Brad Keselowski had less than a lap to go in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 in Madison, Ill., this weekend to capture his fourth NASCAR Nationwide Series win of the season and add to his lead in that series’ points standings, but veteran driver Carl Edwards had other ideas.
Edwards, from Columbia, Mo., bumped Keselowski’s No. 22 Dodge on the final straightaway at Gateway International Speedway, causing Keselowski to lose control and sending his car spinning into the wall and sliding back toward the infield, where he was hit head-on by another car..
The two drivers were battling for the lead before that incident, with Keselowski appearing to be slightly in the lead in the inside lane when Edwards’ No. 60 Ford drifted into the No. 22 car. Keselowski had taken the lead for the fifth time in the race on Lap 193 of the 200-lap Nationwide event and held that position until the final lap.
Edwards, who along with Keselowski and a number of other Nationwide drivers, runs a full Nationwide and Sprint Cup schedule, went on to take the checkered flag in the Dodge Dealers 250 and earn his second Nationwide win of the year to go along with 15 top 10 finishes out of the 19 races this season. Keselowski ended up 14th.
Asked to defend his actions in the final lap, Edwards did not necessarily see things the way others did. “He’ll (Keselowski) eventually learn he can’t run into my car over and over and put me in bad situations,” Edwards told reporters after the race.
“The way it went,” Edwards continued, “he bumped me, and he finished wherever he finished and I still won the race. That’s the only way I could see the race turning out fair.”
Carl Edwards’ No. 99 car and the No. 12 car driven by
Brad Keselowski collide earlier this year in a Sprint Cup
race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kselowski’s car went
airborne and ended up on its side after slamming into
the wall in front of the main grandstand. Both cars were
running in the top ten when the wreck occurred late in
the race. (AP Photo/Joe Sebo)
Not surprisingly, Keselowski’s take was much different: “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, but that’s not reality.”
This is not the first time that Edwards and Keselowski have had harsh word and actions involving one another. Earlier this season in a Sprint Cup series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Edwards appeared to deliberately bump Keselowski’s car while both cars were running in the top 10 late in the race.
The collision sent Keselowski’s Penske Racing car airborne and hurtling into the barrier in front of the main grandstand in Atlanta. Fortunately, Keselowski was able to walk away from the accident unhurt, but Edwards received a three-race probation from NASCAR officials for his involvement in the accident.
And last season at Talledega, Edwards was on the receiving end of a similar track incident when a bump from Keselowski sent Edwards’ car bounding against the protective fence at that superspeedway.
This weekend’s Nationwide win at Gateway International Raceway, located not that far from St. Louis on the Illinois side of the Illinois-Missouri line, is the third career victory for Edwards at that venue, making him the winningest Nationwide driver at the race track he considers him home track.
Edwards, who is part of the Roush-Fenway Racing team, is having better success on the Nationwide circuit this season than he is in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Since winning nine Sprint Cup races in 2008, Edwards, who will soon turn 31, has gone winless over his last 54 races. He does have six top-ten and two top-five Sprint Cup finishes this year, however, including his most recent race, the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, where Edwards No. 99 Aflac Chevrolet crossed the line second.
Next up on Edwards’ brutal nine-month racing schedule is the Brickyard 400 this Sunday at iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Columbia, Mo., racing hero hopes to bring an end to his 54-race Sprint Cup winless string.
For more information:
NASCAR official website
Carl Edwards’ career bio