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Woody: Edwards Just Honoring An Old Code

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 9 2010
Carl Edwards was just reviving the old "Code of the West" aspect of stock car racing. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Carl Edwards was just reviving the old "Code of the West" aspect of stock car racing last Sunday in Atlanta. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer

Back at the start of the season, NASCAR told drivers to “have at it.”

So last Sunday at Atlanta Carl Edwards had at it.

In case you missed it (and it’s hard to do, because every TV station in the Western Hemisphere has been re-playing it non-stop) Edwards bumped Brad Keselowski and sent him on an upside-down airborne ride.

Edwards was down 156 laps at the time. Keselowski was running 6th.

Predictably the howling began.

“NASCAR needs to make an example of Edwards,” shrilled one pundit.

“He has to be stopped,” declared another.

“Fine him! Park him!”

“This can’t go on!”

“Oh my goodness, heavens to Besty!” swooned Aunt Bee. (OK, I made that last one up.)

Some of the same media that a month ago was whining about how boring NASCAR had become are now whining about too much action.

They didn’t like it when cars cruised around single-file with no contact. Then somebody bumps somebody and they get their knickers in a wad.

What we saw Sunday was nothing more than old-fashioned racing payback. Edwards and Keselowski have a history dating back to last year’s Talladega race when Edwards was on the receiving end of an airborne nudge.

Such feuds aren’t new to the sport, although they’ve been relatively rare and mild in the past tamed-down decade.

In the old days the big news would have been if Edwards DIDN’T retaliate.

The Code of the West back then was, you hit me, I hit you back. If it got too out of hand, NASCAR would step in and send the drivers to neutral corners to cool off. Dale Earnhardt once got parked for rough racing, just as Edwards did after Sunday’s incident. That’s enough.

Rough racing has always been part of the sport. Or at least it used to be back in the old days – you know, back when racing was wild and exciting.

Carl Edwards is not a bad guy. He didn’t intend to hurt Keselowski, just “rattle his cage” a bit as Earnhardt did Terry Labonte one hot night at Bristol.

It’s obvious that Edwards is a terribly frustrated driver. He was the biggest disappointment of ’09, an anticipated championship contender who stumbled through a winless season. Now ’10 is off to a miserable start with Edwards buried in 20th after four races.

It was amidst this angst and aggravation that Keselowski, early in Sunday’s race, gave Edwards a nudge that put him into the wall and sent him to the garage. When Edwards came back out he caught Keselowski in a dark alley and dished out some payback.

As the great Richard Petty used to say, it was just one of those racin’ deals.

What made Sunday’s incident so dramatic was the fact that Keselowski’s car went airborne. If it had merely scraped the wall or spun into the infield it wouldn’t have caused such a clamor. It looked worse than it was.

It’s NASCAR’s responsibility to figure out how to keep the cars on the track – bigger spoilers, slower speeds, whatever it takes – but it’s not its job to police the passion.

At the start of the season NASCAR promised to get out of the way and let ‘em race. Let’s hope it keeps its word.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 9 2010


  • Britboy says:

    I was kinda hoping NASCAR would award Cousin Carl about 500 additional points for Sunday’s race and maybe $500,000.00 in bonus money. I remember in Richard Petty’s day, they would put you through the fence and visit you between the car haulers. Maybe Special K needs some more of the “good ole days” treatment to get his attitude adjusted. Glad he didn’t get hurt though, that is not the point.

  • STEVE says:

    Hey, Larry you hit a HOMERUN with this one. I just cant beleive
    all of these cry babies. 1st they cry no action then when they get ACTION they cry again, sit him down, fine him, he could of killed someone. Where were ALL of the cry BABIES last year when BK sent Carl flying into the fence @ dega. No one was crying he could of killed someone, and 7 fans hurt. NO one was try to file crimial charges against BK then. But now it’s differant!!! That MY guy out there and …….
    Get over it! FINALLY NASCAR give out the same punishment as they would of givin the 24,48,88,14 and no one likes it.
    Way to go CARL!! Well, we’ll see what happens @ Bristol next week.
    Lets see who HITS the fence next and who does what to whom?
    My bet is KB will be in the next one TOO.
    Tuff titty said the kitty when the milk ran dry!!

    • Bob says:

      Steve, I think that this feud is probably over. I heard that NASCAR made it very clear to Keslowski as well as Edwards that this crap is over and they will both be parked if they play rough again. I also think that Keslowski has nothing to worry about because he won’t be seeing Edweirds unless he is running at the rear with “Cousin Carl” and the rest of the back markers. I remember a few years back when Carl tough guy tried to mix it up with Kevin Harvick on the track and was quickly put in his place, I guess it’s once again time for someone to teach the punk some manners. Have a good one.

