Last weekend’s incident between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski in the Nationwide Series event at Gateway International caused quite the stir throughout the NASCAR nation. At a time when NASCAR could use all the attention it can get, these two certainly helped in that respect.
Back on the job after a weekend away from the track, most drivers were asked their opinion on the situation, regardless of not being involved. With how tight knit the NASCAR community is and how important safety on the track is to every driver, their opinions on this style of racing among these two is a concern for everyone, not just the sanctioning body.
When NASCAR announced it would make a decision on the incident on Wednesday, few expected them to come down hard on either driver. Both were placed on probation for the rest of the season and Edwards was hit with a $25,000 fine and lost 60 championship points.
This is Edwards’ second round of probation this year. He was placed on probation by NASCAR for three races following the second incident between these two in Atlanta. The first coming on the final lap of last year’s race at Talladega.
Among those asked during Friday’s media sessions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was Ryan Newman. As someone who has been involved in some scary wrecks over the years, Newman is one of the biggest safety advocates and knowledgeable persons in the garage. Do not let his degree from Purdue University fool you, Newman is a hard nosed racer that hangs around with some of the toughest guys from the sport’s past.
Once asked about the incident, Newman spoke his mind and the words spoke for themselves.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SITUATION BETWEEN CARL EDWARDS AND BRAD KESELOWSKI?
NEWMAN: "I don’t think NASCAR has taken care of the situation. I think they’ve issued what is that for Carl, his second probation this year? Yeah. See I don’t know what probation actually means anymore (laughs). So, yeah, when we used to get probation for the season, and then when you crash somebody and put them upside down and they almost get killed, you get probation for three races. I don’t quite understand that."
WHEN YOU SAW THE PENALTY, DID IT MAKE YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO RACE EITHER ONE OF THEM ANY DIFFERENTLY?
NEWMAN: "It doesn’t change the way I race them. It changes my level of respect for them; more so Carl (Edwards) but there’s been race car drivers doing that or having that affect on people or racing for the last 100 years. It’s just there are more cameras on Carl right now."
SHOULD NASCAR TAKE THE WIN AWAY?
NEWMAN: "There is a point when NASCAR should take a win away. I don’t think that was the condition for that but I know there’s been no direct response for NASCAR taking away a win in the last 20, 30, 40, or 50 years that I know of; or ever. So my point is, I don’t foresee that but I think that penalty was not just. And I’m not saying an eye for an eye, but if you look at what Carl did to the rest of the cars that got crashed behind him, that’s not right. When you admit that you crashed that race car and therefore crashed six or eight cars behind him; to the point that those guys, that’s all they have for a good race cars at times. That’s not cool."
THAT SEEMS TO BE THE ‘HAVE AT IT, BOYS’ MENTALITY
NEWMAN: "Have at it boys is not that. Have at it boys means even if we crash each other or get into an accident or lose respect for one another, you go talk about it. That’s the ‘Have at it Boys’. You go behind a trailer and you talk about it. We can get in each other’s faces. That’s ‘Have at it Boys’. Going out there and purposely crashing somebody; turning right or turning left just to crash ‘em on purpose, whether you’re winning the race or not, is not at all ‘Have at it Boys’. Some people have thought of manslaughter or attempted manslaughter, but that’s closer to what it is. That’s not ‘Have at it Boys’
"I’m all for ‘Have at it Boys’. Let us race. But that’s not racing. We should paint up a No. 99 or No. 88 Chevy Impala for Carl to go race demolition derbies with, if that’s the case. We’re racing; we’re not demolition derbies."
SO WHAT IS IT THAT IS NOT WORKING OR SHOULD BE HAPPENING?
NEWMAN: "Brad hasn’t decked Carl yet. To me, that’s all it is. Brad just needs to go up there and lay one across his lip and everything will be fine."
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