The Frontstretch: One Out of Two Ain't Bad? NASCAR Gets Only Gets One Penalty (Sort Of) Right by Amy Henderson -- Thursday July 22, 2010

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One Out of Two Ain't Bad? NASCAR Gets Only Gets One Penalty (Sort Of) Right

Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Thursday July 22, 2010


“He didn’t hit you; he rubbed you. And rubbin’, son, is racin.” –Robert Duvall as Harry Hogge in the movie Days of Thunder

Rubbin’, son, has been a part of racin’ since, oh, probably the first race. A properly timed rub, in the form of a move called the bump-and-run, has been a method of passing, usually for the race lead if not the win itself for many years. It can make the final laps of a close race, especially at a short track, doubly exciting for spectators and racers alike. It involves getting under the car in front in the corner and touching him just enough to move him up the track. If done right, the way Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson moved one another in the closing laps at Loudon in June, the bump-and-run isn’t a dirty move because it does not wreck the car on the outside. Many a thrilling finish has come from the bump-and-run, and NASCAR has historically seen it for what it is-hard, clean racing for the win.

Not anymore.

A couple of notes about the bump-and-run here: As I said before, a correctly executed bump-and-run does nothing more than loosen up the car on the outside-it does not wreck that car. Ever. The similarly named “dump and run” crosses the line and is no longer a clean move-it has no place on the race track. Bump-and-run moves never cross that line. And a bump-and-run never ever begins with a hit to the outside quarter panel of a racecar.

Which brings us to last Saturday night. On the last lap of the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250, Brad Keselowski made a textbook-perfect bump-and-run move on Carl Edwards going into Turn 1 on the final lap, racing for the win. Though Keselowski denies that it was even a bump-and-run attempt, claiming he simply got loose, it was a move that made you hold your breath while watching, and probably made Edwards say a few choice words. But it was a move as old as racing itelf. Intentional or not, it was hard racing, and it was clean. And because it was made in Turn 1, Edwards had every chance to make the move back (again, look at Busch and Johnson to see how it’s done right!) and win the race.

The bump-and-run has long been a staple of NASCAR racing. And after Saturday night, NASCAR doesn’t seem to be content with that.

But he didn’t. Edwards drove down the track into Keselowski’s right rear (outside) quarter panel and turned him head on into the wall. Keselowski, predictably, shot across the track, in front of the entire field, taking a second hard hit on the inside retaining wall and then being viciously t-boned by an oncoming Shelby Howard. The resulting multi-car crash took out several Nationwide-only teams, destroying their racecars. It seems as though “rubbin’ is racin’” is lost on Edwards, at least when he’s the one on the receiving end. A driver who can’t take that part of stock car racing might be better off in the IRL, where rubbing is wrecking and drivers make a concerted effort not to do that.

Edwards went to victory lane, where he commented that he couldn’t have let Keseloski take something that was “his” (feeling entitled much, Carl?) and he “had” to wreck him to “teach him a lesson.” There was no acknowledgment whatsoever that he had also destroyed several other cars with whose drivers he had no beef, no apology to those car owners, some of whom run on less than a fifth of his own budget.

NASCAR should have taken the win. But they did not, instead opting to take 60 points (approximately the number Edwards had made on Keselowski), $25,000 (not nearly enough to pay for each of the real Nationwide cars he wrecked), and probation through the end of the year. In effect, it was a slap on the wrist for Edwards, who can go right back to racing that way at Daytona. But at least it was something. NASCAR allowing drivers to police themselves for on-track incidents is a far cry from wreckers for checkers, which is not acceptable, and is exactly what happened on Saturday.

But NASCAR didn’t stop there. They also placed Keselowski on probation through the end of the year. For a correctly executed and clean bump-and-run move. Either that means the bump-and-run is no longer acceptable in any circumstance, or they put Keselowski on probation for nothing, for the sole reason of making sure he doesn’t retaliate. Either way, that’s just wrong.

If it’s the first, I sincerely hope that NASCAR will now place on probation every driver who makes a clean bump-and-run move. Imagine the fan backlash if cars can’t touch anywhere on track-that would take away a time-honored gentlemen’s agreement between real racers who know that the bump-and-run is part of the game.

If it’s the second, as the Edwards camp believes it is, shame on NASCAR for setting that precedent-will they now place every driver who gets wronged on probation as a preventative measure? Sure, payback in this one has Chase implications-Edwards’ point standing is shaky enough that should Keslelowski decide to “police himself” at Richmond, he could take Edwards out of the Chase entirely.

