Photo/editing by Steve Langley
cowboy_carl-1Since he was not going to do his own backflip at Atlanta, Carl Edwards decided to flip Brad Keselowski instead. The dramatic flip that nearly landed Keselowski in the grandstand fence was a purposeful payback for wrongs Carl felt needed to be righted.

In doing that, he wound up being parked for the rest of the race (it was nearly over) and called to the NASCAR hauler for a talking to.

Today, Mike Helton announced the further punishment: a 3-race probation. “And Carl knows what that means”.

Carl knows that he got a slap on the wrist.

Jimmy Spencer got a larger punishment for punching Kurt Busch in the noggin after a race. Carl dang near hurt someone with a 3400 lb 800 hp car, possibly changed the winner of the race and caused another driver to lose one of the best finishes he has had in his young career.

While I am all for NASCAR loosening its grip on the teams in an effort to spur competition, rivalries and fan interest, this is ludicrous. As Keselowski said after the wreck, if NASCAR lets this go, someone will eventually get seriously hurt or killed at 195 mph.

In my opinion, Carl Edwards is an arrogant driver and expresses a lot of anger when other drivers don’t let him do what he wants or they don’t do what he wants them to do. He wanted Brad to slow way down and let him in after he got caught out of position early in the race. At Talladega, he wanted Keselowski to yield to his high-risk, poorly executed blocking move.

Brad did neither and Carl took matters into his own hands. And now NASCAR has basically vindicated Carl and set the bar pretty high for what kind of retaliation will be tolerated this year.

Helton said today, “…But as a reminder, once the incident occurred, we did park the 99 car for the remainder of the race and did not allow him to continue the event.”

So that was punishment? The race was nearly over and he was not going to gain any positions since he was 150 laps down.

Here are the facts: 1) Carl purposely wrecked (not spun out) Brad and Brand went airborne in a pretty bad crash. 2) Brad was shaken up but not seriously injured. 3) The 12 car was basically destroyed. 4) No fans were hurt but that is about as close as one can get without sending a car into the catch fence. 5) Carl admitted he took Brad out. 6) Brad lost a lot of points due to the wreck and Penske has to pay for a new car. 7) The complexion of the race changed because of the wreck and the outcome of the race may have been changed.

At least we all know the level of payback and what level of punishment NASCAR will mete out for other incidents. The benchmark has been set. All we can do is sit back, watch the fun and hope NASCAR is consistent in future punishments. Because unless someone is seriously injured, I don’t see how NASCAR can fine or suspend another driver for anything less.

Let me know your thoughts.

Drive fast, turn left and keep the shiny side up.