Edwards, Keselowski feud showing no signs of letting up
Chris Symeon, Motorsports Editor
Newton, IA (Sports Network) -
"Boom boom boom, now. Boom boom boom, now. Boom boom pow."
I generally don't like using song lyrics to describe a frantic episode in a NASCAR race or any other motorsports event, but after last Saturday's night's final-lap clash between on-going rivals Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski in the 250-mile Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway, I couldn't help but think of the Black Eyed Peas' 2009 hit single, "Boom Boom Pow."
While they were beating each other up during the last lap around the 1.25- mile oval, you just had to wonder if the latest battle between Edwards and Keselowski would end up in a "checkers or wreckers."
Indeed, it did. Like it has in the past.
Keselowski bumped Edwards for the lead in turn one, but Edwards got payback coming out of turn four, where he nudged Keselowski from behind and sent him hard into the wall along the frontstretch, triggering a multi-car crash.
"He was holding me tight and getting me a little loose, which was cool," Keselowski said. "I was rubbing on him a little bit...I figured out a way to beat him. He wasn't happy with me, so he wrecked me. Wrecking down the straightaway is never cool, whether it's at 200 m.p.h. or 120. I'm sorry that's the way it had to end."
As Edwards took the checkered flag for a record third time in a Nationwide race at Gateway, which is located roughly 125 miles east of his hometown of Columbia, MO, Keselowski's battered car slid across the finish line in 14th- place before Shelby Howard plowed into him, causing him to spin around again. Keselowski climbed out of his car a bit woozy, but was not injured.
Carl Edwards (pictured) claimed his incident with Brad Keselowski on Saturday was not intentional.
"Brad and I have a history, but that history had nothing to do with what happened [Saturday]," Edwards said. "I feel like we respect one another a lot. On that last lap, I would have won the race if he hadn't bumped me in turn one. He would have finished second. The way it went, he bumped me, and he finished wherever he finished, and I still won the race.
"That was the only way I could see the race turning out fair, and that was my job to win that race and to make sure I don't get walked on or get something taken away from me that's mine."
Was Edwards' win legitimate? That likely will be a subject of debate for quite some time.
Edwards claimed his incident with Keselowski was not intentional, but let's face it, with the history between these two drivers, it looked like a deliberate move on Edwards' part.
"I didn't mean any harm to him at all," Edwards said. "The deal is eventually he'll learn you can't run into my car over and over and put me in bad situations. In every situation, there is an aggressor, and there is someone who reacts. I was not the aggressor in this situation."
The drivers have had previous on-track altercations, most notably in March when Edwards intentionally bumped Keselowski from behind and sent him flying upside down into the frontstretch wall during the closing laps of the Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta. Edwards was more than 150 laps behind at the time of the crash, due to a previous encounter with Keselowski in that race.
NASCAR immediately parked Edwards for aggressive driving, and days later, placed him on probation for three races.
The feud between the two began in April 2009 when Keselowski hit Edwards from behind on the final lap at Talladega. While Keselowski drove on to his first Sprint Cup victory, Edwards' car spun and then sailed into the safety fence along the frontstretch.
The rivalry between Edwards and Keselowski hit a new boiling point at Gateway, but how far will it go before someone gets seriously hurt, or worse, fatally injured?
Prior to the start of the season, NASCAR told its drivers, "boys, have at it," but Edwards and Keselowski have been at it too long, and it's beginning to upset some people in the sport, particularly Keselowski's father, Bob, who is a former NASCAR driver and current team owner.
"[Edwards] ain't going to kill my boy," Bob Keselowski said during a post-race interview on ESPN. " He just overreacted so bad. If he wanted to bump Brad, that's one thing, but don't drive him through the inside guard rail. Don't put him through the grandstands at Atlanta. That's asinine."
During an interview on SPEED's Wind Tunnel television show on Sunday, Sprint Cup points leader and part-time Nationwide competitor Kevin Harvick told host Dave Despain that he would have responded differently than Keselowski if he had he been the one who was involved in the incident with Edwards.
"I probably wouldn't have reacted as kindly as Brad did; I probably would have walked down there and punched him in the mouth," Harvick said.
Harvick, who won the Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway earlier in the day, finished 16th in the Nationwide event. Harvick blew a right-front tire and made contact with the wall in the late-stages.
With Keselowski currently holding a 168-point lead over Edwards in the Nationwide standings, don't be surprised if we see some more "Boom Boom Pow" between these two during the remainder of the season to come.