Carl Edwards Has At Keselowski; Wins At Gateway
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
They had at it big time, boys, at Gateway International Raceway on a hot Saturday night in Madison, Ill.
Carl Edwards shoved Brad Keselowski out of the way as the two drivers headed to the finish line and went on to win the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 Nationwide Series race at the track which sits across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
Keselowski’s car, which was leading coming out of the final turn, spun around near the finish line after being hit by Edwards and was then savagely rammed by two cars behind him.
Keselowski appeared to be uninjured but was taken to the infield care center.
The move was a payback, Edwards said, for an incident earlier in the final lap when Keselowski tapped him from behind to get the lead in Turn One.
“I just couldn’t let him take the win from me,” Edwards, who drew a three-race probation in March for unabashedly turning Keselowski in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta, with the unintended consequence of sending the No. 12 Dodge upside-down into the frontstretch wall, said. “My guys work way too hard for that.
“We had a great restart. My guys built me a great car. We came to the checkered flag, and I hate to see stuff tore up, but we came here to win and he took it from us there in Turn 1. Just an awesome race. … I’m sure some of them don’t like that win – Brad Keselowski fans and stuff – but, man, I just couldn’t let him take it from me. I had to do what I had to do.”
Edwards and Keselowski have a long history of aggression toward each other. It boiled over at Talladega Superspeedway last year when Keselowski sent Edwards airborne and into the catch fence on the front straight.
Keselowski’s father, Bob Keselowski, a former racer himself, said Saturday night that he would love to issue Edwards a little payback of his own.
“I’ll get my own damn uniform back on and take care of this. He ain’t going to kill my boy.”
Brad Keselowski told reporters that Edwards was way out off base in wrecking him. He said that his contact earlier in the lead lap was incidental but Edwards’ was not.
In Keselowski’s view, Edwards’ action at Gateway was intentional.
“He turned left into me and wrecked me on purpose,” Keselowski said. “I gave him the lane,
and he still wrecked me. … I figured out a way to beat him. He wasn’t happy with me, so he wrecked me. Wrecking down the straightaway is never cool, whether it’s at 200 mph or 120. I’m sorry that’s the way it had to end.”
Edwards is the first three-time winner at Gateway, and with his second victory of the year and the 27th of his career, he trimmed Keselowski’s lead in the series standings from 227 to 168 points in what has become, basically, a two-man race.
Reed Sorenson finished second and polesitter Trevor Bayne was third. Paul Menard was forth and Steve Wallace fifth.
Bayne said he had a good seat for the Edwards vs. Keselowski.
“I had a front row view of it for sure,” the Michael Waltrip Racing driver said. “I was just hoping I could get by the 32 (Sorenson) because I figured for sure I would win the race if I got by him because I figured the 60 (Edwards) and 22 (Keselowski) would kind of take care of themselves just by the way turn one and two looked.
“It was insane from the very beginning of the restart. They went into one and two – Keselowski overdrove it and slid up the track and it looked like the 22 just overdrove it a couple times and slid up the track and tried to run the 60 up and then the 60 just came down there at the end and got the 22 from what I saw.
“I was kind of focused on chasing my car through (turns) three and four because I overdrove it as well on the last lap. Fortunately, it helped us and we got our first top three. It doesn’t really matter how we got it, as long as we got it. I hate it for those guys because they were so dominant all day, but it was just a great run for us.”
A caution with 13 laps to go set up the wild finish. It was caused by Kevin Harvick, who slammed into the outside wall, damaging the right side of his Chevrolet. He was running fourth at the time.
With eight laps to go, Justin Allgaier’s car was damaged in three-wide racing with Steve Wallace and Bayne. Allgaier slowed and was tapped into a spin by Taylor Malsam, sparking a multi-car crash that also involved Joe Nemechek.
Nemechek’s car wound up stalled in the middle of the track, and NASCAR put the field under red-flag conditions with five laps to go.
The green fell with two to go, and Edwards and Keselowski began their clash for the win.21 Comments