20 July 2010
Edwards could be hurting his popularity
The epic battle between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski continues
With the Sprint Cup Series enjoying some rare down time, it was a chance for the Nationwide Series and Truck Series to shine last weekend at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.
But these dang Cup guys just can't stay out of the spotlight, can they? (At least when the power remains on, that is).
And once again, Brad Keselowski was right in the middle of all of it.
Say what you will about Keselowski -- and Carl Edwards had plenty to say after winning the Nationwide race later Saturday -- but the brash kid sure can drive.
Saturday wasn't the first time Edwards and Keselowski have tangled with dire consequences this season, of course. In an earlier Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Keselowski got into Edwards early in the event -- and after sitting out much of the race to get his car repaired, Edwards made the unwise decision to deliberately wreck Keselowski at high speed on a straightaway. Edwards was 156 laps down at the time, while Keselowski was running in the top 10.
The two later sat through a summit in the NASCAR hauler and emerged to say at least most of the right things, and since that meeting of the minds they had been racing each other pretty clean up until the final lap Saturday night.
That's why Edwards probably lost more respect than he gained by booting Keselowski again, and admitting -- again -- that he did so on purpose. On one hand, you have to work up at least a little respect for Edwards' honesty. But on the other, you have to wonder if Keselowski's charge of Edwards not facing "reality" has more merit.
While it's true that Keselowski touched him up a bit in Turn 1 on the final lap at Gateway, that contact seemed to be incidental. Furthermore, both the No. 99 Ford of Edwards and the No. 22 Dodge of Keselowski seemed to gather themselves after the initial contact and regain all lost momentum. It was, most observers seemed to agree, one of them racin' deals and they still had three-fourths of a lap left to settle the issue the right way.
In fact, Edwards regained the lead briefly before Keselowski surged in front again, this time without touching him. It was shortly after that when Edwards turned left into Keselowski's right-rear quarterpanel and sent him spinning for another wild and dangerous ride.
So now the Edwards-Keselowski rivalry is freshly renewed. Brad's father, Bob, even threw down a verbal barrage after Saturday's incident -- saying in a television interview that Edwards "flipped out like he did at Atlanta and tried to kill the kid." A former racer himself, Bob Keselowski added: "I'm sick and tired of this. I'll get my own damn uniform back on and take care of this. He ain't gonna kill my boy."
As with the previous incident between the two in Atlanta, there is absolutely no question that Edwards had no intention to do physical harm to Keselowski. He's not that kind of guy.
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