NASCAR announced penalties for both Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski for rule infractions committed during the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway last Saturday night.
With one lap to go, Keselowski bumped Edwards attempting to get the lead in Turn 1. The two raced door-to-door through Turn 3. Coming off Turn 4, it appeared that Keselowski had the edge and would take the win when Edwards made contact with Keselowski, spinning him into the outside wall.
Edwards took the win while Keselowski bounced off both walls and was hit by Shelby Howard.
As a result of the incident, Edwards has been penalized with the loss of 60 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship driver points, fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing/ aggressive driving) of the 2010 NASCAR Rule Book. Edwards’ car owner Jack Roush lost 60 series championship owner points.
Keselowski was placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, too. The probation for both drivers applies to the Sprint Cup Series as well.
Keselowski issued a statement indicating that Penske Racing would not appeal. He said:
The incident at the end of Saturday night’s race at Gateway was unfortunate not just for Penske Racing and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team, but for all of the teams that were caught up in the aftermath. There was unnecessary damage done to a lot of race cars as a result of the incident, including one of our best cars. We support NASCAR’s decision and we look forward to putting this behind us.
Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith also commented, saying:
We have received notification of NASCAR’s penalties against Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Roush Fenway Racing related to Saturday night’s race at Gateway International Raceway. As with all NASCAR actions of this nature, we will internally evaluate the penalties, and the underlying explanations, prior to making any decision about next steps.
After considering the incident, I agree with NASCAR’s decision to hit Edwards with a penalty. I first thought that NASCAR should not penalize Edwards. I thought he did what he had to do to win, and that by nudging Edwards out of the way instead of passing him cleanly, Keselowski gave Edwards incentive for retaliation.
But, then, after looking at the situation again and taking into consideration Edwards’ comments after the race, I understand why NASCAR penalized him and I agree with it.
Perhaps if this were a one time occurrence, probation or a warning could have sufficed. And, I would have agreed with that. But given the fact that this is the second incident between these two drivers, NASCAR surely wanted to send a message and was right in doing so.
After the race, Edwards said the hit was to prevent Keselowski from stealing a win, which indicates that it was intentional. That is probably why NASCAR assessed a penalty. If Edwards hadn’t made that comment and instead made it seem unintentional, I believe NASCAR would have chalked it up to hard racing.
But because he hinted that it was intentional — the second intentional wrecking of Keselowski — NASCAR had to do something.
I also think that probation was the right call for Keselowski. But, I don’t believe NASCAR would have penalized another driver — someone like Jeff Burton — if it were him instead of Keselowski. I think Keselowski received probation more for his reputation and his part in the CE-BK feud, rather than this one incident. And again, I don’t have a problem with that.