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Gateway postscript - "Crazy" Carl and "Bad" Brad

by Dave Grayson
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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Coming to the checkered flag, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski tangle as the battle for the victory during the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images for NASCAR
With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series taking the weekend off, the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series had an opportunity to take center stage at the Gateway International Raceway last Saturday. What actually landed in the center of that stage late Saturday night was the return of "Crazy" Carl Edwards and "Bad" Brad Keselowski.

Just like a young man named Hatfield getting caught kissing a young girl named McCoy, the Edwards-Keselowski feud reared its ugly head during the final two laps of the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 Nationwide Series event.

With only two laps left in the race, the two adversaries lined up on the front row for the final double file restart. Every NASCAR fan in the nation knew what was coming next. We just weren't sure how intense the final moment would become. Keselowski gave Edwards a bump and run hit going into turn one to take the lead. Coming towards the checkers Edwards hooked the Keselowski Dodge with the result being carnage on the front stretch. They each deserve a WHAT'S-UP for their actions due to their dangerous moves.

Edwards deserves an additional WHAT'S-UP because of the inherent dangerous condition he created after turning his rival while the remainder of the field was racing to the checkers. This especially applies to Shelby Howard who had no place to go other than the side of the Keselowski car. Howard is the driver of the #70 Chevrolet owned by Mary Louis Miller. This is one of the many Nationwide Series teams who are struggling with sponsorship issues. Howard managed to coast his wrecked car across the line for a 12th place finish and a $23,000 plus paycheck. But that money is not going to be near enough to repair or replace that badly damaged car plus transport the team to the next race. Edwards seriously owes this team an apology. But they shouldn't expect to receive one anytime soon.

WHAT'S-UP with the ESPN2 Network and that interview with Bob Keselowski? The Dad of Brad was discovered standing in front of the speedway's medical center. He was understandably distraught over the severity of the wreck that had his son had endured and he was understandably angry at Edwards for launching the wreck. During that interview he said "Carl flipped out like he did at Atlanta and tried to kill my kid." The elder Keselowski, himself a well known racing veteran, went on to say "I'm sick and tired of this, I'll get my own damn uniform back on and take care of this. He ain't going to kill my boy."

WHAT'S-UP with the public relations reps from Penske Racing for not being on hand to stop this interview? They had to know that nothing good comes from getting parents involved in driver issues. Joey Logano's dad has proved that point. Were they on hand at the scene? If not, why not?

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THUMBS-UP to the development drivers from Diamond Ridge-Michael Waltrip Racing. Trevor Bayne impressed a lot of Nationwide Series observers by winning the Coors Light Pole. He further impressed observers with his race performance and his third place finish. His team mate, Ryan Truex, was making his Nationwide Series debut but unfortunately found himself becoming an accident victim with 22 laps left in the race. But, prior to that piece of bad luck, Truex consistently ran in or around the top ten and team management has to be very pleased with his performance.

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All throughout the current Nationwide Series season Joe Gibbs Racing has primarily opted to place their trio of Sprint Cup drivers in the seats of their #18 an #20 Toyota's. However, they decided to showcase the talents of their development drivers, Brad Coleman and Matt DiBenedetto, in last Saturday's race at Gateway.

But WHAT'S-UP with that horrible piece of hard luck these two young drivers endured? On lap 152 DiBenedetto hit the turn one wall and then came across the track directly in front of his team mate. The two young drivers had to settle for finishes of 29th and 30th. However, prior to this bad luck they looked good and ran a strong race and that has to be encouraging to the management of Gibbs Racing.

Gibbs Racing gets a THUMBS-UP for repairing the DiBenedetto Toyota and getting it back into the race in an effort to recover some points for the series' owner's championship. DiBenedetto was shaken after the accident so Ryan Truex took over the seat to run the extra laps.

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THUMBS-UP to Kevin Harvick for his impressive win last Saturday during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race also held at the Gateway International Raceway. Harvick occasionally visits the series while driving his self owned Chevrolet Silverado Truck. He started Saturday's race from the pole position and led 143 of the 160 laps en route to his third win, in four starts, this year.

Despite appearances, Harvick's dominating performance was not that easy. This race was supposed to be held on Friday night but a very unexpected power failure, reported to be caused by a downed power line near the speedway, forced NASCAR to move the event to Saturday. That postponement forced Harvick into double duty because he was also entered in the Nationwide Series race. That meant he had 450 laps of racing to do during one of the hottest weekends on record in the ST Louis area.

Making the situation worse was the fact that Harvick was suffering from extreme neck pain due to a pulled muscle. But during the course of running the two races, Harvick came over his radio and reported that the extreme heat in the vehicles was actually soothing the neck pain.

But WHAT'S-UP with the way Harvick's day ended during the Nationwide Series race? Harvick was also a major player in this race as well but, with 13 laps left, the car went loose and he hit the backstretch wall hard. It could not have been good for a driver with a pulled neck muscle.

Also, WHAT'S-UP with the private airplane, that Harvick was going to use to fly home, developing a mechanical problem? Harvick was supposed to be an onscreen guest on the SPEED Channel's "Wind Tunnel With Dave Despain" but the unexpected overnight stay forced him to do the interview over the telephone.

Well known for his candor, Harvick gets a THUMBS-UP for his answer to the inevitable question from Despain who of course wanted to hear his opinion of the Edwards-Keselowski controversy. Without a second's hesitation, Harvick replied "if he, (Edwards) would have done that to me I probably would have walked over there and punched him in the mouth." That's why so many people love "Happy" Harvick.

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In our final items this week THUMBS-UP to NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson for being named the ESPN driver of the year this past Thursday night for the third consecutive year in a row. This honor came during the sports network's annual awards ceremony known as "the ESPYS."

A GOD BLESS goes to Sprint Cup driver Juan Pablo Montoya and his wife Connie who welcomed a baby girl, named Manuela, to their family early Monday morning. It's the couple's third child. Mom and daughter were reported to be doing very well.

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