Commentary

Edwards remains unrepentant

Updated: July 25, 2010, 11:55 AM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Carl Edwards sat down for his interview session Friday, smiled and said, "You guys see the race last week?"

Everyone chuckled, of course. Nice line, Carl.

Maybe we should ask him the same question, because apparently Edwards doesn't see things in the proper context.

Carl just doesn't get it. Twice this season, he has angrily and deliberately wrecked Brad Keselowski at high speeds on straightaways. Both of those conscious decisions caused terrifying accidents that could have produced tragic consequences. The latest one was last weekend in the Nationwide race at Madison, Ill.

Yet Edwards is totally unrepentant. Vengeance is mine, sayeth Carl.

This isn't "have at it, boys." It's "survive it if you can, boys."

And Edwards, who won the race moments after the carnage he caused, really doesn't care. He accepts his probation (again), his 60-point penalty (how painful to lose those Nationwide points) and his $25,000 fine. (Oh my, how will he pay the bills?)

[+] EnlargeBrad Keselowski
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesThere weren't a lot of straight body panels left on Brad Keselowski's car after his run-in with Carl Edwards at Gateway. Luckily there was a lot left of Keselowski himself.

He did apologize Friday, but not to Keselowski. He apologized to the other drivers involved in his consequences-be-damned decision.

He stated his case, firmly believing his actions were justified.

But his logic is flawed. For every question, Edwards had an answer that showed his lack of concern.

"I don't hear the public outcry," Edwards said. "Every single person that talked to me thought it was the right outcome for the race. The people I talked to seem to think that race went well."

Apparently, Edwards didn't take a random sample of opinions. Ryan Newman equated Edwards' action to manslaughter.

"Going out there and purposely crashing somebody is not 'have at it, boys,'" Newman said. "Some people have thought of manslaughter or attempted manslaughter. That's closer to what it is.

"I'm all for 'have at it, boys.' Let us race. But that's not racing. We should paint up a No. 99 for Carl to go race demolition derbies."

Newman said he sees a simple solution.

"Brad hasn't decked Carl yet," he said. "Brad just needs to go up there and lay one across his lip and everything will be fine."

Kevin Harvick, speaking on ESPN on Thursday about the incident, said Edwards' actions were deplorable.

"It was a low blow, as low as you can go," he said. "He hooked [Keselowski] on the straightaway. I don't think you can stand up on the pit box and be proud about that one."

Jeff Burton said Edwards got off light.

"Watching it happen, I thought we would see a much bigger penalty than what we saw," he said. "I have no beef with Carl, but the man who put someone in jeopardy was penalized less than he should have been penalized."

Not in Edwards' eyes. He sees it as simple tit for tat. Brad bumped him; he bumped Brad.

"Our actions are not very different," Edwards said. "The outcomes are different. I'm not the one initiating these incidents. I just do a better job of keeping my car under control."

Another little shot at Keselowski, but let's examine that statement. Keselowski got underneath Edwards' left rear quarter panel entering Turn 1 of the last lap, trying to take the lead. The two cars made contact, and Edwards slid up the track.

Later, Edwards slammed into Keselowski going full speed with the intent of wrecking him, knowing Keselowski would crash.

Brad Keselowski Intentional wrecking is a big difference from 'have at it, boys' in my mind. But everybody has a different interpretation to it.

-- Brad Keselowski

"What Brad did is exactly what [NASCAR] is trying to promote," said ESPN analyst Andy Petree, a former crew chief. "But Carl stepped over the line. I think everyone realizes that. He's done it twice now. We don't need to see that in the sport.

"But my question is, why was Brad put on probation? To me that sends a mixed signal."

Burton agrees.

"I can't understand why Brad got probation," he said. "What did he do wrong? He got into Carl a little bit in the turn. That's just racing."

Edwards doesn't think so. He doesn't believe Keselowski bumped him by accident, as Keselowski claims.

"I believe he did not make a mistake," Edwards said. "He moved me out of the way to gain an advantage, and it almost worked. That wasn't a slip-up. He's too good of a race car driver. He knows what he's doing."

Let's assume for a moment Edwards is right. Keselowski traded paint with Edwards on purpose. So? Isn't that the point of "have at it, boys"? Rubbin' is racing. Moving a driver out of the way on a turn to win a race is NASCAR at its best.

"It's not OK to move me out of the way," Edwards said. "I can't allow myself to be run over like that."

Edwards isn't the one who got run over.

"Intentional wrecking is a big difference from 'have at it, boys' in my mind," Keselowski said. "But everybody has a different interpretation to it."

Especially Edwards. He doesn't see the difference between racing hard and racing with rage that endangers others.

"There's nothing personal from my side," Edwards said. "I have lot of respect for Brad, but he can't just run into me to get an advantage."

Nothing personal. No matter what happens, Edwards is going to make his point.

He just doesn't get it.

Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com. His book, "The Blount Report: NASCAR's Most Overrated and Underrated Drivers, Cars, Teams, and Tracks," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy. Blount can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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