With Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski again creating a stir on the track Saturday night I couldn’t help but wonder who the biggest winners and losers were in the latest round of car wrecking.
Winner: Nationwide Series
The NASCAR Nationwide Series comes out ahead here. Even after you take into account the negative media backlash that there will be the Series does get much needed press. It gives fans who typically only tune in for Sunday races a reason to watch upcoming Nationwide races and will even appeal to those who have little to no interest for a few weekends.
The series had primarily turned into a Sprint Cup series feeding ground for wins. With drivers such as Edwards, Keselowki , Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano picking off wins from less talented drivers and less funded teams.
While the Nationwide Series gets a boost here it’s NASCAR as a whole that comes up in the red. The sport will find it difficult to determine an appropriate punishment since this is the second notable incident this year and because Keselowski had made contact in the previous set of turns thus giving Edwards some reason to bump him coming to the line.
Either way the body cannot satisfy everyone here. Some will want them to suspend Edwards for multiple races, others will claim that he was just racing hard for a win. Where does the sanctioning body draw the line on this one?
If they penalize Edwards too harshly they take a step back from their hands off approach and in turn are taking the control back out of the drivers hards. If they just slap Edwards on the wrist they are doing nothing to stop this type of driving in the future.
Losers: Rest of the Nationwide drivers
Equally as bad will be the effect on other Nationwide drivers. It turns the focus completely off of them, their cars and their teams’ efforts. The amount of talk generated by and about them will be minimal in the next week and a half and there is nothing they can do about it.
Winner: Discount Tires/Aflac
The best advertising is in your face and constant. This clip will be shown over and over putting these sponsors in the faces of millions repetitively. Obviously Discount Tires gets a bigger boost since there is a bigger backlash against Edwards for his wrecking of Keselowski to end the event but something tells me Aflac will not be hurting too bad on this one.
With Keselowki being the victim at the end it puts him in a more positive light and since there are millions of motorist who need tires will put the name of Discount Tires on their mind.
Edwards ended the car manufacturers win-less streak a few weeks ago at Elkhart Lake but it wasn’t until last night that they got a win on an oval. Sadly the win wasn’t without controversy so it doesn’t fully show that the car maker can get a car to victory lane without question on a regular bases.
Loser: Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards was already facing heat and backlash following the incident between the two at Atlanta earlier this year. Now he’s reignited the questions about his driving style and his views about safety with other drivers.
Edwards probably won’t have won the race had he not spun Keselowki and while he may have lost the race by the bump and run Keselowki did to him few are viewing that as acceptable retaliation.
Edwards can say it was an accident at Atlanta in the #12 getting airborne. In light of that maybe he should have used a cooler head and simply accepted second place. Then again one has to wonder if the announcers and fans would have called him soft for not returning the favor to Keselowki? Either way Edwards was put into a no win situation here and much like NASCAR would have let down one side of the fan base with whatever option he choose.