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Carl Not Automatically The Bad Guy

Nick Bromberg | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, July 21 2010

Carl Edwards takes the checkered flag at Gateway International Raceway on Friday night. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Nick Bromberg | Staff Writer
RacinToday.com

In the immediate aftermath of the third round of Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski’s ongoing feud at Gateway Saturday night I wasn’t surprised to see media members and fans alike instantly taking sides. The vast majority of those reactions sided with Keselowski.

It it was a presidential election, it would render the barrage of election day media coverage irrelevant. Chuck Todd would be in bed by 11, hours after Keselowski made his acceptance speech. Yes, it was that lopsided.

Why? Edwards certainly isn’t blameless in this situation, but why is he suddenly the bad guy in this round? It’s almost like the NFL, where the guy who retaliates draws the flag, while the instigator and his team get off scot free.

By getting into the left rear corner of Edwards’ car and forcing him into a slide in turn one of that final lap at Gateway, Keselowski gave Edwards every right to return the favor in the last half of the lap. It may have been harmless, a simple overdrive into turn one by Keselowski, or it may have been a calculated move, designed to get Edwards out of shape and out of the groove. Either way, he let Edwards know that he was willing to play rough for the win.

The immediate parallel to the Edwards and Keselowski incident seemed to be the bump-and-run clinic that Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson put on in June at New Hampshire. But Busch bumped by Johnson with seven laps to go, and Johnson returned the favor with two to go. Edwards had half a lap to take care of business. He didn’t have time to calculate a bump-and run-maneuver on Keselowski.

And Edwards thought that he had a shot at passing Keselowski cleanly for the win in turns three and four, which is why he didn’t fire his shot in the corner. It’s the ultimate victory for a driver to cleanly beat another driver head to head after that driver uses questionable tactics to attempt to pass, and by hanging on the outside and giving Keselowski plenty of room, Edwards initially went for that strategy.

But Keselowski got a great bite off of turn four and edged out ahead of Edwards as they emptied out onto the frontstretch. Edwards didn’t have any other options. He wasn’t going to beat Keselowski to the line in a drag race and any slight nudge would still let Keselowski stay in the gas and wouldn’t give Edwards any advantage. Turning him into the wall was Edwards’ only option.

Columbia, Mo., Carl’s hometown, is just two hours west on I-70 from Gateway. Edwards and friends rode their bikes 200 miles on the Katy Trail along the Missouri River to the race. Along with Kansas, Gateway is Carl’s home track. Winning at Gateway means a lot to Edwards, and he felt that he had the win taken away from him in turn one. As he said in Victory Lane, he had to do what he had to do.

Just like Atlanta, it wasn’t Edwards’ intention to turn Keselowski into a wounded opossum in front of the rest of the field Saturday night. The collateral damage of other cars slamming into Keselowski probably wasn’t even in his thought process, just like it wasn’t when Keselowski moved Edwards, knowing full well that even the slightest miscalculation could send Edwards spinning.

Late Saturday night on Twitter, Michael Waltrip said “we make choices. Be prepared to deal with the consequences of those choices.” Sometimes those consequences end up being more severe than we expect.

– Nick Bromberg is a frequent contributor to RacinToday.com

Nick Bromberg | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, July 21 2010
32 Comments

32 Comments »

  • the Bear says:

    Looked to me(after watching replays) “Bad Brad” made the same mistake “The Cuz” did at “Dega” last year! Try’in to block is gonna get ya dumped!! Just sorry it took the others that it did out!

    • Dave in Indy says:

      So even though Carl admitted to hooking Carl on purpose, you are still going with the “Brad blocked and / or moved up line?” Shees. You must have watched a different race.

