Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NASCAR Is Dead Wrong

I am stunned that NASCAR has decided not to penalize Carl Edwards for his deliberate crashing of Brad Kesolowski during Sunday's race in Atlanta. I understand the two have a long running feud--and that perhaps Edwards "owed" Kesolowski one--but to intentionally drive into an opponent--sending him airborne into a fence in front of the grandstands is far beyond the bounds of acceptable sporting behavior.

But, it appears NASCAR disagrees. They have put Edwards on "probation" for three races--meaning if he does anything more wrong THEN he will be punished. As far as I'm concerned, Edwards should be sitting out the next three races--and then spending the rest of the season on probation.

If you have seen the video, you know that the cars were in the fastest part of the track when Edwards turned to clip Kesolowski's back bumper--sending him into the spin that resulted in his car flying into the air. What if Kesolowski's car had gone through the chain-link fence and into the grandstands? Edwards' "act of revenge" or "sending a message" would have killed or injured a lot of spectators--and would have forever alienated millions of fans. Would you want to attend a race knowing that the guys on the track couldn't care less about the safety of their fellow competitors or you?

I grew up a huge Dale Earnhardt (Sr) fan--and I will be the first to admit that he bumped more than a few competitors on the track. But that was almost always during fights for position--never to intentionally put someone into the wall--and never on any of the high speed tracks. And while they may have hated the aggression, his fellow competitors respected Earnhardt for never really putting them in major danger.

What Carl Edwards did on Sunday was blatant disregard for human life--which would have resulted in criminal charges outside the track--and should be punished harshly...not with the wink and a nod that NASCAR is giving it. If that is going to be part of the sports' effort to raise ticket sales and TV rating--then I want no part of it. And I'm guessing the AFLAC Duck--along with many other sponsors--will want nothing to do with it either.

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