I published my NASCAR race review of the Kobalt Tools 500 after the race. I told you what happened in the race. I reported what was shown to me on television and what was told to me by the announcers. Alas, I was not there at the track. Now all the talk is about Carl deliberately getting into Brad and sending him into the air. And I’ve read a lot of comments from many fans (?). Here’s my take.
Brad Keselowski last year was a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver. Carl Edwards is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver who was racing in all the Nationwide races, hoping to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship. He and Kyle Busch were both going for the Title. In my opinion, no Sprint Cup driver should be allowed to race in all the races and go for the Title. It’s not their Championship to win.
Nationwide drivers competing with Cup drivers is supposed to make them better drivers, as they are competing with the best. And it is supposed to bring more fans to the races. But should they be allowed to take over the Series? Should they dictate how a driver races and be the police in the Series? Should the other Nationwide drivers be expected to show respect for the Cup drivers by moving over and letting the Cup drivers take the spots and wins? Or should the Nationwide drivers be allowed to RACE with those Cup drivers? These Nationwide drivers are learning. But must they learn only what the Cup drivers wish them to learn? Or should they be allowed to race with these Cup drivers? Does more experience give them the right to make sure they win all the races?
Brad Keselowski decided he was a Nationwide driver and went for the Championship. He is an aggressive driver. He won’t just pull over so a Cup guy can get by. If that Cup driver is going to get past him, Brad will make sure he earns the spot. He won’t be pushed around by other drivers who think they are better than him. He has taken spots away from the Cup drivers. And even had four wins. Is that bad for the Series when a Nationwide driver races for the win?
Brad may be too aggressive for some Cup drivers’ taste. But he wants to win his own Series’ Title. Brad has gotten into drivers and spun many. Nothing intentional. He was just racing for the position and refused to just hand it over. Brad would race by some of them, and apparently that was not acceptable. Only Cup drivers are allowed to drive aggressively in the Nationwide Series? Denny Hamlin had a problem with Brad. Brad wanted the position as much as Denny did. And they’d get together. Brad would try to drive by, but Denny wouldn’t always let him. Brad got into Denny, in my opinion, to keep his position. Denny wouldn’t like the fact that Brad stuck up for himself and wouldn’t roll over for Denny. Or anyone. So Denny announced he would punish Brad for taking out Nationwide drivers. He announced to NASCAR and the media that he would “take care of it”. And NASCAR fined him one lap for deliberately spinning Brad. Why is it that only a Cup driver should be allowed to win the Nationwide races?
In the Kobalt Tools 500, there was a racing incident. Carl wanted the spot that Brad held. Carl came down onto Brad, and Brad was expected to lift so Carl could get in. Why? Brad has just as much right to the spot as Carl. Brad was already there. So, what happened was Carl came down on Brad. Brad held his ground and Carl got into Brad and went up the track into Joey Logano and then into the wall. There was nothing deliberate about Brad’s actions. He merely held his position. Carl took offense to that. Brad should have given him more room. Why? Does Carl give anyone the room they need? I don’t think so.
In the Kobalt Tools 500, Kasey Kahne was the dominant car. He raced to lead the most laps and pulled away from everyone. If he lost the lead in the pits, he quickly regained the lead later in the run. He had the winning car. Then Carl comes back onto the track and goes after Brad. Brad is having a great race, in sixth place. Trying for the win. And Carl gets back on the track, 150+ laps down, with the expressed purpose of taking Brad out. And does just that. He sends Brad flying into the air, almost into the stands of fans. Using his car as an instrument of destruction. He didn’t mean for the car to get airborne. He just wanted to spin him out. Why? Because of the way Brad drove in the Nationwide Series (in his own Series) last year?
There was a caution and everyone pitted. Kasey ended up behind Juan Pablo Montoya, who spinned his tires at the restart. With only two laps to go, Kasey had no chance of regaining the lead and winning.
Carl took revenge on Brad for something that happened last year in the Nationwide Series. For being a Nationwide driver who wanted to win. Carl admitted after seeing the replay that it wasn’t as evil as he thought it had been. Yet he spent more than 150 laps in the garage planning his revenge. He used his car as a weapon to take Brad out. Did Brad deserve to be taken out? Some say he did because of last year in the Nationwide series. But is that the way racing should be? I don’t think so. Brad didn’t do anything in this race to deserve to be taken out.
Will NASCAR do anything to Carl? It wasn’t a “racing incident”. It was deliberate. He tried more than once to take Brad out. He used his car as a weapon. Should that be allowed? I don’t think so. NASCAR this year decided to “let them have at it”. To bump and beat and bang. But they were also told there was a line. And in my opinion, Carl crossed that line. He deliberately took Brad out and effected the outcome of the race. He used his car as a weapon for perceived wrong-doing in the Nationwide races last year. That should not be tolerated.
We fans all want the drivers to show more emotion. We want them to race for the lead. We want them to make the racing more exciting. But was this more exciting than watching Kasey race and lead the most laps? Was it a better finish because it was two Green, White Checker restarts? Or would it have been more exciting if Carl never got into Brad and the race went to the end under Green? Paul Menard wouldn’t have done quite as well as he did. But it would have been more fun watching Kasey and Kurt go for the win under Green the rest of the way. Brad was having a great run. Should that have been taken away from him because he drove aggressively in his own Nationwide Series?
In my opinion, deserves more than being parked for the rest of the race. Or, do we fans really want to watch demolition derby in the Sprint Cup Series? I watch to see good racing. Not retaliation for something perceived. They should be more professional than that.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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