But that was the bed NASCAR made with their “Boys, have at it!” edict, and to not lie in it now seems a bit hypocritical when it comes about in this manner-punishing a driver for something he hasn’t even done yet. As much as I disagree with allowing rough driving in any circumstance, I can see that putting Keselowski on probation for not doing anything is just plain wrong. That’s like keeping a kid after school because the teacher thinks he might do something worthy of punishment at some point in the future.

And by the account of at least one other driver in the field that night, Keselowski wasn’t even the initial aggressor. Kevin Harvick described an earlier event in an interview. “Earlier in the race I saw the No. 22- I was right there racing with the No. 22 and the No. 60-the No. 22 split up front of the No. 60, the No. 60 got in (the) back of him.” So, Edwards hit Keselowski well before the bump-and-run, and Keselowski didn’t retaliate.

Keselowski said after the race that he felt that he’d figured out a way to beat Edwards, and Edwards didn’t like that. Keselowski also made the following prediction: ““I’m sure he’ll say how sorry he is, or how cool he thinks he is or how great of a guy he is in his own mind,” said Keselowski.

As it turned out, Edwards didn’t apologize, didn’t say any of that. He didn’t have to. NASCAR said it for him.

Contact Amy Henderson

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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Keeping it REAL
07/23/2010 12:40 AM

For once I agree w/ Amy, probably because she’s not writing yet another article about her beau JJ, haha! Just messin, Amy. Funny how people don’t like a guy who doesn’t ruffle feathers, drives clean, and wins like there is no tomorrow. Guess people don’t like success stories, eh?

Anywho, agreed – Carl’s penalty should have been stronger, and Kes’ penalty was downright a bad call. This is from a non-Kes fan. I just call ‘em like I see ‘em. Carl nearly took Jr’s arm off in a post-race fit at MIS a few years back, mocked a punch at a teammate on camera, dusted it up w/ Harvick in the garage, and has put a target on Kes every since he wrecked himself by turning down on a clear run Kes had a ‘Dega. Honestly, I have never seen Kes wreck Carl. I have now witnessed Carl wreck Kes twice, in very, very savage ways (hooking on the straights should be grounds for suspensions, no matter who does it, even my faves – that @*$( kills people).

Those of you defending Carl for this latest fit – get over youselves, and put on your thinking cap. Stop drinking some Opie Taylor KoolAid and observe for yourselves what is happening here. Go ahead, think, it won’t hurt you.

Those of you defending Kes (I am not one of them), just be sure you call it when your boy steps over the line too. He does do it. However, in this case, just keeping it real, he was a victim and could have been seriously hurt or worse by a very, very careless decision made by one of the supposed top drivers in our flailing series.

07/23/2010 03:09 AM

Considering I don’t think there has ever been a case of being on NASCAR probation meaning anything, BK getting put on it, while ridiculous, basically means nothing.

Edwards’ penalty on the other hand is a frickin’ joke. Twice, this year, he has hooked BK on the straightaway and got nothing but a slap on the wrist.

It really is turning into the WWE.

I thought the big messes with the double file restarts (shoot out style) would eventually calm down. But they haven’t. While it is exciting to see major pile-ups, it gets old really quick, especially when your favorite driver(s) keep going from a top 5 to a 20+ finish because of them in the last couple laps… especially when they ran up front all day.

NA$CAR is making all their decision based on short run profits without worrying about turning the sport (which it can barely be called that any more, and NA$CAR conveniently swaps “sport” and “show” when needed) into a total farce in the long run.

They might as well just get it over with and turn it into Deathrace, with weapons and armor on the cars, with no holds barred. At least I would know what I was watching then.

07/23/2010 05:54 AM


Just like
Keeping it REEL
I AGREE WITH YOU this week.

When I first started watching Hockey games it was for the fighting, but I once I started learning the rules of the game. It got to where I no longer liked the fights, still love the LEGAL Hard hits, but hate the CHEAP SHOTS. I like it believe the people defending Carl are new to the sport and enjoy only the wrecks.

As I have said I can not believe “fans” are defending Carls action. We could debate all day long if Brad deserved it and if nascar should be the one handing out the punishmentor or his fellow drivers.

What would Dick Trickle, Mike Eddy or even Richie Evens have done Back in the Day.