  • Bob says:

    Yea Larry you bet, Honoring an old code, This is just great for racing, Have you lost it ? I have been keeping up with NASCAR for over forty years and have seen the sport (de)evolve over the years and I can say with certainty that drivers of old were a lot more intelligent than the spokesmodels of today. In the past when someone needed to be taught some manners they were generally put into a wall and their chances of winning that day were over and so was the feud. Todays primma donnas are under the mistaken impression that the offending driver should be eliminated outright,whatever the cost to anyone unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. I guess it boils down to mature experienced drivers who could think about consequences and spolied brats who will get their way whatever it takes and if it affects other drivers,too bad. Oh and by the way if you think that this is in any way good for racing then I guess that in your mind it will be a super day when a 3400 pound wrecking ball cartwheels through the stands,then the survivors could honor an old code too, namely suing NASCAR out of existence. Yep just honoring an old code.

  • Stingraypw says:

    I just don’t enjoy Nascar like I use to. All the car’s are the same only the decals are different. If your driving a chevy / ford/dodge should be that set up and go from there with spec. This car of today is not racing. If the fans are frustrated how do you think the driver / crews feel ??? I don’t think Carl should have intentionally hit Keselowski however let look at the same cars that eveny week are involved in wrecks, should they even be on the tracks ?? Keselowski / Papps / R Gordon / Almemdinger (hope that the spelling) This takes out contenders every race. And should there be “another” incident sure hope Nascar keeps the penalties the same. Wonder if this had been the 24 / 48 / 29/ 42 / or 14 what would have been Nascar’s decision then.

  • Don says:

    Thank you for spelling “Aunt Bee” correctly. Oh, and I believe Richard Petty said, “one of THEM racin’ deals.” I’ve not picked a side on this issue. Alls I know is I’m going to Bristol.

  • lydia says:

    You know..we can go over and over and over this point..and rationalize Carl and justify Brad…but the bottom line is….how do the other 41 drivers out there on the field feel about this? I read writers and readers comments about “let the boys race..let them police themselves” From what I understand..there are alot of “gentlemen’s agreements” in racing…”let a slower car by early in the race” …”if you are down a few laps let the lead cars by without a fight”… “don’t pin another car in their pit stall” … “and paybacks are hell”. I can’t say what the others driver feel in this instance..I am sure their are both sides…BUT…I would hope there is one thing in agreement…WHERE you payback a driver…and HOW you payback a driver.. if you just tap him or plow through him…are BIG considerations in making a payback. As far as I am concerned…no matter who started what..CARL failed on both the “where” and “how” of his payback. As far as I am concerned….he deserves a “payback” from NASCAR….or…a “payback” from his fellow drivers when he gets to Bristol..Carl has opened a new big can of worms and his fellow drivers should be more then agitated with him for the headaches they will have to endure when considering future “on track paybacks”.

  • Terrell Davis says:

    Once again, Larry, you have hit a home run! You have to think that NASCAR, behind closed doors of course, has a huge smile. Now the next question is what penalty will give NASCAR the most publicity. That is how they will decide how hard of a spanking Edwards gets.
    It was the most exciting and talked about race in a long, long time. Heck, in the old days, there might have even been a fight afterwards.
    Let ’em race!

    • Tammy says:

      I realize it’s the “code of the old west” sort of mentality, but I think what Carl did was outright wrong! These guys need to put their big boy britches on and take it outside or behind the woodshed where nobody but the two of them possibly get hurt. But, I’ve noticed a pattern where they’re all ‘big n bad’ when they’re surrounded by their crews or behind the wheel of a 2-ton race car (or however much they weigh), but most don’t want to do a one-on-one! Why risk killing a driver for a little revenge! Or a crew member? Or a fan? Not worth it! NASCAR opened this can of worms with the “go after it” statement, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean what happened Sunday.

    • A Southern Boy says:

      In my opinion Carl Edwards should be parked, period…
      Maybe, Brad ought to file criminal charges against Carl
      attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, as these would be charges in the public sector. To deliberately cause an accident is not racing. NASCAR wants to keep the sport safe and has done alot to make the cars safer. If you think, “It was the most exciting and talked about race in a long, long time.” you are probably right, but for the wrong reasons.

      Carl said he did it and Carl should be punished.
      Larry,what would your story line been if Brad was killed or some fan injured/killed… Great for the Sport of racing?

      “Once again, Larry, you have hit a home run! WRONG!!!!
      Larry you have STUCK OUT!

      You are NOT a NASCAR fan if this is want you want to see, to deliberately cause an accident and hurt someone.

      Lost all respect for Carl Edwards and Larry Woody

      • DICK ISHAM says:

        OH MY! How come kid K gets off with nothing? He flips Carl into the fence at Talladega injuring several in what you probably call a racing incident. Then he dumps Carl into Joey Logano taking them both out Sunday, and not a word. The kids an overly agressive driver and everyone knows it. Who’ll nail him next, Hamlin?

        NASCAR needs to figure it out and get the kid under control or this crap will continue.

        • Lynnsy says:

          I think you hit the nail on the head Dick. If NASCAR would have stepped in last season and told kid K he can’t go out there and take someone out every weekend because that is being TOO aggressive this whole incident would have never happened. If he didn’t have the reputation of getting into someone and ruining their day how many times now it would have been much easier to see him ACCIDENTALLY getting into Edwards first. Maybe it was an accident but if that’s the case then Brad’s Mom or Aunt Bee need to sit him down and read him the story of the little boy that cried wolf!!!