Aggressive vs. Tantrum

If you know me (either IRL or online), you know that I’m a NASCAR fan. I am a passionate NASCAR fan. I am a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr, Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, and Scott Riggs. I will always stand behind my drivers, but if they do something stupid, I’ll call ’em out on it.

I’ve been upset after a race before. I’ve been pissed at some driver or another or just at the dumb luck that has befallen one (or more) of my drivers. But I’ve NEVER in my life been so pissed off and worked up as I was after today’s race. At one point I was even in tears because I was so upset.

The incident in question: lap 323 …

Carl Edwards turns Brad Keselowski and sends Brad airborne after 3 attempts to do so on previous laps. Here are some pics of what Brad’s car looked like after the wreck: pic 1, pic 2, pic 3. It was a scary wreck and it took a while before they said if Brad was okay or not. The FOX broadcast showed replays of Carl gunning for Brad on earlier laps but missing. I guess he connected all right.

Why did Carl intentionally wreck Brad? Well, no one really knows except for Carl. But I’m pretty sure the incident on lap 40 had something to do with it. In that incident, Carl drifted down in front of Brad, Brad tapped Carl, and it sent Carl into Joey Logano and messing up both of their cars pretty bad while Brad kept going. Yes … I admit that Brad made contact with Carl, but it was a racing incident. Brad was pretty much on the yellow line. He held his line as Carl came down on him. Perhaps Brad could have let off the throttle and let Carl in, but you can’t stop a stock car going over 190 mph on a dime. Brad said he tried to let off the throttle, but he just wasn’t quick enough. Besides, Bobby Labonte was behind Brad. If Brad had let up, who’s to say that Labonte wouldn’t have run into him? Yes, it was early in the race, but Carl could have not tried to put his car where there was no room for it just as much as Brad could have let off the throttle and let Carl in. Neither were to blame or innocent.

NASCAR did park Carl for the rest of the race, but that didn’t really matter. There weren’t many laps left in the race and Carl was over 150 laps down. Carl didn’t deny that he wrecked Brad on purpose. Carl’s exact words:

Brad knows the deal between him and I. The scary part was his car went airborne, which was not at all what I expected. I have a lot of respect for people’s safety. I wish it wouldn’t have gone like it did, but I’m glad he’s OK.

Carl … the cars are going over 190mph at times around Atlanta. How can you not expect something bad is going to happen. And just because you didn’t “expect” him to go airborne, you still shouldn’t have hit him in the first damn place.

After the first incident, it almost sounded like (to me anyway) that Carl thought he was entitled or something … that Brad should have just rolled over and let him in because Brad is a rookie and Carl is a “seasoned veteran”. I don’t care who you are (even Dale Jr), no one is “entitled”. No one should have to move over and let another driver in a spot or let them pass without fighting for position as long as both cars are on the lead lap. Now, if you’re a lap car, yeah … get your ass out of the way. But Brad and Carl were on the same lap during the first incident. Why should Brad roll over for Carl?

Before anyone decides to flame me because I said that I am a Keselowski fan, I never said I wasn’t a Carl Edwards fan. No, he isn’t on my list of favorite drivers, but I didn’t hate him. I have actually cheered for him in a race or two. Not any more. His actions on the track today and his statements after the race have made me lose all respect for him. He had plenty of time to cool down after the first incident, and I believe the FOX pit reporter showed him a replay of what happened before they interviewed him. He consciously made the decision to go out and find Brad on the track and deliberately take him out (the replays showed that fact).

Now … if the tables had been turned … if Brad was the one who wrecked Carl intentionally, I’d be pissed at Brad. Same thing if Dale Jr or Martin Truex or any other driver did that to anyone else on the track (even Kyle Busch). When you’re going the speeds that they go at Atlanta, doing what Carl did was a very poor judgment call.

The other thing that has me pissed about all of this is the fact that there are a lot of people out there who say that Brad deserved what he got … that Brad had it coming … that Brad has taken out drivers in the past at other races. Some have even brought up Talladega last year when Carl flipped after Brad got into him and Brad when on to win (in that situation, Carl tried to block Brad and Brad held his line … Carl would have done the same if the situations had been reversed). I’ll admit that Brad is an aggressive driver. That’s one of the things I like about him. He had to be aggressive last year in the Nationwide series in order to be noticed with all the damn Cup drivers running full seasons (don’t even get me started on that front). But you can’t tell me that Brad is any more aggressive than Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin. The incidents that people have been mentioning have been “racing deals”. I can’t remember any incidents where Brad intentionally took out another driver (I could be wrong, but I’m sure if there have been any, they are few and far between).

We should find out Tuesday or Wednesday if NASCAR will penalize Carl any more than parking him for the rest of the race. Initially I was calling for NASCAR to park him. Now I’m backing off that. I do still think he should receive some sort of penalty. He should definitely lose some points and be fined some money … something harsh enough to prevent him (and any other driver) from doing something that stupid again. I have a feeling that NASCAR won’t do a damn thing though. If that’s the case, this will happen again, I guarantee it. It will keep happening until someone (driver, crew member, or fan in the stands) gets seriously hurt.