NASCAR: The Punishment Needs To Fit the Crime

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IMarch 9, 2010

The damage is done, and now the ultimate act of justice lies in the hands of whatever NASCAR decides would be the best form of punishment, if indeed any further action will be taken.

After reading post after post about what should and should not be done, it's time to take a deeper look at just how serious and dangerous the act that NASCAR driver Carl Edwards actually committed.

This is not a case of Edwards just seeking pay back, as the term is loosely used around the drivers themselves, but instead it goes beyond the normal way of thinking especially when you look at who was put in harm's way, and how lucky this man was that no one was seriously hurt.

What Edwards committed on Sunday was a cold-blooded act of revenge by using of all things, a 3,500 pound rolling chunk of metal.

By admitting that his intentions were to intentionally take out fellow NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, in the world that we live that is considered assault with a deadly weapon, and the price for such an act does not come cheap.

It is not normal behavior for one driver to stalk another driver, while thinking when would be the best time to carry out the dirty deed that he already had instilled in his mind.

Not only did Edwards make his intentions clear to the heads of NASCAR, but he also put this survey up on his Facebook page which clearly reads where his mindset was after the race.

"My options: Considering that Brad wrecks me with no regard for anyone’s safety or hard work, should I:

A-Keep letting him wreck me?

B-Confront him after the race?

C-Wait til Bristol and collect other cars?

D-Take care of it now?

"I want to be clear that I was surprised at his flight and very relieved when he walked away. Every person has to decide what code they want to live by and hopefully this explains mine."

How much more blatant could he have made it, and at which time did he actually realize that what he did was wrong?

After reading this excerpt from his page, it’s obvious that he still doesn’t realize the extent of his own actions, and he even went to the extreme of allowing those who read this to leave what they felt would have been the appropriate course of action.

First off, the word “option” should have never been selected, especially when you are dealing with the safety of those around you, and that word has nothing to do with remorse.

Instead, the word “decision” would have been more appropriate, followed up with a more appropriate way of describing as well as looking out for another person’s safety.

Edwards, just like all the other drivers, knows the consequences, as well as the emotional roller coaster ride that takes place once they strap themselves into these high speed racing machines.

NASCAR was born on rubbing and racing one another hard, but it was not born on one driver deliberately going after another for the sake of evening up the score.

Anger along with frustration can easily play mind games on a person, which in turn can cause him to react in ways that are way beyond a person’s normal way of thinking.

What Edwards did was totally uncalled for no matter what the circumstances were, even though he may have felt that something needed to be done to put a stop to Keselowski’s rough driving behavior on the track.

After all, they were participating in an automobile race and there are other ways to even a score, that is unless his intentions were to hurt someone, which they clearly were.

How does someone say I meant to take you out, but didn’t expect the car to fly, especially when no one, not even the engineers, knows what will happen once a car is knocked off of its directed path?

If that was the case, wouldn’t have NASCAR already solved the problem that they are still facing trying to keep the cars from getting airborne?

Edwards has a short history of letting his anger get the best of him, and he displayed it back in November of 2007 when he went after his teammate Matt Kenseth while he was doing a post race interview.

Edwards appeared to be joking when he grabbed Kenseth and pulled him away from the interview. However, things didn't turn out so friendly.

Edwards drew back as if he was going to punch Kenseth as the heated exchange ended.

In 2006, Edwards threatened Tony Stewart physical pain, and then a couple of weeks later he grabbed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in victory lane following an incident in the Busch Series race.

Edwards also had a heated discussion with Kevin Harvick in October of 2008, when witnesses said Edwards approached Harvick in the garage stall housing Harvick's No. 33 Chevrolet and engaged in conversation.

Following what a witness called a heated discussion, Harvick turned to walk away and Edwards grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around.

We have all heard the saying that, “The bigger man is the one who can walk away and avoid confrontations.”

We also know that because of the pride that we carry within ourselves, we sometimes let it get in the way by allowing it to take control of our better judgment.

Two wrongs have never made anything right, and it’s really sad that in this particular case there is no winner, but instead there will only be one loser.

Edwards clearly let his emotions take over at a time when he should have had them in check, and Edwards knew that Keselowski was headed for a good, solid finish when he tried to dive bomb him the first time and missed.

All that did was make him angrier, since he already had his mind set that Keselowski wasn't going to finish the race without first feeling his wrath.

The anger that he displayed towards his fellow driver, along with the frustration of not winning a race in over a year, has taken its toll on him.

Even though Edwards felt that Keselowski was the problem, that does not give him the right to take matters into his own hands, especially when he knows the nature of the sport that he is involved in.

NASCAR is already dangerous, and there is no room for a driver to act out of rage, or to purposely go after his fellow competitor especially when there are other ways to settle the score.

Not once did Edwards ever apologize for his actions, so why should NASCAR show any leniency to a driver who clearly followed his own agenda, without the slightest concern for those around him.

With all of this said and done, Edwards needs to be punished to the fullest extent that NASCAR can hand down, and hopefully it will send out a message that behavior such as this will not be tolerated in the future.


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