Did something happen in NASCAR? I thought I might have seen a car flip, but I wasn't sure ...
Seriously, the uproar over the
Here's a quick reminder of how to reach me before we get started:
OK, so let's start with your reactions to the penalty itself. The general vibe among fans seems to be that a three-race probation was somewhere between "not enough" and "incredibly insulting:"
These were the best of literally hundreds of emails I got on this subject. Great points here, but I want to make an important distinction: Edwards was NOT attempting to injure Keselowski.
Yes, Edwards wanted to return the favor after getting wrecked out on Lap 40. You can debate whether it was the right thing to do, or if the "eye for an eye" principle should even apply. But when Edwards got back to Kes' bumper with three laps left, he wanted to spin him out ... not injure him. There's a difference.
Just like what
Here's the stat for Edwards that pops out in my mind: in his last 25 Cup starts, he has a total of seven laps-led.
Now, why so small a penalty?
It all comes down to Erik's email above: NASCAR is between the proverbial rock and hard place, trying to desperately shed the label of being the "Boy Who Cried Wolf." At the beginning of the season, NASCAR made it clear drivers would be allowed to self-police on the racetrack. So if it suspends Edwards here, how does that make the organization look?
You can't cherry pick tracks where drivers can retaliate, because
There's one other important factor to consider:
That's the most important thing I took out of the Edwards-Keselowski fracas: this wing can't come off soon enough. NASCAR President
So much for the new car being safer than the old, huh? I think if Keselowski doesn't flip, we're not talking about this incident because Edwards merely does what he intends to do -- rattle Brad's cage without putting him at risk for injury.
The question now: Where do we go from here? I think that's more for Keselowski to answer than Edwards ... just listen to the fans:
Mimi said it best. Quick: name one driver not associated with Penske Racing who's jumped out to Brad's defense?
Waiting ... still waiting... Ah, here's
"I'm sure a lot of people wanted to pay him back," Montoya said.
Hmm ... what about
"3 race probation for Edwards! Awesome, I love it!!! I bet Keselowski is scared now," Speed said via his Twitter feed.
And so it goes. Perhaps one of the major lessons Brad has learned from this incident is he doesn't have many driver friends inside the garage, the result of multiple wrecks through the years where he's been at fault. As someone who likes to walk to the beat of his own drummer, Keselowski may not be bothered by that. But Edwards is the second person to stand up to him after multiple incidents involving the two and say, "You're not going to get away with bumping people without getting bumped back."
That leaves Keselowski with a few choices: keep his driving style the way it is (and risk additional retaliation every time he's in a wreck) or alter his style and personality slightly so he's got a little more respect inside the garage area. Will he adjust? Time will tell ... but with Keselowski 33rd in points, you wonder whether
Interesting point. In NASCAR's defense, it said it was easing penalties for driver aggression, not oversized engines. But that's a pretty big disparity for flipping a guy versus having an old engine be a tick over the size limit only to blow up and take you out of the race on Lap 3 en route to finishing last.
Finally, while this penalty was so much lighter than expected, you'd think no one on Edwards' side would be unhappy. But believe it or not, there's someone who can't believe he even got hit that hard:
Thanks for the email, A&P (the couple, not the supermarket). Let's not forget that it wasn't just Edwards' intentional hit that got him in trouble; he also sped the wrong way down pit road and put NASCAR officials in harm's way. That is usually grounds for some sort of fine, and I think based on that behavior alone it was impossible for him to get off without some form of probation.
Still, you talk about NASCAR playing favorites. Don't you think their favorite thing to do is place drivers on this imaginary probation? How often have you seen drivers on probation break the rules only to be given "extra probation?" I don't think there's such a thing as a NASCAR parole officer, because I can't remember the last time a violation caused an automatic suspension. Oh yeah, that's because it's never happened.
So whether it's three races or the whole season, don't fret A&P. Even if Carl breaks the rules, it's not like he's heading to the bench anytime soon.