Strike Two

By Terri Ketterman

I’m an Edwards fan, and have been since 2006. We had a house full of Canadian friends for the October races when my dad got the “this is not a drill” call for his lung transplant. I went to Manhattan to be with my family, and my husband stayed behind to host our friends who had chosen to spend their annual vacation with us. Knowing that my dad was a big Edwards fan, my husband stood in line with his arms full of goodies to be signed. At the time, we had no idea whether my dad would survive this extremely complicated process to ever enjoy the hat, photo and die-cast. When Edwards heard my husband’s story of who the items were for, he stopped chatting and joking with the crowd and focused solely on my husband, having a real conversation with him for a few minutes about my dad. Edwards showed one of his fans, my dad, some serious respect with those few minutes.
Concrete Carl used to be a term of endearment referencing Edwards’ proficiency on concrete tracks like Bristol and Dover. What I’m realizing now is the nickname has another meaning as well, referencing the gray matter between his ears.
I was a little freaked out about the Kenseth thing at Martinsville; however, I don’t walk around with huge levels of testosterone in my body, and I don’t do my job in front of millions of people each week. It seemed beyond bizarre, but, despite the media frenzy that occurs when this type of thing happens, there’s always a couple of angles to the truth that the public doesn’t hear. I’m a loyal person, and I stayed true, but it was duly noted: Strike One.
The incident early in the race this past Sunday was mostly Edwards’ own doing. Replays made that clear. Lost in all the debate is one point I’d like to make: what Keselowski did not have from Carl (or would not have from several other drivers that could have easily been in Carl’s shoes on Sunday) is the benefit of the doubt. Keselowski didn’t have the benefit of the doubt because so far he has revealed himself to be essentially unworthy of it. If it had been a different driver, one who races a little cleaner, one who gives a little slack when it’s called for, Edwards might have shrugged it off, or at least made an effort to find out exactly what happened while he sat on a tire in the garage watching his guys fix his car. Obviously he didn’t use any of that time to cool off or think through the ramifications of the revenge he was plotting. The concrete was set, you might say.
I am not a Keselowski fan per se, but I do not like these nasty wrecks, and vividly remember the heartbreak of Adam, Dale, Tony and Kenny. No matter who it is, it’s scary to me and I sit and wait for the window net to go down or some grunting on the radio. Of course, Edwards did not mean to flip him, and we all know that if the 12 car had just gone sliding through the grass and created some serious divots on the race logo, the likelihood is there would be no uproar, at least from those not paying attention closely.
One thing about wearing grown up pants is learning from your mistakes, and this is a great opportunity to do that. Another is realizing that sometimes the actions you take have unexpected or unintended consequences. That a winged COT tagged from the rear at a high speed flipped end over end in the air and smashed roof down on the pavement is not, after Newman’s wreck last year, what I would call unexpected. Carl, on behalf of Edwards nation, which includes numerous friends and family, let me point out another an unintended consequence of your behavior on Sunday, which I don’t think your concrete gray matter allowed for:
Strike two, buddy