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Carl Edwards: Lack Of Suspension Inexplicable

Christopher Leone@ChristopherlionSenior Analyst IMarch 11, 2010

ATLANTA - MARCH 07:  The wrecked #12 Penske Dodge, driven by Brad Keselowski, sits in the garage after an incident on tack during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 7, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

I have been a fan of Roush Fenway Racing since I was a small child, watching Mark Martin pilot the No. 6 Valvoline car. Through the years, watching the team expand into one of NASCAR’s first multi-car powerhouses, I have become a fan of almost every driver to slide behind the wheel of their Fords.

This means that yes, to some extent, I am a Carl Edwards fan.

Say what you will about his personality, but he shows flashes of brilliance as a racecar driver, the nine-win season in 2008 included. I think his 2009 Talladega wreck may have affected his psyche a little bit and make him a more careful driver in the long term, but he’s still got talent.

That aside, however, his actions in Sunday’s race at Atlanta were inexcusable. I’m sure that everybody knows what happened by now—after Brad Keselowski (the same driver who put him into the catchfence at Talladega last year) got into him early in the race, he returned to the track and ruined a great run by the Penske Racing driver with five laps to go.

Keselowski’s car flipped and landed on its roof, most of the pressure on the driver’s side, before rolling back on all four wheels. Keselowski was shaken up to say the least, and Edwards was parked for his deliberate actions, which he all but admitted to later on.

The problem, however, is NASCAR’s decision to only put Edwards on probation for three races for this incident.

Given his history with Keselowski, as well as the complaints that others like Denny Hamlin make about the young driver, these incidents are likely not over. They’ll just wait until Edwards’ probation is over. NASCAR didn’t even wring Edwards’ hands—they wagged a finger.

That’s all that the meeting between the two drivers and their owners will be too.

Marty Smith wrote on Twitter that a “precedent has been set” for these types of retaliatory actions—that no driver should be afraid to dive-bomb a rival they’re angry at now.

I understand NASCAR’s desire to open up the racing this year, and I applaud it, but not laying the hammer down in deliberate accidents, especially ones where the wrecked driver could have been seriously hurt, is a mistake.

My opinion: NASCAR should have parked Edwards for at least one race.

I might have waited until the next Atlanta race to do it, however. I don’t want a driver who’s going to race like that to make his way into the Chase, and Atlanta is the penultimate regular season race. Taking Edwards out of a race so close to the cutoff could knock him out (if he’s in) and make it far more difficult to make up ground, whereas missing Bristol would give him about 20 more races to get back to the front.

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