Saturday night marked a return to the feud. The two drivers (and Kevin Harvick for a bit) were the drivers to beat in the event. Before the green flag dropped on the final restart you couldn’t help but notice something was about to happen. Edwards and Keselowki were going to start 1-2 on the restart with a race win in the balance.
The two drivers have had differences in the past that culminated in Atlanta earlier this when Edwards sent Keselowski’s #12 airborne towards the end of the race. This was an obvious response to an incident earlier in the day that took Edwards out of the race after Keselowski got into him and rendered his car damaged and off the track for most of the day.
Everyone watching could tell there was going to be contact. I looked over at my wife and said “Here comes the bump and run.” Sure enough it didn’t take long for that to happen. Keselowki bumped Edwards to take the lead. Retaliation was coming. Edwards had a pair of turns left and Keselowski had to feel like he was running away from a bully.
Edwards caught Keselowski and then spun him into the wall creating a ugly crash that marred a pretty good night of racing by the two.
At first I wasn’t bothered by the crash. After all Keselowki had gotten into Edwards to take the lead and Edwards returning the favor could be justified. But then Edwards opened his mouth and spoke words of hate that sent the temperature of the drivers and fans to a new level.
Edwards back-flipped his way out of his car into the cheers of a home town crowd. When asked what happened on the last lap he responded that he could not let Keselowski take that win away from him. Edwards mentioned how hard his team had worked and then proceeded to justify his activity.
“I hate to see stuff tore up but we came here to win and he took it from us in turn 1.” Edwards then went into a plug of all his sponsors and turned the focus to his appreciation of the fans before again turning the focus back to him. “I couldn’t let him take it from me. I had to do what I had to do.”
Equally as bad as the two wrecking each other was the danger they placed the other competitors in. This type racing is simply irresponsible and does nothing to further the resume of either driver or that of the Nationwide Series.
The father of Brad, former driver Bob Keselowski, was angry proclaiming that “I’m sick and tired of this, I’ll get my own damn uniform back on and take care of this. He’s not gonna kill my boy.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if something was loose in the head of Edwards. After all racing hard is one thing but suggesting that a driver had that coming to him because he was going to beat you is simply insane.
At that point I turned my focus to Facebook. I was curious what other fans were saying. The majority of the fans on the Rousch-Fenway Racing page were split into two categories. Those who were dissapointed and upset with the way Edwards had raced and a second group of fans who were happy because Carl got a win and this would as one fan posted “cleanse the pussy fans of Edwards out.”
Something tells me the sponsors of Edwards aren’t exactly hoping for a cleansing of anything. That would only mean dollars out of their wallets. Edwards crossed the line last night, and no matter what side of the fence you sit on you have to agree to some extent he was provoked with the bump and run in the previous set of turns. But was it necessary to do what he did coming to the line? He got a victory maybe that’s all Carl Edwards cares about besides Subway, Copart.com, Vitamin Water and Aflac.
As the years have gone on Edwards has increasingly become a very corporate driver to the point that Kevin Harvick called him “fake as hell” following his incident with Keselowki at Atlanta.
The Roush Fenway drivers are hardly the most talkative and expression filled but Edwards is clearly trying his best to be the jerk of the group. He’s had run in’s in the past with teammate Matt Kenseth and his style of racing this year coupled with his comments have made it to the point he’s simply a pull string dummy. Any interview with Edwards is fulled with sponsor plugs and even on his Facebook he is casual Friday business.
My two year old son liked “the duck” and to a lesser extent “seventeen”. Now it’s hard to even allow him to wear a Carl Edwards t-shirt much less support a driver who puts winning a Nationwide race above the safety of other drivers. I have taken all the necessary steps such as covering up the #99 sticker on our car and keeping those aforementioned t-shirts in the drawer.
NASCAR will likely think this one over for a few days and Edwards will probably release another statement saying he is sorry about what happened but those words are just covering his own backside. Edwards true feelings were on display Saturday night and everyone saw him for who he is.