By Joe Dunn
On Tuesday, Mike Helton announced the official action against Carl Edwards for the incident between the No. 99 Scott’s Ford of Edwards and the No.12 Flo TV Dodge of Brad Keselowski in the Kobalt Tolls 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The penalty to Edwards, parked for the remainder of the race Sunday followed by a 3 race probation.
Some of my fellow writers and of course the Brad K fans are in an uproar over this ‘slap on the wrist’ in response to what was a horrific incident. Some have predicted this to be a signal for all out havoc and permission for some very aggressive and dangerous acts by the drivers. Drivers who have been the recipient of much harsher penalties in the past such as Robbie Gordon and Kevin Harvick are crying foul. But those penalties were under far different circumstances. Those occurred during a time when NASCAR was flexing their all encompassing power over the drivers and the Series.
NASCAR disposed of that POWER before the beginning of the 2010 season after listening to the Fans and the drivers. Yes, that was the turning point, when Mike Helton and other NASCAR folks told the drivers to ’Have at it boys’, they told the fans that they heard the call for old style rougher driving. To come down with a heavy hand now would have made them look disingenuous when they said they were listening to the fans. This incident shouldn’t be about Carl turning Brad, but about WHY the 12 car went airborne, and Helton says that is their priority. That was a very good call on NASCAR’s part.
I disagree that this call by NASCAR will result in more serious incidents, in fact, I think it will reduce them. This call should have sent a loud and clear message to over aggressive driving by drivers trying to make a name, overdriving their own talents. It’s a signal that those who want to play the ’Bully’ on the track can no longer expect NASCAR to protect them. That when they punt another driver, they better be watching over their shoulder for the rest of the race. That really spells out to, think very carefully about what might happen if you dump a driver to improve your position. I believe NASCAR’s call on this is a vision to cleaner driving by the less talented.
This call appears to be a direct message to Brad Keselowski, without ever mentioning his name. It is clearly telling Brad, that if he keeps letting overly aggressive driving take the place of what he lacks in talent and experience, he must face the consequences. If you have watched Brad last year in the Nationwide and the Cup series you could see the pattern. He launched himself to the front of the field on many occasions by attempting to take out the driver’s that he could not out drive. Most notably of those were Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin.
Agree with me or disagree, you make the call. This is my story and I’m sticking to it. Your comments, both positive or negative are more than welcome may be left below. I look forward to the fan’s call on this one.