In this Corner............Ding, Ding
Dale Wilkerson July 2010
In this corner, the leader of the Missouri Wrecking Crew, Carl The Crippler Edwards. His opponent tonight; the number one contender for the Nationwide Heavyweight Championship, Bad Brad Keselowski.
The track announcers at The Brickyard and O’Reilly Raceway Park may decide to introduce Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski in that matter this weekend after the melee that took place in St. Louis this past Saturday night.
Keselowski, at the slow end of the Gateway Speedway, nudged Carl Edwards in the left rear corner of his bumper to retake the lead. Edwards retaliated by slamming into the right rear corner of Keselowski’s Dodge. The impact sent Keselowski driver’s side first into a cement wall. The safer barriers are only installed on the corners. After the hit, his out of control car came back across the track in front of a thundering herd of cars. He slammed the inside wall, and was then t-boned in the passenger side which sent the car into a series of 360’s until sledding to a stop.
At Loudon a few weeks ago, Kurt Busch nudged Jimmy Johnson the same way Keselowski did Edwards. How did Johnson handle the impact? Johnson ran Busch down and returned the favor. So what is the difference you ask?
Both Busch and Johnson respected each other and their fellow competitors enough to just rub and nudge each other. After the race, Busch said he was expecting Johnson to hit him back. Johnson said he was mad, but he controlled his anger enough to just race hard, not wreck the other guy and cause a mess that pulled other cars into the carnage.
When a driver hooks another driver in the right rear corner, he has nothing but bad intentions on his mind. Edwards has apparently forgotten what happened the last time he tried to deliberately wreck another car. That one wound up slamming a wall at the Atlanta Motor Speedway upside down before rolling over and stopping in turn one. That car was driven by Brad Keselowski.
NASCAR slapped Edwards on the hand, said play nice and gave him a three week suspension. Guys like Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Spencer, Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd, Kyle Petty, to name a few have got to be wondering why Edwards is getting a pass. Petty was black flagged for hitting a lapped car at Charlotte because it was thought he was attempting to bring out a caution. Harvick was sent home after he clipped a Joe Gibbs racing truck at Martinsville once. That’s right sent home, not allowed to race in the Sprint Cup race the next day.
Keselowski has the reputation of being a hot head on the racetrack, but nudging a man is a lot different than turning a man. How many times did we see the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. rattle somebody’s cage? Okay now think about this one: How many times was he black-flagged for rough driving? Not many, one that stands out though was at Charlotte.
After a run-in with Geoff Bodine during the then Busch Race on Saturday, Earnhardt and Bodine had another mashing of the fenders in turns three and four. NASCAR parked Earnhardt for five laps that day, and after a meeting with Bill France Jr. in Daytona, the two seemed to ‘play nice’ with each other on the race track.
Keselowski did make contact with Edwards, but when you look at the retaliatory strike of Edwards, it looked as if Keselowski had carried a knife to a gun fight.
This weekend Edwards had better tighten those safety belts extra tight. If NASCAR doesn’t drop the hammer on Edwards for this mess, Keselowski may decide to lower the boom himself.