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Hot blood in Dixie? Carl Edwards' side:

  Don't mess with Cousin Carl. He'll put the fender to you in a heartbeat. Just ask Brad Keselowski (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   It's becoming painfully obvious that NASCAR officials either can't or won't or don't know how to deal with the escalating Brad Keselowski-Carl Edwards situation.
   It's also obvious that Edwards isn't going to take any guff from Keselowski...and he's quite willing to make his point with his bumper.
   Saturday's crashfest at St. Louis' Gateway track was the latest in a series of incidents between the two, which NASCAR has so far all but avoided dealing realistically with. That sit-down at Bristol clearly didn't settle anything.
   The two drivers don't seem any closer to resolution on their own. They haven't talked with each other. "I don't think we really have much to talk about," Edwards says bluntly.
   Edwards insists he doesn't have any regrets for Saturday's run-in. And he's quite forceful about that.
    "I will not be walked on; I won't be stepped on," Edwards says. 
    "When I was done, I walked out of that track with my head held high."
    And of course with the trophy.
   But he says he respects NASCAR's penalties, which were actually quite modest. And he says he won't appeal.
   And Edwards did apologize to the other drivers who got caught up in the crash. Keselowski and Edwards are 1-2 in the Nationwide standings, and they drive for two of the biggest, most powerful car owners in the sport. Most of the other drivers in the Nationwide series are considerably underfunded in comparison.
    "I sincerely apologize to those guys," Edwards says. "I would rather finish second in a good race than have to win a race the way I won the race. 
    "Now I'm not going to finish second in a race the way that one was going....but I respect NASCAR's decision."
    Edwards says in the St. Louis race "I felt what I did was right, and it was a fair outcome to the race, and I felt it was within NASCAR's boundaries" under the 'Boys, have at it.'
    "I think NASCAR felt the same way right then. When I left the track, Joe Balash (NASCAR's Nationwide tour director) and the other NASCAR folks we talked to, everything seemed okay.
    "As the week went on I think some other things were brought to light about the other teams...and maybe this was a gray area they needed to address. 
    "I was surprised initially by the penalties for both of us, but I can understand it."

    Edwards says when he talked with NASCAR president Mike Helton, it was pointed out that there were a lot of innocent victims of this Edwards-Keselowski thing.  "Those guys are working hard....and I've been in that position -- working hard for sponsorship and working hard for finishes," Edwards said of the men caught up in the crash.
   And now Edwards says "I feel NASCAR's penalty is fair. 
   "I talked to Jack (Roush, the team owner) and Geoff Smith (the team president), and I don't plan on appealing."

  Remember the Bristol 'peace talks,' after Carl Edwards (R) nearly sent Brad Keselowski's car into the grandstands at Atlanta in March? Guess the truce didn't hold. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   But all that begs the question of what happens next between these two, who have a growing history of crashing each other, and crashing very badly.
   Would Edwards do the same thing, under the same circumstances, in upcoming races, like Saturday's Nationwide event across town here at Raceway Park or Sunday's Brickyard 400?
    "Let me put it this way -- I don't think there's one championship-level driver, one winning driver, who can go along in his career and let someone forcefully take wins away from them," Edwards insists in reply. 
    "We'll see what the future holds. 
    "I'll tell you, I race hard, and I'm not going to let somebody take advantage of me, that's for sure. 
     "I've proven that, and I've been consistent about it.
     "And I've been honest about it too...which I don't think has helped me any."
    Edwards has not shied away from saying he deliberately crashed Keselowski at Atlanta and at St. Louis.

    So what in the world is going on inside these guys' heads?
   And what is going on inside NASCAR's high-command?
   Is this something personal between the two drivers?
    "There's nothing personal between Brad and me...from my side there's not," Edwards says. 
    "I have a lot of respect for him and what he does on the track.
    "But the problem is he can't just run into me to get an advantage...especially for wins. That's happened way too much between us."
    Edwards says while he accepts the penalties NASCAR handed him, "I'm happy NASCAR recognized Brad needed to be penalized too.
    "I think it's important NASCAR recognized that.
    "If it were somebody else in that car -- that we hadn't had all the trouble before -- then that finish would have turned out differently, that's for sure," Edwards says. 
    "Because I maybe could have accepted that it was unintentional.
    "But Brad is a really good driver and he knows what he's doing. 
     "We had an unbelievable race 30 laps previous to that. We raced side-by-side.
    "I know that, and he knows that -- and that's why that race went the way it did.
    "I believe he did not make a mistake. That was intentional. He moved me out of the way to gain an advantage...and it almost worked. He almost won the race.
    "On the last lap you might not say 'I'm going to drive down in this corner and hit this guy,' but it's real easy to say 'I'm going to drive down in this corner a
little bit harder than I have, and consequences be damned, and this guy is going to be the one that pays.'"

    Edwards spent the last few days at home and says "every single person that talked to me personally thought it was the right outcome for the race.
    "It's simple: He took the win away from me, and I took it back from him.
    "The only bad part is other people were involved."
    So what to make of NASCAR's 'Boys, have at it' game plan? How does Edwards see that?
   "When NASCAR said 'This is it: You guys regulate on the track. You guys take the gloves off. Have at it. Go race,'  I still think that's the best way
to do it.
   "And I still think NASCAR accepts that's the best way."
    Still Edwards concedes "There are unintended consequences to that -- the torn-up cars. That's a bad result.
    "It really struck home for me. 
    "I apologized to those guys caught up in it."
    Fortunately NASCAR racing today is safer than it's ever been.
    Edwards says no Cup driver has missed a race because of an injury for seven years now. "Compared to the NFL, which I think had 400 people on the injured reserve last year," Edwards said.

   It is perhaps curious that in this sport pushing someone out of the way for the lead in the final laps is considered part of the game – Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt and others have done so. Bristol for one comes quickly to mind. And then just a couple weeks ago at Loudon, N.H., Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson went at it that way too.
   But Edwards says he plays the game a little bit differently: "It's not okay to move me out of the way. 
    "I didn't get here by allowing anybody to run over me.
    "If somebody else wants to let people move them out of the way for the win, that's okay with me. They can do whatever they like.
    "But I can't allow myself to be run over like that. 
     "I'm not going to win championships like that."
   And Edwards has never moved someone out of the way for a win?
  "The times when I've moved someone out of the way, for whatever reason I thought was okay at the time, I have fully expected retaliation," Edwards says. 
  "That's part of our sport. And NASCAR has said they believe that's the best way for this sport."

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Biff! Baff! Bam!

Bam-bam. Bambambam. Lol! I love Edward's honesty. He needs to get a Flintstones theme going on his car. I have an old Flintstone's diecast, can't remember with out getting it down who the driver was. It would be perfect. Which Hannah-Barbera scheme would you put on BK?
Clance' McClannahan

The Great Gazoo? Trouble,

The Great Gazoo? Trouble, trouble, trouble.....

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