modern advancements in safety that serious injury or death are a thing of the past in NASCAR.

That is one of the scariest things that I have seen in this entire “rivalry”. The fact that fans and drivers are beginning to get too comfortable with safety. It’s been since 2001 that a NASCAR driver has died on the track, and I want to keep it that way. If you want to retaliate do it off the track. A fist to the face seems like a better option than possible homicide. Just a thought.

Farrah:

Other drivers have done similar things … take a look at Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. (or half the Infineon field!). But never once would I say Gordon put someone’s life in danger. Most drivers know their limits, know when enough is enough, when to take their frustrations out with words rather than with their cars.

Yes. Edwards is using his car as a weapon. While some drivers may get grief for putting down others, their teams, things they say over their radio, etc. … at least they are not putting people in harms way.

I’m curious to find out how NASCAR handles this new situation. With Edwards’ blatant admission of guilt, there must be some form of punishment. And considering he’s already been put on probation for the same type of incident (with the same driver nonetheless!) this year, I’m wondering if there isn’t a suspension looming.

Toby:

In my opinion Farrah suspension is the only way to go at this point. Carl Edwards has in my opinion abused the right of being behind the wheel of any race car in any series. He has put drivers, fans, and especially Brad Keselowski’s life in danger… on purpose… on more than one occasion. He was warned at Atlanta that what he did there isn’t what they meant by ‘have at it boys’.

That was his one free pass simply because NASCAR wasn’t specific about their new rule…

NASCAR needs to sit him down for a week, two weeks or whatever they see fit. Then and only then will he truly understand the gravity of what he is doing on the racetrack, and maybe he will respect the fact that he gets to drive a race car for a living just a little more.

Now I know that some are arguing that Brad Keselowski ‘had it coming’… Really? I know Keselowski is a hard charger and races hard, but if If Shelby Howard hits Keselowski at just the right angle we could be talking about a whole different subject today, and it wouldn’t be a pleasant one. Is that a fair punishment for a little bump and run?

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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