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Edwards' aggression tests NASCAR's new credo

Following Atlanta controversy, NASCAR now needs to respond to the incident involving Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards
Now that the boys indeed have “had at it,” NASCAR has a problem.

In the aftermath of Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the sanctioning body must decide to what extent it will discipline driver Carl Edwards for intentionally, blatantly and unabashedly wrecking Brad Keselowski on the 323rd lap of what was supposed to be a 325-lap race.

“Boys, have at it and have fun,” vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said during the off-season, coining a phrase that quickly became the mantra of NASCAR's new laissez-faire attitude toward its competitors.

Embargos against bump-drafting were lifted, holes in restrictor plates were widened to provide more horsepower at plate tracks, and drivers were encouraged to settle their differences on the asphalt. The term “self-policing” was bandied about ad nauseam.

The tack NASCAR would take was clearly evident during championship weekend last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, long before Pemberton's off-the-cuff remark would become the new watchwords of the sport.

In the Nationwide Series season finale, Denny Hamlin spun Keselowski, as he had promised to do a week earlier at Phoenix, where the drivers had traded shots on the racetrack. Hamlin, who had gotten the short end of the exchange at Phoenix was docked a lap at Homestead for the altercation.

The following day, in the final Sprint Cup race, Tony Stewart knocked Juan Pablo Montoya into the wall between turns three and four. Montoya spent the next 27 laps plotting his revenge, while his car was repaired in the garage area. He returned to the track and spun Stewart.

Because Keselowski and Stewart spun harmlessly, NASCAR treated both incidents with a wink and a nod. No harm, no foul. “Boys, have at it, and have fun.”

On Sunday at Atlanta, however, Keselowski wasn't as lucky. To the accompaniment of an audible, collective gasp from the main grandstand, Keselowski's #12 Dodge flipped over, slammed into the outside wall in the tri-oval, landed on its roof on the driver's side, righted itself and skidded into the wall in turn one.

In the process, NASCAR collected another testimonial to the safety enhancements of its new racecar. Keselowski appeared groggy and sore when he climbed from the car but otherwise none the worse for wear.




Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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Motojunky

March 10, 2010 3:27 AM

I must be missing something. When I used to go to the races as a youngster with my dad, what Carl did to Brad would have been cheered at and very professional. But here's the thing. It was called a demollission derby and that was the objective. Because NASCAR did nothing about this incident ( and various others ), it's now a free for all. What has a driver got to do to be penalised for their actions in the future? Drive up pit lane in the wrong direction. Unbeleivable that NUTSCAR has no balls to set certain guidlines, and falls back on "boys will be boys" principle. At least a circus has a ringmaster, more than NUTSCAR has.

puff - Unregistered

March 09, 2010 2:05 PM

If NASCAR is serious about all this, then the next time that Jeff Gordon intentionally bumps someone, re: Daytona, they'll need to penalize him too. And if action had been taken against Keselowski after he wrecked Edwards before, this incident wouldn't have happened. THEY NEED TO THROW THE BOOK AT EDWARDS. But they need to use the book when all incidents happen instead of a wink, a nod, a laugh, a that's great TV, and a boys will be boys. Either NASCAR takes care of everything or the drivers will continue to work it out between themselves on the track. Thank God Keselowski was okay. What about next time when its Jr or Stewart or one of the Buschs who get in a twist and NASCAR does nothing?



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