During today's 12:30pm EST press conference, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced that Carl Edwards has been put on probation for three races, no suspension, no fines, and no point penalty. Helton added that Edwards "knows what that means."
In pulling Edwards off the track and speaking with him in the trailer, Helton said that NASCAR "wanted to make it clear that this goes beyond what we said in February, and we think the driver of the No. 99 understands that."
In his opinion, he thinks their "reaction of putting Carl in the garage for the rest of the event and our probation is enough."
He went on to add that in talking with both Roger Penske (Brad Keselowski's owner) and Jack Roush (Edwards' owner), they came to this decision and plan to meet up with both drivers to "clean the slate so they can get back to hard racing" as the "drivers need to sort it out themselves."
Of the drivers, Helton added, "If there's a rivalry that goes beyond racing, they need to figure out how to manage that before we get involved in it. It's not as much us mentoring at this point, as it is the two drivers talking it out with the owners listening."
Though Helton went on to add, "There is a line you can cross, and we'll step in to maintain law and order when we think that line is crossed."
When Helton was asked what's crossing the line, he said, "We'll see it when we see it" and then went said, "We may react to first incident different then we'd react to third, forth or fifth incident."
Helton also emphasized the seriousness of the Keselowski's car getting airborne, stating that NASCAR will be taking a serious look at that.
"The 12 car getting airborne is a much more serious issue for us right now," Helton said in the press conference. "We take what Carl did seriously, but airborne is the biggest issue. A car getting airborne on a mile-and-a-half track doesn't happen regularly. Been years since we've seen that. A lot of the discussions will center around why it happened, what caused it to happen and to prevent it.
The event of the 12 car getting off the ground contributed to the spectacle of the event and what made it looked severe. We're looking to preventing that from happening."
This announcement comes after an incident that originally started back on lap 39 of the Kobalt Tools 500.
On lap 39, Keselowski and Edwards made contact on the restart, sending Edwards and Joey Logano into the wall. On the initial replay, it looked as if Keselowski got into the back of Edwards.
Though upon further review, Edwards actually came down in front of Keselowski, causing Keselowski to get into him. Either way, blame was placed on Keselowski for the incident.
After spending numerous laps behind the wall, Edwards returned to the track, looking to make the points loss due to the incident minimal. However, with six laps to go, Edwards retaliated.
Edwards got behind Keselowski with eight laps to go and took three swipes at him, finally wrecking him on the third try. The result was Keselowski flipping upside down on the front stretch at Atlanta Motor Speedway, not injured, and Edwards being parked for the remainder of the race.
As the announcement broke, drivers and NASCAR members alike began tweeting their opinions, in which some turned out to be quite interesting:
"I wonder what would of happened to me in that situation?" Robby Gordon (@RobbyGordon) questioned. "Hmmm someone playing favorites?"
"Huh!" Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) tweeted soon after. "Surprised by the penalty or lack there of..... I'm thinking about asking for a refund for all of my penalties!!!!"
"Rules or comments of unintended consequences, all any league can do is act, then react,u make rules based on what you know at the time!" Darrell Waltrip (@allwaltrip) tweeted.
"Gotta say I think NASCAR handled the situation the right way, glad 2 c they ackowledged the car getting airborne is the biggest issue." Regan Smith (@Regan_Smith_) tweeted.
"My heading is spinning," Delana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) tweeted. "I can't understand what a 3-race probation actually does. Maybe @kevinharvick should awe shucks more. Seems to work."
"Yo go #nascar!!!" Scott Speed (@scottspeed) tweeted. "3 race probation for Edwards! Awsome I love it!!! I bet Keslowski is scared now lol"
Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) tweeted it best with, "Agree or not, precedence is set. If I'm Driver-X, and somebody's holdin' me up, I ain't a damn bit scared to bomb into 1 and send 'em now."