ESPN.com is reporting that NASCAR officials are still reviewing the incident involving Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski from Saturday’s Nationwide Series race and could announce a penalty Wednesday. The report by ESPN’s David Newton cites multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.
Edwards turned Keselowski after the two exited turn four and headed towards the checkered flag. Keselowski had made contact with Edwards in turn one while the two were racing for the lead and the win. Edwards responded by clipping Keselowski’s right rear in the middle of the Gateway International Raceway frontstretch.
[media-credit id=2 align=”alignright” width=”400″][/media-credit]Edwards admitted that the move was intentional and was a reaction to Keselowski’s bump and run in his victory lane interview with ESPN and later in his post-race press conference with the NASCAR media.
NASCAR issued a three-race probation for an incident in an Atlanta Sprint Cup Series race earlier this year to Edwards, when the driver intentionally wrecked Keselowski in the middle of the front straightaway, sending his rival into the air. Keselowski landed on his roof before the car eventually rolled on to all four wheels.
Keselowski appeared to be dazed but would go on to be checked and released from the infield care center after each of the incidents.
“He turned left into me and wrecked me on purpose,” Keselowski said after he was released from the infield care center at Gateway International Raceway. “I gave him the lane, and he still wrecked me. . . . 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 mph or 120. I’m sorry that’s the way it had to end.”
Keselowski’s father, Bob, who is a former racer himself, said on ESPN’s national television coverage after the wreck that he isn’t going to let Edwards “kill my boy” and that he will “get my own damn uniform back on and take care of this.”
In March, NASCAR president Mike Helton said that the sanctioning body would step in and issue penalties if they believed a line was crossed.
“We made it very clear to (Edwards) that these actions were not acceptable,” Helton said. “We believe (Edwards) understands our position at this point.
“The clear message, I think, we sent in January was that we were willing to put more responsibility in the hands of the driver. But there is a line you can cross and we’ll step in to maintain law and order when we think that line’s crossed.”
During a national media teleconference on Tuesday, four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon said that he believed Edwards’ actions in the Nationwide Series race Saturday were “over and above what needed to be done.”
“I think it’s been well-documented this year that NASCAR is allowing the racing to be more in the drivers’ hands, to try to stay out of some of those incidents that are judgment calls,” Gordon said. “… But just looking at the incidents, looked to me like Brad got into him a little bit getting into one, but was just racing hard for the position, for the win. Then what Carl did I felt like was definitely out of line. I felt like it was over and above what needed to be done.”
Harvick also said that he believed Edwards’ reaction was over the top.
“I just think that’s way, way out of bounds as far as hooking somebody in the middle of the straightaway,” Harvick said in a telephone interview with Dave Despain on Sunday.
The wreck Gateway cost Keselowski’s points lead to drop from 227 to 168 points. Keselowski finished 14th.