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Pedley: Stewart Vs. Edwards Shaping Up Nicely

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, November 1 2011

Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, two of NASCAR's heavyweights, are fighting for the championship. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Erik J. Perel)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

It wasn’t boxing’s version of a televised challenge – the kind where two unemployables stand nose-to-nose in front of cameras, flanked by thug cretin promoters who are more adept at butchering the English language and the assumption that human kind is moving in a forward direction than they are at

advacing well-reasoned thought – but it will do nicely.

In fact, Tony Stewart  telling Carl Edwards by way of public pronouncement that he fully intends to be the driver who ends Jimmie Johnson’s five-year Sprint Cup rule, was a cool thing.

Spontaneous? Wise? Genuine? Not sure.

But, yes, dang cool for sure.

It came after Stewart won an ugly, angry Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Stewart got out of his car after earning the victory – his third through seven races of the 10-race Chase – and started jawing in the direction of points-leader Edwards.

“Carl Edwards had better be real worried,” Steward said in Victory Lane. He then gave Edwards some advice on sleeping habits for the next three weeks.

A few moments later, Edwards was asked about the shot by Stewart, who moved to second in points and is just eight points behind as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage knows how to hype a race.

Edwards, not looking real worried, blew the Stewart warning off, attributing it to an over-amped post-victory adrenal gland.

Stewart refused to recant. An hour later in the media center, the two-time champion restated his warning.

“My adrenaline has worn off and he better not sleep too long the next three weeks,” Stewart said.

Edwards, the slightest of cracks showing in his manicured attitude, said, “We’ll see what happens in Texas.”

Ah, Texas. What perfect timing for all this as the Chase moves to Texas Motor Speedway, where TMS president Eddie Gossage is already taking full advantage of Stewart’s challenge to spur interest in his race.

OK. This is what we like. Spice. We like the sport with a pinch of spice. Not out of control, boorish, manufactured trash talk; the kind spewed by the dog-killers and strip-club denizens that populate so many of the other sports. But good old honest verbal bravado.

What a refreshing dash of heat it is that Stewart and Edwards have provided.

All this should not be construed as a shot at Jimmie Johnson, arguably the best NASCAR driver ever. He did it his way. He killed his challengers off with a kind of ruthless politeness. He probably would have responded to Stewart’s warning by saying, yes, he might need tranquilizers to get to sleep over the next three weeks and, then, thank Smoke for his concern.

But kill off his challengers Johnson did; quality challengers and in numbers that other multiple champs never had to deal with.

But it’s getting cold out there. In meteorological terms and in terms of a sport which is looking rather tired and frayed.

The sport should not be turned into pure carnival. No capes, nicknames, posses or face paint, please. Keep it respectful and keep it clean.

But for years, and for obvious reasons (hint: follow the money) NASCAR has been scrubbed down to clinical cleanliness.

Untidying it with a smear or two of  honest emotional grease could be a good thing.

Let the boys have at it in words as well as deeds.

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

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, November 1 2011


  • Stephen says:

    Geez, Jim, why don’t you tell us what you really think of the sport of boxing and those that inhabit it?

  • Stephen says:

    Geez, Jim, why don’t you really tell us what you think of the sport of boxing and those that inhabit it?