You know what they say about payback. In the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway yesterday Carl Edwards paid Brad Keselowski back for previous grievances. His intention was to merely spin Keselowski out and send a message. The result was something else entirely.
Once Keselowski?s car turned around backwards it lifted off the ground and, in a scene eerily reminiscent of Carl Edward?s crash at Talladega last year (ironically started by contact with Keselowski), sailed upside down and backwards into the crash wall.
The good news is that, in spite of severe damage to car?s roll cage, Keselowski was not hurt. The bad news is that Carl Edwards may have done much to damage his ?Mr. Nice Guy? reputation.
Paybacks have been an integral part of stock car racing since the very first race. It is often the best way for one driver to send the message to another that he cannot be intimidated. Racers, just like any other life form, will pray on the weak. And to be perceived as weak on the short tracks of America is to be seen as someone who can be pushed around. The unspoken, unwritten rule of the jungle, as it were, has always been if shove me I will shove you back. If you spin me out, I?m going to put you in the fence.
The mistake Carl Edwards made was choosing to take his revenge on Keselowski on the fastest track on the circuit. Crashing someone at 195 miles per hour is not cool. The next race is just two weeks away at Bristol. There, Carl could have wrecked Keselowski without creating such a potentially serious result. Race drivers have long memories and Keselowski would?ve still got the message. And NASCAR might have even looked the other way.
As it stands now NASCAR will be reviewing the situation over the next couple of days, reviewing tapes, and interviewing the participants. No one knows what they will decide but it?s pretty sure that Edwards and the team will lose points or cash or both. But you can also be sure that paybacks will continue to be an accepted, if unspoken, part of the sport. Let?s all hope that in future it takes on a much less serious form.
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