BRISTOL, Tenn. — NASCAR bad boys Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski promised to be good boys at Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
After an extended meeting with NASCAR bosses Saturday both drivers came out saying their feud, that resulted in a dangerous wreck two weeks ago at Atlanta, was over — at least for now.
And both Jack Roush, owner of Edwards’ No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford, and Roger Penske, owner of Keselowski’s No. 12 Dodge, pledged to make their drivers behave from here to the end of the season.
“I think the biggest thing coming out of that meeting is that now, I think, Brad and I understand one another a little better,” Edwards said. “I think we’re gonna be able to just go forward and go racing, and that’s what this is all about.”
But Edwards blasted the media for what he said was blowing the incident out of proportion. He claims that the optics — of Keselowski’s car flying through the air after being hit by Edwards — was worse than the resulting crash.
“It’s very hard for people to understand that the result is far different from the intent,” Edwards said “Things can be presented in a lot of ways, but I guess this is just part of life and part of the way things go, especially with the way the media works.”
Keselowski said that he came away from the meeting with a better understanding of what it takes to be good in the sport.
“If you’re going to be successful in this sport, it’s really important that you separate the emotions,” he said. “I feel good that I was able to do that.”
Yet there still appeared to be an undercurrent in what both drivers said that makes one believe that all of Saturday’s glad-handing might not have been as sincere as it looked from the outside.
“Carl and I have talked before about leaving each other more room, but it seems like when it came down to it, it just never worked out. It’s racing,” Keseloeski said. “The biggest thing to me, you know, is incidents are going to happen because we race against each other more than 60 times (a season). We’re going to run by (beside) each other. We just each have to build up a tolerance for that.”
Edwards, in fact, point-blank refused to say that if a similar incident came up again — where another driver pushed him around — that he would not retaliate as he had with Keselowski at Atlanta.
“I guess if my biggest fault is standing up for myself, I’ll take it,” he said in his defence. “They can fault me all day for that.”