BRISTOL, TENN. _ Before the action got under way at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday morning, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski, along with team owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske, met with NASCAR officials to discuss their incident that occurred two weeks ago in Atlanta. Meeting for over half an hour, the two drivers eventually emerged side-by-side, smiling and pointing at each other as they rushed in different directions to Nationwide Series qualifying.
Rolling off right after one another, the two finished their qualifying efforts and parked right next to each other as the media waiting for their chance to talk. Once Keselowski climbed from his pole-winning car, Edwards leaned over his rival's ride to talk about how the car handled. A sign the meeting went well, or just a show for the media standing by?
“Everything went really well,” Edwards said. “I think the biggest thing coming out of that meeting is that now, I think, Brad and I understand one another a little better. I think we’re gonna be able to just go forward and go racing, and that’s what this is all about. It was really cool to be able to talk with Jack and Roger and Brad all at once. We laughed. We cried. In the end, I think it’s gonna be good.”
“I don’t know how Carl feels about it, but I really don’t feel like it’s cool to say everything that was said in there,” Keselowski said. “Hopefully it will be productive to where we can move forward and not have any incidents like we had in Atlanta.
“Carl and I have talked before about leaving each other more room, but when it comes down to it it seems to never work out,” Keselowski said. “It’s racing. The biggest thing to me is, incidents are going to happen because we race together 60-70 times a year. We’re both running well, so we’re going to run by each other. We just each have to build up a tolerance to that when things go wrong.”
When asked if he thought the two now saw eye-to-eye following the meeting, Roush firmly said, “No.” The ‘Cat in the Hat’ went on to say he felt the two better understood one another following the get-together and he did not foresee any other issues going forward.
“The ultimate responsibility that we all have – that NASCAR has, the owners have and the drivers have – to keep everybody safe in this business,” Roush said. “It’s a sport that needs to be contentious, but it needs to be safe too and we’ve got to be careful to respect that line.”
For Penske, the meeting offered an opportunity to get everyone together in a calm environment to discuss what happened and what will happen going forward.
“We reviewed happened [in Altanta], good open discussion between the drivers,” Penske said. “They respect each other, they said that, and they’re going to try and do that on the racetrack. As far as I’m concerned it’s behind us.
“I think Brad is a very smart young man,” Penske added. “Believe me we hired him because he has a lot of talent, talent as a driver, he’s a smart young man, he’s been brought up well by his family and as far as I’m concerned it’s a learning experience for him.”
With this meeting, both Edwards and Keselowski appear ready to put this behind them and move on the next task at hand. However, starting within striking distance of one another in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race and 300 laps of hard racing at Bristol ahead of them, this story might not be over yet.
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