Hood: It Sounded Like A Bomb
In Carl Edwards’ world, someone with a bigger stick than NASCAR president Mike Helton and Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush spoke on Thursday.
In a prepared statement, Scotts, which sponsored Edwards’ No. 99 Ford in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, made it very clear that the type of behavior shown by the Missouri native over the weekend won’t be tolerated going forward:
“Scotts appreciates the support of NASCAR fans everywhere, and we have an excellent relationship with Carl Edwards, Jack Roush and the #99 Roush Fenway Racing team.
“However, like many fans, we were very concerned about the on-track incident that occurred in Atlanta this past weekend. As a result, we have strongly expressed these concerns to both Carl and Jack, and we are confident that they have a clear understanding of the trust we have placed in them as ambassadors of our company, our associates and our brands.
“In addition, as a sponsor, we want to make sure that drivers, race teams and NASCAR focus on keeping these types of incidents and misjudgments from happening.”
Let me preface my comments by stating the obvious: Brad Keselowski is no angel.
However, in the name of sportsmanship and basic civil obedience, what Edwards did to his rival on Sunday bordered on criminal behavior.
The way NASCAR reacted was puzzling, but not surprising.
A three-race probation for intentionally wrecking a fellow competitor at 190 miles per hour?
From where I sat in the press box on Sunday, I heard a bomb detonate at the exact moment I saw Keselowski’s crumpled car clobber the wall out of the corner of my eyes.
A couple of things rushed through my mind:
Keselowski’s powerful impact reminded me of Blaise Alexander’s wreck at the start-finish in an ARCA race in Charlotte in Oct. 2001. Alexander’s contact with the wall sounded like an explosion. Alexander was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
Sunday’s impact was just as loud.
As Keselowski’s No. 12 Dodge slid helplessly toward Turn 1 on Sunday, I immediately flashbacked to the violent, bomb-like sound that echoed through Turn 4 during the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 as Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 Chevrolet ricocheted off the wall and slid to a stop below the apron. Just over an hour later, Earnhardt was pronounced dead by medical authorities.
Sunday’s impact was just as loud.
On Monday night, Kyle Petty commented on PRN’s Fast Talk radio show that Edwards “broke a code” by wrecking a competitor on one of the circuit’s fastest tracks. The third-generation driver went on to say that he had retaliated against drivers throughout his career on short tracks. But he never dreamed of intentionally crashing someone at a place like Atlanta.
Petty also called for Edwards to be suspended for one race.
“My grandfather raced in this sport, my father raced in this sport, I did, and I had a son that came along,” Petty told the New York Times immediately after learning of Edwards’ three-race probation. “I love this sport more than anything in the world.
“To me, this is one of the saddest days I’ve ever experienced in the sport.”
Fortunately for Keselowski, modern safety initiatives implemented by NASCAR saved him from serious injury or death on Sunday.
As for Edwards, don’t expect him to show up at Bristol next week and show remorse.
How will the powerful fan base in Bristol react to Edwards’ “misjudgment” in Atlanta?
I look for one of NASCAR’s more popular drivers to be greeted with a chorus of boos.
Let the healing process begin.
– Jeff Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments