A lot has been said about the incident between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski during this past weekend's Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway.
By now, you know the story; Keselowski successful completed a bump and run on the No. 60 Aflac Ford. With the laps winding down and the threat of losing even more points to the No. 22 Penske Dodge becoming more prevalent, Edwards deliberately took Special K out, sending him spinning into oncoming traffic.
As a result, Edwards won and Bob Keselowski, Brad's father, said Edwards was going to “kill my boy”. The younger Keselowski and Edwards both agreed in their post race interviews that the contact was intentional.
The debate has raged on two days after the fact. Should the win be taken away? What should Edwards' penalty be, if any? What's this say about NASCAR's hands off policy?
First, let me address the elder Keselowski's comments. If someone honestly thinks Edwards was trying to kill Keselowski, they need to have their head checked immediately. There's a very, very big difference between taking a car out to win and trying to outright injure or kill someone. And frankly, if NASCAR believed that was Edwards' intent, don't you think the sanctioning body would have taken action immediately?
I'd also like to point out to Mr. Keselowski that his son was not injured in any of his altercations with Edwards, but several fans were injured when Keselowski spun Edwards to earn his first Sprint Cup win last year at Talladega.
Secondly, since the deaths of Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, Jr. and Dale Earnhardt., NASCAR has made great strides in driver safety. Looking at the wreck earlier in the race between Matt DiBenedetto and Brade Coleman, NASCAR should be commended on the fact that these drivers were in fact able to walk away from these and other violent wrecks. I am not at all making light of the fact that this is a dangerous sport, but the chance of a driver dying in a car today are much, much lower.
Now, should Edwards be penalized for his actions? How harsh should the penalty be? Or was this yet another example of “have at it, boys”? I don't believe, for one, that Edwards should have the win taken away, nor do I believe he should be suspended. Yes, he and Keselowski have history. But Edwards was going for the win, and who's to say if it had been someone else, he wouldn't have done the same exact thing? Would it have been viewed different if it hadn't been Keselowski?
So the obvious solution would be probation, yes? Well, Edwards was already (unfairly, in my opinion) put on three race probation last season after contact with Keselowski sent him airborne. Would the right thing to do be putting him on probation for the rest of the year?
Maybe so. But my idea for Edwards penalty is something a bit different. Fining him is going to make but a small dent in his bank account. And while taking points away may end his hopes of winning another Nationwide title, he has bigger fish to fry in the Cup Series.
Lost in the ongoing feud between these two are the innocent victims that return back to the shops with wrecked racecars. In the Talladega incident, Ryan Newman managed to hang on to finish third, but took home a destroyed No. 39 US ARMY Chevy. And this past Saturday night, several cars sustained damage when Special K was sent spinning into the pack.
Maybe NASCAR should make Edwards pay back those teams for the damages, and place him on probation for the rest of the season. And do the same to Keselowski when and if he decides to pay Cousin Carl back for this latest chapter in their ongoing rivalry.
But is that fair, either? And if NASCAR choices to stick with such a penalty, how will they determine a “racing incident” from incidental contact? Regardless of that uncertainty, maybe taking such extreme measures will bring this feud to an end.
But is that what we really want?