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Edwards, Keselowski Stand Their Ground

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 23 2010

Carl Edwards had at Brad Keselowski – whatever that means – at Gateway on Saturday night. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Indianapolis – Those hoping that five days of reflection would cause Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards to reinterpret what happened between them on the final lap of last Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race were wasting their hopes.

Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the two drivers stood fast with their did-not/did too portrayals of their actions at Gateway.

No apologies were issued for the Gateway incidents.

The final lap went like this in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway: Edwards had the lead when the white flag waved. Keselowski was second. In Turn One, Keselowski bumped Edwards from behind. Edwards’ car wiggled and Keselowski moved to the lead. Coming out of Turn Four, Edwards got into Keselowski, whose car went up and hit the wall and then moved back down the track where it was rammed by a couple of other cars. Edwards won the race.

Keselowski claimed Edwards deliberately wrecked him and did it in a dangerous manner. After the race, Edwards admitted he bounced Keselowski out of his way as retribution for what happened three turns earlier. And on Friday, surrounded by a large group of reporters, he didn’t back off.

“I can’t allow myself to get run over like that,” Edwards said. “I’m Carl. I didn’t get here by getting run over.”

Keselowski continued to insist that the Turn One bump was unintentional.

“I just wanted to maintain (position) and just slipped a tiny bit and made some contact with him,” Keselowski said. “I tried to make sure that we both saved it and we did. To me that’s just good racing. That’s two race car drivers on edge and that’s what I was trying to allude to in the interview after the race.  In my eyes, when we came off the corner we were still in the same spot. I guess that’s why didn’t think it was that big of a deal as some other people did.”

Edwards said, “That was intentional. I mean, he moved me out of the way to gain an advantage and it almost worked. He almost won the race.”

Edwards says there is something that he does feel bad about and that was that other cars behind the front-stretch wreck got caught up. He issued an apology to those drivers and teams.

Gateway was not the first place which Edwards and Keselowski tangled in dramatic fashion. Or even the second as they were involved in nasty incidents at Talladega last year and Atlanta this spring.

While Edwards says he has nothing personal against Keselowski, he does say that their past played a part last Saturday night.

“If that were somebody in that car that we hadn’t had all the trouble with before, then that finish would have turned out differently. That’s for sure. Because, maybe I could have accepted that it was unintentional. But Brad is a really good race car driver and he knows what he’s doing. I know that and he knows that and that is why that race went the way it did.”

Keselowski scoffed at the notion that Edwards has nothing personal against him.

“If that’s not personal, I don’t know what personal is,” Keselowski said.

But, he said, “I can see why Carl was upset. You have to remember that you don’t have the benefit of seeing it on TV. You can only see what’s in front of you and all that he knew was I made contact with him. I can see why he would be upset. In fairness, if I was to reverse the situation and I was in Carl’s car, I would have done the best I could to not have let him pass in three and four and if I did get passed, I would have turned it around to then next week or the next opportunity.”

Both drivers were issued penalties as a result of the incidents. Both were put on probation and Edwards was docked 60 points and fined.

Neither driver was surprised by the penalties.

Both drivers said they think the issued has been settled and is over.

They will be on the same track at the same time twice this weekend – at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Nationwide cars on Saturday and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sprint Cup cars on Sunday.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 23 2010
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