ATLANTA - MARCH 07: The wrecked #12 Penske Dodge, driven by Brad Keselowski, sits in the garage after an incident on tack during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 7, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
There is no mistaken what Carl Edwards did today to Brad Keselowski was a big no no in the eyes of anyone watching the race including NASCAR but what kind of penalty is he going to face as a result?
Well Keselowski wants Edwards parked for at least one race, which seems possible but unlikely in my opinion.
Why? Sponsorship dollars. Think of the lost revenue by not having the Afflac, Scotts, (name of other sponsors here) car in the race. Certainly if I were a sponsor of Edwards I would not be pleased that my car was not in the race with my driver behind the wheel. Of course the 99 car would be in the race, but not with Edwards behind the wheel.
In fact I might just be so upset that I would pull all of my television advertising from the race too which would mean a loss of revenue for NASCAR and FOX.
Get the picture?
So what would you do?
Looking at Edwards' past history might help NASCAR's decision, so let's do that.
1) In 2006 Carl was wrecked on the last lap while leading at MIS in an incident caused by eventual winner Dale Jr. After getting fresh rubber Carl went back out on the track and crashed into the driver's side of the Dale Jr's car while he was on his cool down lap and while Jr had his hand out the window. He was given a fine and put on probation.
2) In 2006 Carl retaliates on Tony Stewart for a bone head move Stewart did earlier in the race and Carl spins out Tony while entering pit road for caution period pit stops while pit crew members were over the wall on pit road. I still have problems with this one even though Carl claimed that he spun Tony away from the pit crews, but Tony could have easily lost control of his car and went in a totally opposite direction.
3) Carl has an altercation in front of cameras with teammate Matt Kenseth after a race where Carl threatens physical aggression on a stunned Kenseth.
4) Carl and Kevin Harvick get into a shoving/wrestling match in the pits after practice - it is reported that punches were exchanged between the two.
These are just off the top of my head too, there might be more. I do believe that Carl and Busch got into it in Bristol one time, but I'm also sure Busch started it.
So what to do now that we've established a bit of 'history in payback' as it were?
Look at similar cases;
1) Kevin Harvick was parked for a Cup race for his actions in a Truck race at Martinsville involving the late Bobby Hamilton.
2) Ted Musgrave was parked for a race because he went back out on the track and wrecked Kelly Bires after being more than 100 laps down because of an altercation with Bires that caused him to be down that many laps.
3) Kevin Harvick and Jamie MacMurray are fined and put on probation for banging bumpers on each other.
and the list goes on.
So what now?
Well Dustin Long thinks NASCAR should just fine him a ton of points so its like he has been parked a race. Not a bad idea really.
Nail him hard so that it is like he missed a race. I'm OK with that, but I think I might just take it a bit further.
I'd nail him a minimum 200 points and park him a race too. If they can fine Carl Long 200K for a large motor in an exhibition race then they can fine Carl 250K for overly aggressive driving with the potential to injure other drivers (look at the A-piller on Keselowski's car - man he is lucky it didn't collapse any more) as well as spectators. Then I'd fine Roush/Fenway racing for not controlling their driver, make them take some ownership too. Roush would get hit with the same amount of point and dollar fines. Also, I'd make the 99 car ineligible for the next race regardless if they had a different driver in the car. They can run a different number on the car if they want, just not the 99 so they can't collect Owner Points either.
Harsh? Yes. Unfair? Maybe. Unrealistic? In the world of NASCAR yes. But if you don't make an example now then what's next? I mean the precedent of a one race suspension was set with Musgrave when, under similar circumstances he deliberately drove into Kelly Bires at Martinsville which is a short track where the speeds are about 1/2 they are at Atlanta, and Bires' truck didn't get airborne.
Some of you may think that I'm just saying this because I'm not an Edwards fan, well you have your right to say that, but based on this history and the precedents already established by NASCAR I'd be saying that about any driver out there that would be in Carl's shoes at this moment - even Dale Jr.
Now don't get me wrong I'm sure Carl had no intention for Keselowski's car to get airborne and I'm quite sure that he regrets doing what he did to Brad and if I had thought otherwise I would have said so and made the punishment even more harsh. We all do stupid things everyday, and we all must face the consequences of our actions - intended or not - and a NASCAR driver is no different in my opinion.
There's "Have at it boys" and then there's "Have havoc boys" - which is it going to be and at what cost?