  • Tom says:

    What most defenders of Carl fail to mention is that even though Brad got into Carl in turn one and got him loose, Carl and Brad were both able to regain control of their cars. They raced down the backstretch with Carl regaining the lead, Brad was actually tucked back in BEHIND Carl going into turn three. Brad dove under Carl in the corner and passed him cleanly coming through turn 4. When Carl realized the he couldn’t catch Brad before the checkered flag he spun him into the wall on the straightaway, endangering not only Brad’s safety but the safety of all the other competitors racing towards the checkered flag. Did Brad get into Carl on purpose in turn one? We’ll never know for sure, but to me it’s a mute point since it did NOT take the lead away from Carl. What Carl did was dangerous and has once again shown he has no control over his emotions. If you don’t think what I am saying is true, watch the replay of the last lap again, I have several times.

    • Dave in Indy says:

      You should have written the article and not this Nick guy because you are spot on. Unfortunately, every Tom, Dick and Carol E., with a keyboard thinks that they can write about racing and do so objectively.

  • Richard Racehorse says:

    Shane, simmer down and ask yourself: Who would have won the race if neither driver had made contact?

    Right! Cousin Carl! Poetic justice.

    End of forkin’ story! Let’s hear it for Carl!!

    • J.P says:

      If you think so, bump an run has made NASCAR racing. I am a racecar driver and have had that pulled on me plenty. I have also done it to other drivers. However, I have never torn up racecars to do it. That fact is, Brad is a better driver than Carl and all Carl can do is wreck people. End of forkin’ story! Let’s see Carl suspended!!!

  • Gail says:

    Nick, you certainly used a lot of words to justify Carl’s behavior. But it doesn’t wash. As so many others, including veteran race drivers, have said, a bump in the corner is not equivalent to slamming into somebody on the straightaway. One of your justifications is that Carl didn’t see any other way to win! Excuse me, does that mean that any actions taken in pursuit of a win are justified? Maybe Carl just got beat, and he should learn to take it like a man – he has certainly had a lot of practice the last two seasons. In the meantime, I can’t wait for sanity to prevail this weekend when Kyle Busch runs away with another NNS win and renders all this dicussion moot.

  • Gabby says:

    Nick – Thanks for an honest assessment of the situation. It’s very interesting to note that Carl “did what he had to do” to win. That meant not letting off the gas. Something like what Brad did at Talladega last year. He (Brad) knew from the time of the drivers’ meeting that if he was in a position to win, he would not lift or change his line no matter who got wrecked in the process. And Carl ended up in the fence that time.

    • Dave in Indy says:

      At Talladega, drivers were warned about blocking and changing lanes. Carl decided to block and he turned himself across Brad’s nose. Apples and Oranges to Gateway.

  • mikeyfan5599 says:

    So Carl running out of talent in turn 3 justified his using a “pit maneuver” on Brad. Let’s look at this incident step by step on the last lap.

    They entered turn 1 Carl on the high side Brad low. Brad moved up the track and tapped Carl in the left rear wiggling the rear of Carls car and causing Carl to burp the gas. Carl recovered and had 7/8 of a car length lead going into turn 3. Carl ran out of talent and overdrove the turn and slid up, while Brad hit his marks and came out of 4 with the lead. The fact that Carl was mad that he screwed up he decided to “Pit” Brad on the Straight away forcing Brad head on into the Concrete wall and down the track into oncoming traffic and tearing up 8 other cars. Oh BTW Brad had the front and rear clip tore off the car by the impact of the other cars. Carl deserves to be suspended for Indy, (see Harvick in 2002) and suspended for the remainder of the Nationwide series. I just hope that Minor League win was worth it for him.

    • Dave in Indy says:

      I was thinking more along the lines of suspending from all NASCAR activity for one week and Nationwide for 3 races. Probation and pulling his HOT / Hard card. Love Carl to death (and Robby Gordon) but sometimes they think with their rear ends and not their brains. Robby has gotten better, except for the brake lock at Chicagoland.

  • Dave in Indy says:

    Fair is fair? What Carl did was justified? What are y’all smoking?! More on point, what race were y’all watching?! Honestly I like Carl so much more than Brad and Brad has fully deserved the “twit” status that he has earned but Carl’s reaction was over the top. Sure there was a bump and run in one but Carl could have easily done a bump and run or a dump in run in three and all would have been square (remeber Rusty and Geoff Bodine at Wilkesboro YEARS ago? It was an equal trade ) HOWEVER he decided that he did not want to merely get him out of the way, he wanted to show him who was boss and not to mess with him. Countless cars were tore up in the mean time.

