Carl Edwards, the Eddie Haskell of NASCAR, proved once again Saturday night that pretend nice guys finish first. Edwards, in what he admitted was payback for a much less consequential bump a half lap earlier, spun Brad Keselowski in front of the field, propelling himself into Victory Lane and BK into oncoming traffic. Keselowski's Discount Tire Dodge Charger was turned into a 3,400 pound pinball as two cars slammed into it on the narrow front straightaway at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis.
The first 100 laps on the race were uneventful, lulling NASCAR Nationwide fans into a drowsy stupor typical of some of this season's non-restrictor plate Nextel Cup races. Often the stand alone Nationwide races allow a lesser known driver to break out and win, such as David Gilliland at Kentucky and Keselowski himself at Memphis. However, this night Cup regulars Keselowski and Edwards swapped the lead in the early going, passing each other with only slight contact. Then, an inexplicably hard crash between the fill-in drivers of the Gibbs Racing Toyota Camrys set up a 20 lap mad dash to the finish line.
Insane 3 wide racing on the tight Gateway track led to a late red flag, then a green/white/checker restart with Keselowski inside of Edwards. Fans were reminded of last spring's Talladega Cup race, when Keselowski refused to lift and allow Edwards to win the race by blocking him. Instead, Keselowski stayed in the throttle, sending Edwards on a wild ride up against the tri-oval wall and almost into the packed grandstand. This season, Edwards retaliated for Keselowski wrecking him by turning him on the straightaway,again nearly sending a car into the stands.
After taking the white flag in second, Keselowski nudged Edwards high in Turn 1 and passed, but could not clear him, setting up a wreck that looked more like a superspeedway "Big One" than a short track fender-bender. Edwards could have bumped BK's quarter panel and moved him enough to pass, but instead chose to drive hard into his left rear, sending Keselowski's Charger careening into the outside wall in front of the whole field. Keselowski was then frighteningly struck by two other cars, fortunately on the right side and not in the driver's door.
Carl Edwards has enjoyed a mostly good-guy image, but it is beginning to tarnish. Short track stock car racing lends itself to what Dale Earnhardt, Sr. used to call "frammin' and bammin'", but there are less dangerous ways to move another driver out of your way. Bob Keselowski, Brad's father, gave what I thought was the quote of the night, when he said, "I'll get my old driving suit back and settle this crap once and for all, he's not going to kill my boy!"