- Ed Hinton, NASCAR
- 0 Shares
CONCORD, N.C. -- Just because deep remorse is eating on Carl Edwards doesn't mean he's about to ease up, back off, or in any way slow the show he has so singularly been putting on in NASCAR lately.
"Not a chance," he said Friday. "This is me. This is how I do things and how I race, and that's the way it is."
If anything, his monstrous mistake at Talladega last Sunday -- detonating a 12-car wreck that wiped out six Chasers, including all three on his own team -- has left him even more eager to go all-out in Saturday night's Bank of America 500.
"I wish we could have started this race as fast as we could get here to race," he said. "When it's not going well -- man, you just want to race and go get back on top."
Exuberance, though, was the problem at Talladega, said his primary victim there, teammate Greg Biffle. Edwards bump-drafted Biffle too hard, and hit his rear bumper off-center, in a turn. Biffle didn't know what happened until he studied the video.
"It's obvious that he was just overanxious or excited," said Biffle.
That was very costly. Edwards and Biffle arrived at Talladega only 10 and 20 points, respectively, behind Chase leader Jimmie Johnson. They left 73 and 75 behind.
"I thought Carl knew better," said Matt Kenseth, the other Roush Chaser knocked out in the wreck. "He's been preaching the stuff about being careful and working together and teammates and all this stuff, so I was disappointed it happened. But yet it was an accident, and that stuff will happen."
Edwards has talked this week with Biffle, Kenseth and team owner Jack Roush. Roush "wanted to make sure I understood, and I do now more than ever, how bad that was for everyone," Edwards said.
"I've thought about it a lot this week," Edwards continued. "I hope those aren't the points that cost everybody real big [that is, the margin by which a championship might be lost]. I hope we can make them up, but I also appreciate Greg telling me that he understands it was a mistake and not an intentional deal."
Biffle looks at the whole thing, including the points dip, about the way you view the dwindling of your 401(k) lately -- little can be done about it now.
"I know he didn't mean to do it," Biffle said. "Certainly he didn't want to wreck himself. And that's what he did, he wrecked himself."
The Roush cars are strong on intermediate tracks, so a dogfight a la Dover could develop among the teammates again Saturday night at 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"There's nothing I'm going to do about it now," Biffle said, a vague indication he intends no retaliation against Edwards. "I've lost the points. We've wrecked the cars, and it's going to do no good to point fingers "
Not everyone understood.
Edwards got into a heated altercation with Kevin Harvick, another Chaser caught up in the Talladega melee, in the garage area at Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday. But Edwards refused to comment on that run-in.
Kyle Busch, also caught in the wreck -- although he was pretty much hopeless in the Chase anyway -- said that if he were Biffle, "I'd be mad. If it was Denny [Hamlin, Busch's own teammate] doing that behind me, then I'd be pretty upset because he was a little overaggressive in trying to bump-draft."
Edwards' on-track enthusiasm has put most of the pizzazz in NASCAR in the last two months. He outdueled Busch at Michigan he knocked Busch out of the way to win at Bristol after Busch had dominated he engaged in a late-race dogfight with Biffle and Kenseth at Dover, but lost to Biffle he darted underneath Johnson on the last lap at Kansas and tried to pull a dirt-track-style "slide job," but wound up hitting the wall harder than he'd planned, and lost to Johnson.
Busch might appear to have an axe to grind in all this, following a feud that flared between him and Edwards in the Bristol aftermath. Yet he maintained objectivity toward his rival.
Even before Talladega, Biffle had been critical of Edwards' spectacular move at the end at Kansas.
"I think his move at Kansas was fine," Busch said. "There's nothing wrong with that. He didn't hurt anybody but himself. If he'd taken Jimmie into the fence with him, we'd be a little bit more critical."
But, "Last week he may have stepped over the line," said Busch, the driver who himself is so aggressive he has two nicknames: "Wild Thing" and "Rowdy."
Does even Busch think Edwards is getting too aggressive? He shrugged, pondered
"It just seems like he's done a couple of things in the past few weeks that people noticed," Busch said. "I've had six weeks in a row, at times, where I've done just a little something that people noticed "
Mainly, Busch appreciates somebody taking the heat off him for a change.
"Always," Busch said. "It's always good not to be in the limelight."
Regardless of the heat, Edwards steadfastly intends to do nothing but turn up the burners Saturday night and beyond.
"Let me explain," he said. "I go out there and race as hard as I can, just like all these guys, and sometimes it doesn't work out the best. Really, there are going to be people who have opinions, or feel a certain way, and that's just the way it is.
"And that's OK."
Ed Hinton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, Carl Edwards is sorry for taking out his teammates in a 12-car pileup at Talladega. But don't expect him to ease up this week at Charlotte. "Not a chance," he tells ESPN.com's Ed Hinton.