The Frontstretch: Side By Side: Who Was Out of Line In Wine Country? by Amy Henderson and Summer Bedgood -- Tuesday June 25, 2013

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Side By Side: Who Was Out of Line In Wine Country?

Amy Henderson and Summer Bedgood · Tuesday June 25, 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.

Was Kyle Busch right to blame Carl Edwards for a late race incident, taking a dig at his boy-next-door personality in the process…

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.

…or was Busch, who’s had his share of on-track incidents, the one who was out of line in laying the blame on Edwards?

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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Today on the Frontstretch:
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Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Summer Bedgood and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Bill B
06/26/2013 07:01 AM

Hmmm. I can’t stand either Busch but in my opinion Kyle’s comment on both incidents were fair enough. Neither comment was over the top and both were probably accurate from his point of view. If my driver would have been bulldozed by Montoya I would have been glad he ran out of gas too. I felt Montoya was racing way too hard for the first 20 laps of the race.
As for Edwards, he does project that “aw shucks” image but has taken more than one cheap shot through the years.
Bottom line is that both comments were ones on a scale of one to ten where one is the most benign.

06/26/2013 07:40 AM

You know, Amy, your blinding hatred for Carl Edwards is getting tiresome. Not only is your opinion total bias, but it stinks of the utmost in unprofessional journalism. Tony Stewart ruined the days of Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton through sheer stupidity, but you give him a free pass. Is it the Hendrick connection, the connection you are blindly in love with? No wonder you are a joke of a writer. Personally, I know this won’t happen, but I really hope Edwards wins the title this year, just to hear you ball your eyes out!

06/26/2013 08:19 AM

Carl has a history of saying and acting one way in front of the camera and then being someone else when the camera’s aren’t around.

At least with Kyle, you know what you’re getting is real. I don’t blame his for being ticked for the bad day he had, especially after Juan made that bonehead move so early in the race. (but can you say “karma”?)

Bravo to Amy for setting aside you’re hatred for Kyle in this article.

Robin S
06/26/2013 10:09 AM

Summer gets it. Amy’ a child.

06/26/2013 10:13 AM

There isn’t a driver out there that isn’t two-faced at one time or another. Case in point is Elliott Sadler. Sadler ran into Amy’s love Jimmie Johnson last year in the Daytona500, turning him into the wall, and came over the radio and said to tell Jimmie that he was sorry. One week later, he called out Edwards for contact with Ryan Newman and saying he was sorry by his favorite line, “Sorry doesn’t fix a race car”. What was the difference between Sadler apologizing and Edwards apologizing?

This is the same here. Amy just can’t cut certain drivers any slack while giving other drivers enough slack that they could cross the country with it. Tony Stewart did a lot worse things than Edwards on Sunday, and if there is a bigger hypocrite on the track, it’s Tony. Why not call him out, Amy? Oh wait, I forgot, he drives (indirectly) for your favorite team owner. You must be related to Bob Pockrass with your bias.

JD in NC
06/26/2013 11:51 AM

I think Busch has every right to be mad, and this is coming from someone who absolutely despises Kyle. I would be especially mad at JPM who completely overdrove the corner, way too early in the race. I was hoping the 18 and 42 would find themselves together at some point later in the race, but it never happened. Karma got the 42 instead of Kyle.

Carl D.
06/26/2013 12:54 PM

You gotta love karma.

Old Fan Bill
06/26/2013 01:41 PM

Ken your spot on about the bias. I once E-mailed Nascarscene and asked if Pockrass worked for them or was a PR man for MWR. I now wonder the same about Amy.

06/26/2013 02:36 PM

@Ken: Where did I say Tony Stewart (or anyone else) gets a free pass? Nobody gets a free pass from me for intentionally wrecking another driver. The question posed was about the Busch-Edwards incident, so that’s what I focused on. And if either one wins this year’s title-good for him.

06/26/2013 02:44 PM

What people need to remember is that very few journalists are unbiased. Amy has every right to write what she does and give her opinion, no matter how malicious, maligned, and misguided.

But, people need to remember this: every driver has fans, and when someone like Amy bashes a certain driver, that driver’s fans will defend that driver. I know in the past, Amy has taken offense with people who bash anyone Hendrick, and has taken every opportunity to gleefully bashed Mr. Edwards. She did it today, and a fan rose to defend Carl. Good for him! And to those who will dump on Ken for defending Carl, just remember that, one time, it will be your driver bashed. If you don’t want your driver bashed, don’t bash someone else’s driver. Fair is fair!

06/26/2013 04:39 PM

I am not a Kyle Busch fan, but I certainly thought he was right to be mad at both Monturnya & Crazy Carl. Montoya was being his usual bull in the china shop self and Carl, well, Carl punted KyBu and then acted like it was an accident. Phooey. I thought Kyle’s tweets were great and right on the money.

06/26/2013 04:50 PM

Amy, the only reason you focused on the Edwards-Busch incident is because it gave you the opportunity to launch yet another attack on Edwards, which you have done quite often, especially as of late. The Stewart-Burton-Hamlin incidents were far more serious as it involved Tony in two, and maybe more, incidents and with two, and maybe more, drivers. Jeff Burton was having one of the most decent runs in a while until Mr. Stewart took him out. And Hamlin is still desperately trying to align himself to make the Chase, although Tony has most likely ended any hope of that for Denny.

No, you chose this incident between Carl and Kyle so you can further express your blinding hatred for Carl with your unprofessional venomous attack on him! And by doing so, you gave Stewart the free pass.

Like I said, I hope Carl does win the Championship, just to hear you ball your eyes out!

06/26/2013 07:39 PM

What’s the difference between ball and bawl? Your and you’re? There, their and they’re?

Examples why English is the hardest language in the world to learn.

06/26/2013 10:11 PM

The Busch boys are jerks, but they really make no effort to hide it. Carl Edwards is a psycho who likes to hide behind his nice-guy image. He’s a phony, and it’s nice to see others realize this. I lost all respect for “Cousin Carl” after he basically tried to kill Keselowski twice several years ago!


Contact Amy Henderson

Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
Fans To Decide Format of Sprint Unlimited at Daytona
UNOH and Kentucky Speedway Extend Sponsorship Agreement
Earnhardt Out For Charlotte and Kansas After Talldega Concussion
Piquet, Jr. Wins K&N East Opener

Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.