It has been a week since the Atlanta race, and the now infamous “Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski” incident. There has been numerous articles on the subject from pros and fans alike. So now after thinking on it (and the help of a little Jack Daniel’s), I am giving my opinion and views on the matter.
1. There is no denying it, Brad Keselowski is an unapologetic little punk. I used to like Brad. Really. Even after flipping Carl Edwards at Talladega last year, I was still ok with him. But as the season progressed, I began to notice a side to Brad K that I do not like. There is driving competitively (which will involve putting the fender to somebody), and there is driving like an Ass. Way I see it, Brad drives like an Ass.
Sorry, Brad, there is a fine line between not letting yourself get pushed around by the veterans to establish that you are serious about driving with the big boys, and driving like a punk. You crossed that line last year. You need to learn to respect the other drivers on the track. That doesn't mean let yourself be a pushover, but you need to learn respect. I hope you do. I’d like to start liking you again. Right now, I can’t.
2. Carl Edwards has had anger issues in the past. We have seen it. I spent most of 2008 hating Carl because of the Matt Kenseth incident in 2007, and the Kevin Harvick incident in 2008. Since I believe in giving all drivers a “clean slate” at the beginning of the season, I was able to put all that in the past and actually cheer for him in 2009.
Was he justified in deliberately going out to spin Brad K in the race last weekend? I can’t answer that. However, I did cheer for Denny Hamlin for spinning him out last year.
I have mixed feelings in that incident. Part of me is livid pissed because thanks to that stunt, Clint Bowyer got screwed out of a great chance for a top 10 finish after struggling with a Beast of a car all day. The following Green White Checkered attempt caused a wreck involving Jamie McMurray and collecting Clint along the way. Thanks to Clint’s 23rd place finish, he went from possibly gaining a lead in the points to dropping 3 positions to 5th.
There is also the argument that Carl exhibited really poor judgment in trying to take Brad K out at 190mph, which helped the car take flight. That he took it too far. Did he? I don’t have that answer. However, whether I like a driver or dislike him, I do not like seeing anybody getting airborne like that.
Did NASCAR do the right thing in only giving Carl probation for 3 races? Considering that essentially makes him a moving target for the next 3 races, 2 of which are short track, I would have to say yes. It would be incredibly hypocritical of the sanctioning bodies to give the drivers the green light to “have at it” only to hand down a severe penalty for this incident. Totally not taking into consideration that the car flipped. That is a separate situation that I am hoping will at least be partially fixed by the introduction of the spoiler over the wing.
Brad really needs to learn respect for the other 42 drivers out on the track. His current attitude has gained him no friends out there, and what he will need to see is having ‘friends’ out on the track can ultimately help with his success out there. Sometimes that is a hard lesson to learn.