I feel for the MANY FANS who strongly disagree with this decision and have spent their hard earned money for an upcoming race that they will have it attend (can not show there displeasure) or lose that money. I am so glad I gave up my Bristol Tickets (which was because of displeasure with the direction of nascar and the on track product and not the ECONOMY) many of us Old School Fans have been voicing our displeasure for years now we are showing it by not spending our Hard Earned Money.

Bill B
07/23/2010 07:22 AM

I agree that BK should not have gotten any penalty for the way he raced Sat night. I think the reason they put him on probation wasn’t for anything he did Sat night I think it was just because he and Edwards have had ongoing clashes on the track. Much like a principal gets tired of the same two kids showing up in his office for fighting on the playground, NASCAR just gave them both detention to calm them down.

07/23/2010 08:18 AM

Thanks for the great article. I couldn’t agree with you more. The only thing I wonder about now is “every” driver going to be put on probation for a bump and run??? I also wish Brad had been able to get his payback and knock the fake’s hope of a chase run. Enough is enough.

07/23/2010 08:32 AM

The penalty was exactly what I claimed it would be on another site, and it is perfectly fair. There is no reason to come down any harder or Carl Edwards. I don’t condone his actions last weekend, but I do feel many a fan overacted. Where this outrage when Gordon spun Kenseth in Martinsville. Sure, the results weren’t quite the same, but the move was just as dirty. Gordon didn’t get penalized at all, so why should Carl get parked when other drivers get away with doing the very same thing?

07/23/2010 08:51 AM

You just wait, it won’t be long before they start handing out bedazzled belts instead of trophies at the races. This A vs B and C vs D crap is nothing more than a veiled attempt to rile the fans and draw crowds to the “show”. It cracks me up how you all buy this bull.

07/23/2010 09:25 AM

Great article Amy, 100% correct! $25,000 is chump change for Edwards…it should have been $200,000 like they fined poor Carl Long! Edwards is a maniacal menace that needs anger management classes! Smoke never did anything as bad as Karl and he got anger mgt. and fines! Jack Roush doesn’t seem to care how Carl represents Ford or his sponsors, so maybe it’s time for the sponsors to withdraw their funding!

07/23/2010 09:56 AM

I wanted Edwards to be punished some how but now wish Nascar would have done nothing. These penalties hurt keso more than edwards,because now there can be no payback

07/23/2010 10:02 AM

The thing the author and so many of the fans just can’t seem to grasp is that Keselowski was put on probation because this was not just another ‘bump and run’ for the win. There’s a history here, he’s making enemies left and right, he’s been told to stay off Carl as Carl was told to stay off him (did you watch the restart up until brad hit him? Carl raced and passed brad clean as a whistle). Brad violated the orders, Carl gave him his due.

Most all of the whiners here would certainly be crying and calling for penalties if their fav driver lost on the last lap to a bump and run by a basically rookie rough driver, and would be calling for retaliation. You just don’t want to admit it, which makes you hypocrites.

07/23/2010 10:41 AM

I don’t care how long the bump-and-run has been around or how acceptable it may be to some people. It IS NOT clean racing. All it says is “I lack the skill and/or car to race around you cleanly!” Yes, Carl crossed an up until then invisible line. Penalty deserved. Brad got a fair penalty for being the cheap shot racer he is.

07/23/2010 10:49 AM

Agreed Huck69! Fair penalty and Brad is NO SAINT! Glad he was put on probation but it doesn’t really mean much.

07/23/2010 11:24 AM

A properly executed bump and run means that the reciever of the bump can not get close enough to retaliate. Retaliation is the art of paying back a debt in kind. So as Bcrash did not get far enough away for the retaliation to occur, why do anything? Had the G/W/Crasher not been in effect, the race would have ended and all of the “poor” teams would not have got their cars torn up. The root of the problem in this issue is the “excitement” gained by the G/W/Crasher finishes that are being demanded. This is what everyone wants, why is CE being punished for smashing BK into the wall. You don’t crash for the lead at the rear of the field. Hush!!!

07/23/2010 11:39 AM

Edwards should have been given a week off and Roush should have been forced to pay for all the wrecked cars that were involved . Maybe then the car owners would put a stop to this so called racin .

