I will never understand NASCAR's policing of its drivers. Carl Edwards gets a three race probation (only in the Cup series too) for deliberately wrecking Brad Keselowski in last Sunday's race at about 190 mph causing Keselowski to get airborne and fly into the outside retaining wall and catch fence upside down landing hard on the driver's side A - pillar.
Officially Edwards was found to be in violation of Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing - aggressive driving) of the 2010 NASCAR rule book.
Now granted having Keselowski flying through the air with the greatest of ease was not what Edwards intended to happen, all he wanted to do was just spin Keselowski out and into the grass but unfortunately things at 190 mph don't always go as planned.
Mike Helton explained NASCAR's position regarding this incident; "We made it very clear to [Edwards] that these actions were not acceptable and did go beyond what we said back in January, about putting the driving back in the hands of the drivers. I believe [Edwards] understands our position at this point."
Helton went on to explain; "I think first of all, I'll go back to the fact that we parked Carl as soon as the [Atlanta] incident occurred, for the balance of the event," Helton said. "You can look back at the incidents at Homestead [Denny Hamlin wrecking Keselowski, Tony Stewart wrecking Juan Montoya] where it was a one-lap penalty.
"So the immediate reaction [to Edwards' move] from NASCAR was parking the car for the balance of the event. That in its own can be a serious reaction from us, I think. The balance of it, I think, will still have to be sorted out among the drivers as to what their opinion or their interpretation of all of this is. - Dave Rodman nascar.com.
My initial response to the three race Sprint Cup only probation and NASCAR's explanation of it was;
"Oh come on Mike (Helton) there were like what, five laps left? And Carl only lost one position due to his 'parking' because he was so many laps down anyway. Yep that's a harsh penalty. I can see how that makes a significant impact on Carl in the standings, man he is going to suffer because of that (said with much sarcasm)."
Please Note: Expletive content has been edited for publishing.
So let me see Carl was running about 38th when this happened and lost only one place as a result of being parked which cost him 8 driver points while Brad was running 5th when Carl hit him causing him to finish 36th and potentially losing Brad 105 points.
I'm sorry, I feel that the punishment does not suit the crime here. I understand that NASCAR wants the drivers to work these things out, but come on even parents who want their kids to solve their own issues between themselves need to discipline their children when they cross the line so they know right from wrong.
I'll conceed to what Aarron had to say in that Edwards has lost more than points in the court of public opinion, especially with the fans, is a more than fair assessment of this mess but what kind of message does NASCAR's ruling send to the other drivers? Go ahead boys hit each other all you want as long as you don't intend to send each other airborne, hurt each other, etc.?
Standards must be set and examples must be made, but in this case low standards were set and an ineffective example was made.
As I said the other day; "Which is it going to be? Have at it boys or Have havoc boys?"