    Eranhardt, Petty and Pearson did not purposefully hook a guy in the quarter panel on the main strait and cause a wreck like that. Dale almost made you feel good about getting wrecked.

    It’s like this. Say that Carl and a bunch of guys are watching TV and a fly (named Brad) comes in and starts buzzing Carl’s head. Carl can do two things. He can get the flyswatter out and rectify the situation OR he can leave and firebomb the place on the way out. Sure the latter takes care of the situation but there are lots of innocent victims. Carl chose the firebomb route. Love Carl but the psychopath needs help. Honestly.

    • Andy says:

      @Dave. You’re right Sr. never wrecked anyone like that on the straightaway….

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2R3iXnNaF8

      or Petty and Pearson…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLmyfU7sCrw

      “Sure there was a bump and run in one but Carl could have easily done a bump and run or a dump in run in three ”

      How exactly could Carl done that? By turning into the right rear of Brad’s car and sending him head first into the wall? The author is totally right; that was Carl’s only move that he could make.

      • Dave in Indy says:

        Andy – he did not have to make ANY move. Sometimes you have to say he got me, I’m gonna finish second tonight. I still will cheer for Carl a million times more than Crashalotski but I will call a psychopath a psychopath. I guess that a Psycho might be what NASCAR needs, LOL.

        • Dave in Indy says:

          About Carl paying him back, why not hit him in the center of the rear bumper and turning him into the infield grass? When Hamlin paid Brad back last year, he chose to do it such a way to spin him out to the left, not hook him and not cause a big fracas. Carl just did not care.

          • Andy says:

            You’re totally right. He didn’t have to wreck him. What I meant to say, was that wrekcing him was his only option to win it…

            As far as why he didn’t spin him out to the left and safely put him in the infield or do a bump and run on him – he couldn’t because he was on the outside.

            I’m not saying he was correct in doing so, just that he could either A) race side-by-side and watch Brad win or B) wreck him off of 4.

            • Dave in Indy says:

              You are right – he could not have wrecked him going into 3 because he was on the outisde but more importantly, he was in the LEAD. Carl messed up on his own by not being able to hold it. Brad might have taken it away from Carl in one but Carl took it back and he could have won it if he hadn’t ran out of talent and grip in three.

              • Andy says:

                Definitely.

                So, aside what he SHOULD have done, how do you think these guys will treat each other in the future? Should I stop getting seats in the bottom 20 rows of a race?

                • Dave in Indy says:

                  You’ll be okay on the front row, LOL. I think that Brad was put on probation more to ensure that he doesn’t rub Carl the wrong way, in a payback fashion, than him getting loose and / or getting into Carl in one. I think and hope that it is over. I would have preferred a suspension but 60 points sends a message too.

  • Bill B says:

    Ken,
    Depending on how blatant a driver is willing to be, there is a point where God himself couldn’t save the car. If you want to wreck someone, and you don’t care how obvious it is, it isn’t that hard to do.
    You make it sound like no matter what occurs on the track a “good” driver should always be able to keep the car under control. That is a totally ridiculous statement. IF that were the case then a good driver would still be able to control the car when the tire blew out.

  • Ritchie says:

    Instant justice. Just like it was in the 70’s. I love it.

  • Ken says:

    It’s simple. Brad started it but Carl was able to regain control. Carl paid him back and Brad wasn’t able to do the same. Fair is fair and Brad got exactly what he deserved.

  • Bill B says:

    Yeah, keep making excuses. There was nothing professional or creative about that move. It was blatant.

