(I know, I’ve talked a lot of knitting and racing lately. I’m trying to write about other things too. This is just a sign of how truly random I am.)
uncouth (adj.) awkward and uncultivated in appearance, manner, or behavior.
My first exposure to Carl Edwards was with a backflip. I bet that’s how many people were first introduced to him. My first was back when he was racing in the Trucks. He had a big smile and was very…friendly. A good guy that you couldn’t help but root for. He had an aw-shucks ma’am, good-old country boy kind of personality.
Over time, we’ve gotten to know a different Carl Edwards. One that is mean, vindictive and has anger issues. 3 years ago, while teammate Matt Kenseth was being interviewed, he walked up and pretended to punch Kenseth. In 2006, he became displeased with Dale Earnhardt Jr during a Nationwide race at Michigan International Speedway. On the last lap of the race, Edwards got loose, checked up, and Earnhardt clipped the back of the car, non-intentionally. They were racing for the win. The wreck was really no one’s (or everyone’s) fault.
At this point the race was over. While NASCAR was deciding who was where when the caution came out, the cars remained on track, doing pace laps (approx 55-60 mph). Earnhardt was riding along the track, with his hand out the window. Edwards sped off of pit road, and slammed into the side of Earnhardt’s car.
NASCAR then called the 8 car (Earnhardt) to victory lane. It was over, Earnhardt won. At which point Edwards confronted Earnhart in victory lane, leading to the single best thing to ever come out of his (Earhnardt’s) mouth “That was uncouth”.
Even following that incident, I continued to root for Edwards. I was blinded by the aw-shucks attitude.
Fast-forward to today’s race in Atlanta. I have done a 180. Carl Edwards did one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life. He intentionally spun out a car racing 190 mph, while he was 156 laps down. The other driver, Brad Keslowski, and Carl have had issues in the past, including earlier in the race when they touched resulting in the damage that made Carl 156 laps down. At that time, they were racing for position, and on TV afterwards, Carl admitting it wasn’t quite as much as Brad’s fault as he imagined. Closer to the end of the race, Brad and Carl were near each other on track. Brad was racing for a position in the top-6. Carl was riding for points. At this time for some reason Carl decided to get revenge. He tried one, two, three times before finally making contact on the fourth attempt, resulting in Brad’s going airborne. He then got out of the car, after NASCAR parked him for the race and said “Whoops, I didn’t think it was going to do that”. This was following an unintentional, hard-racing incident last year with the same driver that resulted in Carl going airborne and parts of his car flying over the catch-fence and into the stands, injuring a fan.
He then posted this on his facebook:
My options: Considering that Brad wrecks me with no regard for anyones safety or hard work, should I: A-Keep letting him wreck me? B-Confront him after the race? C-Wait til bristol and collect other cars? or D-Take care of it now? I want to be clear that I was surprised at his flight and very relieved when he walked away. Every person has to decide what code they want to live by and hopefully this explains mine.
What this explains is that Carl’s code is not an honorable one. Nor is it intelligent. When his daughter is having issues with someone, is he going to teach her an eye for an eye? Because that is exactly what he chose. He willingly risked the lives of himself, Brad Keslowski, the 41 other drivers on track and the fans. For what exactly?
NASCAR decided to let the boys be boys this year, which I am all for. I miss the old ways. Problem is, this isn’t the old ways. I wanna see a reenactment of the infamous 1979 fight in Daytona. Fighting behind your 3200lb stock cars is cowardly. The actions I saw today from Carl Edwards made me sick. I hope that NASCAR takes proper actions for this and sets an example before someone gets hurt, or worse.
There’s two sides to Carl Edwards, the PR cultivated “aw-shucks” Cousin Carl and the one we got to know today. And I’m no longer a fan of either.
Update 3/9: Much to the surprise of no one, NASCAR placed Carl under “top-secret double” probation for the next three weekends. He will not be fined money, no points will be taken away, and he will not be parked for any more races. By being parked Sunday, Carl at most lost 3 points, due to being so many laps down. I don’t think that probation is really a punishment but I’m not the sanctioning body.
I’m not quite sure what probation entails but according to NASCAR president Mike Helton, Carl does, so that’s good I guess. The next 3 tracks are all short tracks that lead to aggressive driving and short tempers. It will be interesting to see if Carl controls himself. And what happens if he doesn’t.
Helton said the biggest issue was trying to figure out why the car went airborne. I’m not an engineer, but I think that removing the wing (heck, the name itself implies flight) and replacing it with the spoiler is going to help (They’re testing COT’s with the spoiler today at Darlington!)
The biggest thing is this the sign of a precedence being set by NASCAR in this “have at it boys” era? Because if it is, I can see it being a dangerous one. What is going to stop people from intentionally wrecking someone at a place like Daytona? Talledega? Especially drivers who get knocked out by someone else coming back on to the track laps down. They won’t care that they might lose 3 points. Or is it a sign of favoritism towards a well-liked, easy to market driver? We’ll have to wait and see. I just hope no one gets hurt.