20 July 2010
Edwards could be hurting his popularity
The problem is, when you wreck someone deliberately, it sets off a chain of events that no one really controls to any great extent. So it was that when Edwards clipped Keselowski and sent him spinning first into the outside wall and then into the inside wall, that led to Keselowski also getting broad-sided at high speed by two additional cars coming from behind that had nowhere else to go.
Keselowski walked away again, thankfully. But it could have been serious.
Edwards left no question about his motives during a television interview in Victory Lane. He said he thought Keselowski had tried to take the win away from him by bumping him in Turn 1 on the final lap, and that he believed turnabout was fair play.
"I just couldn't let him take the win from me," Edwards said. "We came to win. He took it from us there in Turn 1. And, man, I just couldn't let him take it from us. I had to do what I had to do."
Later, during the winner's interview in the Gateway media center, Edwards added: "The deal is he'll eventually learn he can't run into my car over and over and put me in bad situations. In every situation, there is an aggressor and there is someone who reacts. I was not the aggressor in this situation."
The fact is, though, just as at Atlanta earlier in the season, Edwards was a little too quick and went a little too far in exercising his brutal form of retaliation. In doing so -- even in winning at all costs at the place he considers his home track, where he is very popular -- Edwards lost more respect than he might have gained by finishing second in this one.
Now both drivers move forward with more bad baggage piling up between them. Keselowski hinted that he thought Edwards' act was that of a desperate driver looking to make up points in the race for a Nationwide championship that almost certainly is going to come down to the two bitter rivals.
"I think he's trying to figure out how he can win the points when he hasn't run very well all year," Keselowski said. He also added, "Wrecking someone down the straightaway is never cool, whether it's at 200 miles per hour or 120. I'm sorry that's the way it had to end."
It hasn't ended, really. Keselowski, looking to add a Nationwide championship to his fledgling racing resume, still holds a 168-point advantage over Edwards, his closest pursuer in the standings. Lots of racing remains before this season's series title is decided.
Edwards always has been the more popular of the two drivers. But if he keeps admitting to deliberately running over Keselowski without a hint of remorse every time the No. 22 barely touches him on the track, he might soon find that the Special K Kid is gaining on him in popularity while still holding the high ground in the Nationwide championship hunt.
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