Brad Keselowski climbed from his #22 Nationwide Series Dodge after completing his Saturday morning qualifying lap, pulled off his helmet, looked at his reflection in the rear window of his car and smoothed his hair — knowing he was about to become the focal point for a phalanx of TV cameramen.
Carl Edwards, parked next to Keselowski on pit road at Bristol Motor Speedway, leaned across the roof of the #22 Dodge and spoke to the driver he had sent flipping and flying 13 days earlier at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"We just talked about our qualifying laps," said Keselowski, whose time was good enough for the pole in Saturday's Scott's Turf Builder 300. He finished the race second.
An hour earlier, the two drivers and their car owners, Roger Penske for Keselowski and Jack Roush for Edwards, were closeted in the NASCAR hauler talking about something far more serious — the wreck that should serve as a wake-up call for any driver bent on revenge on the racetrack.
It was a productive meeting, if not a meeting of the minds.
"Everything went really well," Edwards said after the exchange on pit road. "I think the biggest thing coming out of that meeting is that now, I think, Brad and I understand one another a little better. I think we're going to be able to just go forward and go racing, and that's what this is all about.
"It was really cool to be able to talk with Jack and Roger and Brad all at once. We laughed. We cried. In the end, I think it's going to be good."
From Keselowski's standpoint, you'd need a time machine to erase the issue completely.
"The only way you're going to be satisfied is if we could back up two weeks and it would have never happened,” he said. “Anything besides that is just what it is. I'm satisfied with where we're at moving forward, but I wouldn't say I'm satisfied with the whole situation. …
"You have to understand that Carl and I have a mutual respect, because, in a sense, we're almost the same people. We come from similar backgrounds and drive the same way. I had a lot of respect for him before and after the accident, so hopefully that will stay the same."
Roush acknowledged that the two drivers may not see eye to eye, but he expects them to avoid the sort of close-quarters accident that wrecked Edwards' Ford on lap 40 at Atlanta and spurred Edwards to avenge the mishap later in the race.