One day after NASCAR announced that Carl Edwards would be placed on probation for intentionally wrecking Brad Keselowski at Atlanta, Keselowski appeared on the CBS Early show to talk about the incident.
At the end of the day [this incident] is not going to change the way I race one bit because when a driver does…what Carl did, it’s somewhat of an admission that things are not going his way and that he’s not happy. As a driver, that’s a part of your role, to make the other drivers frustrated and upset.
Now, I respect Keselowski for sticking to his guns. It’s refreshing to see a driver say what he’s feeling and what he thinks, instead of the programmed PC responses that will not anger his team owner or his sponsors. I for one enjoy a driver who isn’t afraid to show a little personality… a little moxie.
But, Keselowski’s tough guy stance could mean trouble for him in the future. He should know that his comments may rub some – particularly those he has already had incidents with – the wrong way. He’s already got a reputation as an aggressive driver who isn’t intimidated by anyone. And, when you factor in this latest incident, and his subsequent tough guy stance, you’ve got to believe that he’s making himself a bigger target for retaliation.
From his Twitter account, Denny Hamlin (arguably Keselowski’s archnemesis) tweeted:
What [Keselowski] doesn’t realize is that in order to do the best job that he can on the racetrack, he HAS to have the respect of the other drivers. Just say… Sorry… I f’d up… Just once. It goes a long way. Don’t counter with [tough] luck bud, that’s just the way I race.
Some drivers will agree with Hamlin’s sentiments, while others will not; just as some fans will agree with Hamlin and others will not. And, none of them are wrong because they are entitled to their own opinions.
But, if Keselowski keeps up with the tough guy approach, he’ll get less of the give that everyone talks about when they say “give and take.” Guys will race him a little harder than they would others, and that might make for some pretty long days in his future.
I believe Keselowski knows and realizes this. So, he shouldn’t be surprised if he gets wrecked in the future. As a lot of drivers say, “I race him the way he races me.” And, if you put aggression into that relationship, you’ll get aggression out of it, too.
And that, my friends, is the last time I write anything about this incident. (I hope.)