  • Sal says:

    You can only say “I didn’t mean to do it” once or twice before you’re the boy crying wolf. Carl didn’t MEAN to put BK’s car airborn at Atlanta…but what did he think would happen on the straight doing 190 mph? He didn’t MEAN to spin him on front of the field and damage several other cars…but what did he think would happen coming to the checkered flag? He has shown before he has no regard for the safety of other drivers, and physical confrontations with other drivers aren’t unusual for him. I’d say this is a pteern of behavior that shows he has problems controlling his anger, endangering others in the process. There’s a difference between ‘bump and run’ (which is what BK did), and wreck the guy. If he doesn’t know the difference, he needs to learn it fast.

    • Richard Racehorse says:

      Uh, Sal.

      Cousin Carl said he “meant” to do it. Pay attention.

      Gotta hand it to Carl. He’s honest. He got bumped. He got a little payback. And he won.

      That’s racin’. Dale Earnhardt would certainly approve!

      • J.P says:

        Wow!! what race were you watchin’

        • Richard Racehorse says:

          JP, you may have been a racecar driver, but you’ll never win any prizes for intelligence.

          You never answered the question: Who would have won the race had there been no contact at all?

          Right! Cousin Carl! So Brad was the fly in his own ointment.

          Another question, Mr. Racecar driver, ultimate master of the delicate bump and run. If you had been in Carl’s shoes, would you have politely let Brad go ahead and win the race? Even though you had the car to catch up with him?

          Please do your best to focus and answer each of these questions.

          Now we’ll check out your integrity level, which I suspect is down there with your IQ.

          • J.P says:

            Now that i’ve located firmly under your skin. Brad would have won. He beat carl off four regardless of the bump an run. If your going to talk intelligence, thats a whole other argument. Seems like you have a problem staying focused. If we were going make posts to see who is smartest than you picked the wrong website. However, after reading your previous post, you can’t be a racefan because Dale Earnhardt raced hard and sometimes people got wrecked, including himself. It was so amazing that you could put Dale Earnhardt and Carl even remotely close together. I apologize that I couldn’t answer your question, but I needed a whole day to over come such a impossible statement. I hope I answered your question. Finally, in the 100m dash, does the runner next to leader reach out and push them out of bounds or trip them? I apologize again, I answered your question with a question.

  • Dinky Jambalaya says:

    Nick,

    Thanks for speaking the truth! This is old-school racing the way Earnhardt, Petty, and Pearson did it. It’s what ‘have at it’ means. You race for the win, and if you deal someone dirty you’re liable to get dirty back to you.

    Don’t let the Keselowski fanboys get you down. They’re just upset he didn’t completely turn Edwards when he had the chance. After all, the first rule of the bump-and-run is “don’t let the guy you bumped catch up to you, because you’re going to get it back”.

  • John says:

    there is nothing wrong with the bump and run, it’s not the cleanest move, but it makes things exciting and is not a problem. Deliberately wrecking someone which he did so obviously, then admitting it on TV, very wrong and it’s not the first time we’ve seen it from Carl since he came to cup. I lost all respect for him a while ago and it’s sure no better now. I don’t knwo what carl’s problem is, but he needs anger management, or possibly help in another way, sometimes I wonder if it’s roid rage.

  • ed says:

    Carl Edwards has a mean streak a mile wide that has been demonstrated time and time again. Behind the PR induced pretty boy act (be sure to take off your sunglasses wihile being interviewed on TV to show off your blue eyes) is a classless little snot with a chip on his shoulder that allows him to justify behaving badly whenever he chooses. Since you seem to be a buddy of Carl’s, Mr. Bromberg, perhaps you would know. Has he stopped beating his wife yet?

  • Shane says:

    You are obviously an Cousin Carl fan. There is a huge difference between the bump and run in a corner where the corner keeps you from spinning out, and running through someone in a straight way. Brad did not run through Carl, which would have left him disabled to be run over by the rest of the field. Look at the video…on the straight away, Carl turns into Brad, and from the smoke on the spinning tires he never let up on the gas until he had Brad completely spun around. If he had used the bump and run, this would not be an issue. Brad had him beat and Carl sunk to the lowest depths to steal the race from someone who had beat him. This was the act of a desperate loser.