Amy Henderson and Summer Bedgood · Wednesday June 26, 2013
Welcome back to Side By Side. There are always two sides to every story, and we’re going to bring them both, right here, every week. Two of our staff writers will face off on an important racing question … feel free to tell us what you think in the weekly poll, and also in the comments section below!
This Week’s Question: Kyle Busch took a dig at Carl Edwards on Twitter after Edwards spun the No. 18 late in the race at Sonoma. Was Busch overreacting to the situation, or was Edwards out of bounds?
Amy Henderson, Managing Editor: Edwards, Not Busch, Was Out Of Line
“Only thing I got for Carl is “aww crap.”
That was part of a Kyle Busch tweet after Sunday’s race at Sonoma, during which Busch was spun twice, once early in the race by Juan Pablo Montoya and again in the closing laps by Carl Edwards.
Seldom do so few words sum up a situation so well.
There are three ways to get spun by another driver during a race. In the first, the driver who gets collected is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets caught up in the other’s woes. In the second, two aggressive drivers are racing for position in heavy traffic and can’t back out because that will also cause a wreck. That’s what happened between Busch and Montoya early; neither of those drivers ever gives an inch, even when he should, and in this case, had either one backed out, he’d have been hit from behind as they were racing in a large pack. That’s a racing incident, though arguably an avoidable one since it was awfully early for such aggressive racing. But still, it was just racing.
That leaves one more: one driver intentionally takes out the other. And that’s what it sure looked like Carl Edwards did to Busch.
I’m not talking about a bump and run gone bad (and one that’s done right does not wreck the driver on the receiving end; if it does, you did it wrong). In the incident in question, Edwards was behind Busch and tried to move on Busch for position. Busch closed the door…and Edwards punted the No. 18 off the track and into a tire barrier. They weren’t in heavy traffic; Edwards had plenty of time to set Busch up and make the pass on the next suitable corner. So should Busch have been mad? Of course!
Busch’s tweet, a carefully aimed shot at Edwards’ made-for-TV “aww, shucks” persona, was right on target.
Edwards apologized after the incident, as is befitting that carefully crafted “Cousin Carl” image. “It was a real battle and I feel really bad about the incident with Kyle back there,” he said after the race. “We were racing really hard and I got to the inside of him and I took a gamble that he knew I was there. His spotter called it and I backed out as hard as I could and ended up wrecking him, but I had a lot of fun racing with him.”
But Edwards has a history of less-than-clean racing tactics, and his apology doesn’t ring true after watching the incident. He’s turned others before, and sometimes without reason. Remember when he turned Brad Keselowski at Atlanta a few years back? That was payback…for an incident that Edwards had publicly taken the blame for. Given that, it’s hard to blame Busch for being upset or for calling Edwards out on Twitter. It’s also not a stretch to think that Busch will repay the favor when he has the opportunity.
Was Kyle Busch overreacting after the incident? Heck, no! He was reacting to being intentionally wrecked and it wasn’t as if his tweet was an obscenity-laced tirade or a threat to dump Edwards every week from here to kingdom come. He took a shot at an on-track incident and an apology that he’s just not buying. He didn’t resort to coming back onto the track for the sole purpose of wrecking Edwards, nor did he stoop to the base level of punting Edwards on pit road. He reacted in a tweet with a dig on Edwards’ too-good-to be true persona. That’s not being a drama queen, that’s being a racer.
Summer Bedgood, Assistant Editor: Busch Is Just Being a Drama Queen
Dear Kyle Busch …. Stop being a diva. Carl Edwards had just as much right to race for position as you did.
First of all, the replay doesn’t show either driver doing anything wrong other than both of them going for the same piece of real estate on the track. Considering the fact that they were doing so on one of the most treacherous and difficult parts of the twisted Sonoma Raceway, it isn’t surprising that one of them went spinning through the gravel and into the tire barriers.
While one angle seems to show Kyle Busch moving up into Edwards’ front bumper, the other looks like Edwards moved down. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve watched it. I still see the same thing. So if that’s the case, how can I possibly place the blame on one driver?
For that matter … how can Kyle Busch?
Some of you may remember a column I wrote several weeks ago regarding the “diva complex” in NASCAR. In other words, the drivers seem to have a high-and-mighty attitude over how other drivers should race them, yet they don’t race everyone else with the same set of standards. They can block, dive-bomb, and side-draft all they want, but the minute another drivers pulls the same stunt, they flip their lids. Oh, and don’t even bother if you’re newer to the sport than they are or come from a rich family. At that point, you’re just expected to sit back and ride around while the “real” drivers battle for the victory.
Look, I understand Busch’s frustration. After all, it’s not like he hadn’t had a run-in with Juan Pablo Montoya and at that point had to feel like the track’s personal wrecking ball. It was a tough day for Busch, and I would expect that he would be frustrated with a finish to the end. But blasting Edwards for it was unnecessary, since they were, ya know, racing. What was Edwards supposed to do? Just let him pass? God forbid he actually attempt to keep his position or gain any more.
And what about that tweet?
“Awww. My heart melts for @jpmontoya who ran out of gas.”
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