Woody: This Is Getting Dangerous
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
Admit it: we all enjoy a good spat, especially in sports, where rivalry translates to drama.
But the festering feud between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski is about to spin out of control.
“Don’t kill my boy,” declared an emotional Bob Keselowski Saturday night as he headed to the infield care center at Gateway International Raceway to check on his son Brad.
Brad Keselowski had been taken to the care center following a horrific-looking crash caused when he was punted into the wall on the last lap by Carl Edwards.
Keselowski miraculously was not injured – growing testament to the safety features NASCAR has implemented in recent years in its cars and retaining walls.
But crashes like that – and an equally-frightening ride Keselowsi took last year at Talladega after a similar Edwards tap – is pushing everyone’s luck.
It’s a part of a continuing give-and-take battle between Edwards and Keselowski, and Edwards at times been on the receiving end – as he was last Saturday, collecting his car after a Keselowski bump on that same last-lap battle.
But Keselowski has tended to get the worst of it. In his Atlanta crash his car went airborne, and last Saturday it was rammed by a trailing car after crashing into the wall.
No matter how durable the cars may be, drivers can’t continue to walk away from wrecks like that forever.
Nobody is suggesting that Edwards is trying to injure Keselowski. In both crashes the two were battling for a win at the end of the race and there’s an unwritten rule that on the last lap anything goes.
But “anything” is going to get somebody hurt if it keeps on. Keselowski has been extremely lucky so far. So has Edwards – no driver wants an injured fellow driver on his conscience.
NASCAR also has been lucky. As soon as the first driver is injured, critics are going to start howling about NASCAR’s “have at it boys” edict at the start of the season. They’ll claim that NASCAR encouraged rough racing just to boost ratings.
Never mind that the majority of fans and media like the notion of spicing up the action and supports NASCAR’s effort to liven things up.
But NASCAR doesn’t want to see anyone hurt, and neither do fans. We like beating and banging and – admit it – we thrill to the excitement of spins and crashes. If there were no wrecks eventually there’d be no racing.
But while we like dented cars, we don’t want any dented drivers.
This is not the first time that a racing rivalry has turned ugly. Bobby Allison still harbors ill feelings toward old rival Darrell Waltrip from their battles of decades past. Bobby felt Waltrip was especially rough on his son Davey.
But the Edwards/Keselowski feud is developing into one for the ages. Both are talented, fiercely competitive young racers who are going to be batting each other for wins and championships for many years to come. It’s going to be intense. But it shouldn’t go beyond that. There has to be some limits, some boudaries.
Otherwise at some point one of them is going to pay the ultimate price and the other will be haunted by it forever.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments