NASCAR Racing: Bristol Motor Speedway

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Welcome, NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series is at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. First I’ll tell you what’s happening on the track, and then I’d like to comment on the Edwards vs. Keselowski issue. Please bare with me.

Friday was qualifying for the Food City 500. Joey Logano, in his #20 Toyota captured the pole with a speed of 124.630. This is Joey’s first ever pole. Starting second is the winner of the Atlanta race two weeks ago, #2 Kurt Busch. Kurt and his brother Kyle have won half the races in Bristol lately. We’ll see if either of them can win again. Kyle didn’t qualify very well, and will start the race from 38th.

Two drivers are going home this weekend, as they did not qualify. #13 Max Papis spun out while trying to qualify. And #36 Mike Bliss was the slowest. #71 Bobby Labonte had to take a past Champion provisional to get into the race. As you know, the top 35 in owner points of last year are locked into the first five races. After this race, the top 35 will be this year’s owner points. #90 Casey Mears and #46 Terry Cook finally qualified for a race. Terry is a regular in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and is a Rookie this year in Sprint Cup.

And now I’d like to talk about conflict between Carl and Brad. As you know, the fans wanted NASCAR to relax the rules governing ontrack racing and emotions. In the beginning of the year the drivers were told they can “have at it, boys”. Retaliation would not be penalized, as it has been. The drivers are to police themselves. Racing incidents could cause retaliation, and would not be penalized.

All went well for the first few races. And then Carl Edwards retaliated against Brad Keselowski at Atlanta. Brad didn’t give Carl as much room as he wanted and slipped up the track into Joey Logano, and then into the wall. Brad didn’t get into Carl. He merely didn’t let off as much as Carl wanted him to and kept the spot for himself. Carl watched the replay and decided it wasn’t as evil as he had thought the incident was. After being in the garage for more than 150 laps for repairs, and having time to fume about all the times Brad got into other drivers in 2009 in the Nationwide Series, Carl came back onto the track and tried his best to spin Brad out. It took three tries, but he finally did what he was trying to do. He sent Brad, who was racing in the top ten at the time, flying into the air.

It brings a whole new meaning to the “have at it, boys” philosophy. In the incident that caused Carl to head for the garage, Brad did nothing wrong. If he had let Carl in, Brad would have been hit from behind and the results might have been the same, only with Brad having damage, also.

Carl is a Cup driver who also ran the entire Nationwide Series, racing for that championship. Brad was a Nationwide regular. Some say Brad should not have been driving so aggressively that he caused others to spin out. Denny Hamlin took it upon himself to “show” Brad that he shouldn’t be driving that aggressively by spinning him in the last race at Miami-Homestead. My question is, who has more of a right to drive aggressively in the Nationwide series? A Cup regular or a Nationwide regular? And I believe the answer is the Nationwide driver. In my opinion, the Cup drivers are taking over the Series and should not be allowed to go for the Championship. Of course they are better. They are Cup drivers. Brad was not willing to be pushed around by the Cup drivers. Therefore, he was labeled aggressive and should not be allowed to do so.

In Atlanta, Carl stewed for more than 150 laps about all the times Brad got into him in the Nationwide Series and decided to be the one to teach Brad a lesson. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “policing”, don’t you think? Who appointed Carl to be the policeman? And how far back does retaliation go? The retaliation was not for the incident earlier in the race, but for incidents last year in a different series.

I have a hard time believing that this incident was what NASCAR meant when they relaxed the rules. They said there would be a line, but if this wasn’t the line that should not be crossed, what will be that line? Carl didn’t mean to send Brad into the air, but he clearly DID mean to take him out. This was NOT merely a racing incident. Carl had more than 150 laps to think about what he was going to do. Retaliation is one thing. Using your car, going 190 mph, as a weapon is quite another. Brad wants an explanation of what will be acceptable. Clearly, there needs to be SOME rules. This was not “in the heat of the moment”.

Okay, that’s all I’m going to say about it. Qualifying for the Nationwide Series and the race is today, Saturday. Both Carl and Brad will be in that race. It gives a whole new meaning to “bumping and banging”. Don’t you think?

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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