Edwards Put on Probation
NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday that Carl Edwards will not be suspended for the on-track incident involving Brad Keselowski during Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Helton said Edwards will be put on probation for the next three races.
“We take what Carl did as serious and are reacting to it accordingly,” Helton said.
In that incident, Edwards steered into Keslowski’s car as the race neared its finish. Keselowski’s car went airborne and landed on its roof.
He was uninjured.
Afterward, Edwards indicated that the hit was intentional and that it was in retribution for past skirmishes between the two Sprint Cup drivers, including one early in the race which wrecked Edwards’ car and put him 100 laps off the pace.
Edwards was parked by NASCAR immediately after the wreck. He was then called to the NASCAR hauler at AMS.
“We made it very clear to him that these actions were not acceptable and did go beyond what we said back in January about putting the driving back in the hands of the drivers,” Helton said of the hauler chat. “We believe the driver of the 99 (Edwards) understands our position at this point.”
Helton said that NASCAR officials met with the owners of both cars – Jack Roush and Roger Penske – this week and decided probation was the appropriate response. Helton said that another meeting between NASCAR officials, the drivers and the owners involved will meet again “to get this matter resolved between the two drivers. Clean the slate, if you will, so they can both go back to some hard, competitive, side-by-side racing that is NASCAR.”
Helton called the most serious part of the incident was the fact that Keselowski’s car went airborne. He called that “a very serious issue”.
“It’s important for all of us to step back and separate the issue of what happened with the 99 and the 12 (Keselowski) on the race track and the fact that the 12 car went airborne,” Helton said. “We had not seen a car get airborne much on a mile and a half race track and that’s something that is very important to us and we’re going to study very closely and figure out things we can do to help prevent this very quickly and in the future. This is a very important element of all this.”
In January of this year, NASCAR announced a policy of allowing drivers to mix it up more on the tracks. The policy has since become known as, “Have at it, boys”.
Helton said Tuesday that that did not mean all is considered acceptable during races.
“There is a line you can cross and we will step in to maintain law and order when we think that line has been line has been crossed,” he said.
Asked if he could define where that line is and how exactly it is crossed, Helton said, “I think we see it when we see it.”
Stepping in in this case, Helton said, was parking Edwards after the incident and then, putting him on probation for races at Bristol Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.
(This story will be updated shortly)10 Comments