07/23/2010 11:46 AM

Isn’t it interesting how many different views we all have of the Carl/Brad race? But think it is time to get back to this weekends race. GO CARL! Sorry Amy I’ll always be a true Carl fan. I agreed with some of your story and not some.Isn’t that what freedoms all about? We are all so lucky!

07/23/2010 12:42 PM

Typical na$car bullshit,should have just done nothing.

07/23/2010 01:06 PM

A driver’s reaction to a bump and run depends on which of his bumpers is in use. If they want to get rid of the move on the last lap, just say the driver who does it will get a penalty that takes the win away. (see Ricky Rudd)

07/23/2010 01:09 PM

Great article, Amy. I agree that NASCRAP should have done nothing; rather than hamstring Brad. I really wish that his owner would put a third car in a few of the upcoming cup races to give Carl something to think about; as in, “which corner are they going to wreck me?” I will be at the Richmond race in Sept. and seeing anyone put the roid man into the wall hard enough to put him out of the Chase would rank right up there with JR’s putting Kyle into the wall as Dale Jarrett, who was announcing, said he didn’t thing that the two of them would do anything to each other. What a sweet moment. The only thing sweeter would be Carl not making the chase.

07/23/2010 02:07 PM

have all yall forgot about harvick spinning out lagono twice this year in bush races never did anything about that. its a dam shame they only pick some drivers to punish. i am not a carl fan am a kyle bush fan.
only thing i wish next time he wrecks he is dead i will cheer hes just a punk just like his dad a no driver s*n/ bi**h driver. carl never donr anything #3 always did with no fines guess it was alright for some but not for amy why dont u get to checking on harvick and tell about no fines there or did u get your head in a*s about the 29 and joey l. wating for your reply. prob going to start pulling for carl to GO 18 & 60 yea yea

07/23/2010 02:10 PM

have all yall forgot about harvick spinning out lagono twice this year in bush races never did anything about that. its a dam shame they only pick some drivers to punish. i am not a carl fan am a kyle bush fan.
only thing i wish next time he wrecks he is dead i will cheer hes just a punk just like his dad a no driver s*n/ bi**h driver. carl never donr anything #3 always did with no fines guess it was alright for some but not for amy why dont u get to checking on harvick and tell about no fines there or did u get your head in a*s about kevin harvick and joey l. wating for your reply. prob going to start pulling for carl to GO 18 & 60 yea yea

07/23/2010 04:15 PM

Amy’s article more closely mirrors my feelings than almost any of the others that I’ve read this week. My biggest concern is not so much what happened on the track (except seeing a lot of innocent people in wrecked cars) but with Carl’s reaction after the race. I appreciate honest reactions to events but I was disappointed with the “celebratory” backflip and, more importantly, no concern expressed for the others who had cars torn up. And this comes from someone who includes Carl with his list of favorite drivers and Brad in his short list of least favorites.

07/23/2010 04:20 PM

I don’t agree at all with this article. Brad doing a bump-and-run has happened alot. He is not innocent, and I have been reading countless articles defending him. It appears most writers memory only lacks a couple weeks. It only seems Brad is getting defended cus he always gets the worst end of the deal.

Another thing I have been reading about is alot writers comparing this to what happened with Kurt and Jimmie at Louden. There is a big difference in the two incidents. Brad and Carl only had one lap, Jimmie and Kurt had almost 10 laps. Jimmie even said it himself that he wanted to wreck Kurt and made sure he didn’t win. But he had a couple laps to think about it and just nudged Kurt out of the way. A few laps can change a drivers mentality.

Bubble Head
07/23/2010 05:18 PM

Poor Brad should either take creepy Carl behind the woodshed or quit crying. We all understand that Edweirds is a low life sneak but he will eventually get his just as Poor Brad will get his since he is every bit as assinine on the track and has made few friends so far in his career. If you simply listen to the other drivers that have to be on the track with these clowns you would understand that they are digging these two ass***** concentrating on wrecking each other rather than ruining other drivers equipment-last week not withstanding.

Bad Wolf
07/23/2010 11:09 PM

Carl Edwards; The Tonya Harding of Nascar.

07/24/2010 08:09 AM

I think this all started at Dega, and dipS$%^^ Carl thought he got wrecked, but he was 100% in the wrong, you block at Dega, you gonna get wrecked. Tony Stewart did the same thing when he got blocked for the win. Carl is still 100% wrong. What a jerk.


Contact Amy Henderson

Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
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UNOH and Kentucky Speedway Extend Sponsorship Agreement
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Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.